Summer Tortellini Salad (Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipe)

My Summer Tortellini Salad has been a staple in my home for years! With fresh cheese tortellini, fresh vegetables, Italian seasoning, and pepperoni, this will soon be your favorite pasta salad! This recipe comes together in one large bowl. You’ll love the contrast of textures with plump, cheesy tortellini, crunchy bell peppers, and creamy cheese!

Summer tortellini salad on a white plate with a fork with a wood cutting board on terracotta tiles.

This summer tortellini salad recipe is simple – I don’t even use homemade vinaigrette! normally, I prefer to make my own salad dressings, but there’s something so classic about store-bought Italian dressing. It’s sweet and a little zesty, and the perfect addition to this cold tortellini pasta salad. Now, store-bought dressing aside, this salad has a ton of fresh flavors! Fresh bell pepper and red onion add a little bite to this salad. And the best part is, you can always buy them pre-diced in a pinch! Enjoy this Italian pasta salad on hot summer days at summer bbqs or for lunch during a busy week. Either way, this easy pasta salad will be a hit. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a family-friendly recipe. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a casual gathering with friends, this summer tortellini salad is a crowd-pleaser that caters to all tastes. With its colorful mix of cheese tortellini, crisp bell peppers, savory pepperoni, and creamy cheese, it’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters in your family.
  • It’s quick and easy. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, this salad comes together in a flash. Perfect for those busy summer days when you want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the sunshine. Even better, we use delicious Italian dressing from the store. No need for olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
  • It’s the perfect make-ahead recipe. Whip up a batch of this summer tortellini salad ahead of time for stress-free entertaining or meal prep. It tastes even better after chilling in the fridge, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Ingredients

Ingredients for summer tortellini salad.

  • Refrigerated Cheese Tortellini – These tender pasta pockets filled with creamy cheese are the star of the show. Look for refrigerated tortellini for the freshest taste and texture. Be careful not to overcook the tortellini; al dente is key for the perfect texture.
  • Bell Pepper – Vibrant and crunchy, diced bell peppers add a pop of color and a refreshing crunch to the salad. For added sweetness, you can roast the bell peppers before dicing them.
  • Red Onion – Finely diced red onion adds a subtle zing to the salad with its mild, slightly sweet flavor. 
  • Colby Jack Cheese –  Creamy and indulgent, cubed colby jack cheese brings a rich, cheesy flavor to the salad. Feel free to substitute with your favorite cheese variety if desired. For extra flavor, use sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese instead.
  • Pepperoni Slices – Savory and slightly spicy, quartered pepperoni slices add a delicious flavor to the salad. Look for high-quality pepperoni for the best taste. For a vegetarian version, substitute the pepperoni with sliced black olives or marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Italian Salad Dressing – Tangy and herbaceous Italian salad dressing serves as the flavorful base for the salad. Use your favorite store-bought dressing or make your own for a customized taste.
  • Italian Seasoning Blend – A blend of dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, Italian seasoning adds a burst of Mediterranean flavor to the salad. Make your own Italian seasoning blend by combining equal parts of dried herbs for a fresher taste.

Substitutions

  • Vegetarian Option – Replace the pepperoni slices with sliced black olives or marinated artichoke hearts for a vegetarian twist.
  • Cheese Variety – Feel free to experiment with different cheese varieties such as mozzarella pearls, feta cheese, or Parmesan cheese for a unique twist!
  • Fresh Herbs – Add some flavor to the salad by adding herbs such as fresh basil, parsley, or oregano. Chopped fresh basil leaves are particularly delicious with the Italian flavors of the salad. Speaking of basil – you could also add basil pesto. I have a great recipe for homemade pesto I suggest! 
  • Tomatoes – Boost the freshness and tanginess of the salad by adding juicy cherry tomatoes,  or sun-dried tomatoes. Halved grape tomatoes add a burst of color and sweetness, while sun-dried tomatoes offer a rich, concentrated flavor.
  • Pump up the Veggies – Add whatever summer veggies you want! I love using whatever I get from the farmers market – sweet corn, snap peas, juicy tomatoes, etc. 

Step by Step Instructions

Drained cooked tortellini in a colander.

Step 1: Cook the tortellini according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Italian salad dressing and herbs in a white bowl on wood cutting board.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine the Italian salad dressing, Italian seasoning blend, salt, and pepper.

Chopped pepperoni, cheese, peppers, and onion tossed in salad dressing in a big white bowl.

Step 3: Add the diced red onion, diced bell pepper, cubed colby jack cheese, and quartered pepperoni slices to the dressing mixture. Mix well.

Summer tortellini salad in a white bowl on a wood cutting board with a diet coke.

Step 4: Add the hot tortellini to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Toss everything together until evenly coated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight for the best flavor.

Before serving, give the summer tortellini salad a final toss. Add extra dressing if desired.

Summer tortellini salad on a white plate with a fork on a wood cutting board.

Tips and Notes

  • Cook the Tortellini Al Dente – Be mindful not to overcook the tortellini; cooking it al dente ensures that it maintains its texture and doesn’t become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients.
  • Prep Ahead for Convenience – Save time on busy days by prepping the ingredients in advance. You can cook the tortellini, chop the vegetables, and cube the cheese ahead of time, then simply toss everything together when ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions

  • Wine Pairing – This summer tortellini salad bursts with vibrant flavors and textures, making it a versatile dish to pair with wine. Consider serving it with a crisp and aromatic white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc for a refreshing and well-balanced match. If you prefer red wine, opt for a light-bodied and fruity option like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir, which will complement the savory elements of the salad without overwhelming its delicate flavors. My favorite to enjoy with this salad, however, is Rosé!
  • Pack a Picnic – Pack the tortellini salad in airtight containers and bring it along for a picnic in the park or a day at the beach. Pair it with crusty bread, fresh fruit, and a bottle of chilled white wine for a delightful al fresco dining experience.
  • Backyard Barbecue Side – Serve the tortellini salad as a refreshing side dish at your next backyard barbecue or cookout. Pair it with grilled chicken, burgers, or seafood for a complete summer feast that will impress your guests. Don’t forget my Burrata Bruschetta!
  • For Lunch – Enjoy the summer tortellini salad as a satisfying lunch option on its own or paired with a light soup or sandwich. Pack it in a bento box or mason jar for a portable meal that’s perfect for school or work.
  • Potluck Favorite – Bring the tortellini salad to your next potluck or family gathering and watch it disappear in no time. Its colorful presentation and delicious flavors will make it a crowd favorite among guests of all ages.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

After preparing, store the tortellini salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, allowing it to chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Remember to give it a quick toss before serving and add extra dressing if needed. 

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it! Tag @seasonedandsalted on Instagram and leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below!

Bright and vibrant tortellini salad on a white plate.

Summer Tortellini Salad (Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipe)

Allie Hagerty
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Time to Chill 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 422 kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot for cooking tortellini
  • Colander for draining
  • large mixing bowl
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Plastic wrap or airtight container for chilling

Ingredients
  

  • 2 9 oz packages of refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup bell pepper diced (about 1 large pepper)
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 5 ounces colby jack cheese cubed
  • 2 ounces pepperoni slices quartered
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the Italian salad dressing, Italian seasoning blend, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the diced red onion, diced bell pepper, cubed colby jack cheese, and quartered pepperoni slices to the dressing mixture. Mix well.
  • Add the hot tortellini to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Toss everything together until evenly coated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight for the best flavor.
  • Before serving, give the tortellini salad a final toss. Add extra dressing if desired.
  • Enjoy your refreshing summer tortellini salad! Perfect for picnics, barbecues, or any summer gathering.

Notes

Cook the Tortellini Al Dente – Be mindful not to overcook the tortellini; cooking it al dente ensures that it maintains its texture and doesn’t become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients.
Prep Ahead for Convenience – Save time on busy days by prepping the ingredients in advance. You can cook the tortellini, chop the vegetables, and cube the cheese ahead of time, then simply toss everything together when ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 16gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 5145mgPotassium: 112mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 772IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 229mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This has been a hit ay many gatherings! I love this pasta salad so much! It’s very flavorful and different than your traditional pasta salads. Will definitely continue to make this!

  2. 5 stars
    Please do not show up to the function with a sad macaroni and ham mess from Star Market.

    Just make this! It’s so good it’s a staple at our family parties now. It comes together super easy, sometimes we just make it on a Sunday to eat on it during the week.

    Try it if you haven’t already!

  3. 5 stars
    Made the tortellini salad and chicken salad to take to a birthday party and came home with empty bowls! Both were easy to make and everyone loved them.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the best pasta salad EVER! It’s so easy and I find myself eating it by the spoonful straight out of the fridge.

  5. 5 stars
    This pasta salad is excellent. It’s heartier than a typical pasta salad, making it great as a standalone meal or a side dish.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my go-to summer pasta salad! So easy to make and it truly is a crowd pleaser. The use of tortellini vs traditional pasta makes this a bit more filling. I also love the addition of pepperoni!

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