Cold Tortellini Pasta Salad
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Cold Pasta Salad
A good pasta salad is a summer staple.
You know you’ve got an amazing pasta salad recipe, when people ask for it.
For instance, when your family begs you to make it over and over. Or when your friends either ask for the recipe or invite you to the next party with strict instructions to bring “that pasta thing.”
This is the sort of pasta dish that gets passed through families for generations. It is a springboard for nostalgic recollections of grandma’s Sunday dinner and church potlucks.
Don’t have that kind of pasta salad in your kitchen arsenal? I can help!
Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Over the years, I’ve shared several pasta salad recipes inspired by my family (links below) but there is always room for more.
Today’s Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a light and simple salad with tons of contrasting textures. You’ve got soft silky cheese-filled pasta mixed with crisp broccoli, and sweet juicy cherry tomatoes, and roasted peppers.
The dressing is made with fresh basil leaves, pureed into a fine tangy-sweet vinaigrette.
Scallions and feta cheese offer a final punch of flavor that brings the entire dish together.
Tortellini Pasta Salad AKA Summertime Comfort Food
Although this Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette has a few Greek ingredients and a few Italian ingredients, it doesn’t come across as a global dish.
Instead, the flavors mingle together into pure “melting pot” summertime comfort food.
You can make Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette up to a week before serving. I like to make it at the beginning of a week, and use it for lunches, several days in a row.
Sometimes I even place it in jars to take on the go, and pack fresh spinach leaves on top to add a little extra veggie goodness.
Tortellini Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Refrigerated Tortellini – you can use cheese or spinach for this recipe
- Small Broccoli Florets – cut them into pieces smaller than the tortellini
- Grape and/or Cherry Tomatoes – Cut these in half
- Jarred Piquillo Peppers – or you can use roasted red peppers
- Chopped Scallions
- Crumbled Feta Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Garlic Clove
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make This Cold Pasta Salad Recipe
- Boil salted water in a large pot on the stove top. Then stir in the tortellini and cook them just under the time limit on the package (about 5 or 6 minutes).
- Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water. Then toss it in a tablespoon of olive oil so the pasta does not stick together.
- Make the basil vinaigrette by placing the basil leaves, remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and salt in a blender and puree until it is smooth.
- Combine the tortellini, broccoli florets, tomato halves, chopped peppers and scallions into a large salad bowl.
- Toss with the basil vinaigrette and toss the salad together to coat all the ingredients. Then gently mix in the feta cheese. Taste and flavor as needed then Serve.
Get the Complete (Printable) Cold Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this recipe a day before? How long can this pasta dish last in the fridge?
This salad can be made and kept refrigerated up to one week in advance, so it is a fabulous make-ahead dish.
You can also prep all the components the day before an event. Refrigerate them, then combine and mix right before serving.
What can I add to this recipe?
Looking to pack more veggies into the recipe? You could add some asparagus, shaved carrot, cucumbers, or kalamata olives. You can even try using cauliflower instead of broccoli if you prefer.
If I can’t find fresh basil, can I use dried basil?
It’s best not to use dried basil in this recipe. However, most grocery stores now offer basil paste in the produce department that would make a good substitute.
What should I do if I don’t own a blender?
If you do not own a blender or food processor, you can finely mince the garlic and basil. Then whisk the basil vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.
More Dazzling Pasta Salads
- The Best Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Tuna Pasta Salad with Olives and Capers Recipe
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe
- Cool Chicken Taco Pasta Salad Recipe
- The Best Classic Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Hawaiian Style Potato Macaroni Salad Recipe
Check out our recipe card below…
Cold Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe
- 20 ounces refrigerated tortellini, cheese or spinach
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 pint grape and/or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3/4 cup jarred piquillo peppers, chopped (or roasted red peppers)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Set a large pot of salted water on the stove top. Bring to a boil. Stir in the tortellini and cook just under the set package instruction timeframe, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Then toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil so they don’t stick together.
- Place the basil leaves, remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the blender. Cover and puree until smooth.
- Pour the tortellini, broccoli florets, tomato halves, chopped peppers, and scallions into a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to coat. Then gently mix in the feta cheese. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
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