This chunky Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a marvelous make-ahead for picnics and potlucks!
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!
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 bring the entire dish together.
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.
More Dazzling Pasta Salads
Check out our video tutorial…
Tortellini Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
- 20 ounce refrigerated cheese or spinach tortellini
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 pint mixed 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 garlic clove
- 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.
NOTE: This salad can be made and refrigerated up to one week in advance.