You can easily make this Tuscan Tortellini Salad recipe at home using your preferred Italian ingredients. It’s easy to make ahead and can be served cold or warm!
Everything I adore about Italian cuisine is present in this Tuscan Tortellini Salad. My favorite feature of this dish is that you can serve it warm or chilled.
Not to mention that you can use any combination of ingredients you want. I made this recipe for the first time in 2016, but I have since modified it using my favorite Tuscan flavors. Despite the fact that I haven't actually been there, a girl can dream.
- I like my tortelloni with cheese inside. Tortellini can be used either frozen or chilled.
- Fresh Spinach
- Black Olives
- Mozzarella Pearls
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Balsamic Salad Dressing
- Parmesan Cheese
One of its appeals is that it can be prepared in advance! However, I would advise making this no more than a day in advance for the best consistency.
If the salad seems a little bit on the dry side, I also advise you to drizzle a little bit more dressing before serving it because the tortellini has a tendency to absorb a lot of the salad dressing while it chills.
Before serving, I'd give it a little stir to re-distribute the sun-dried tomato oil throughout the salad.
Other Pasta Options
Noodles with lots of nooks and crannies allow the dressing to completely encapsulate each bite, making them ideal for pasta salads.
Pasta varieties to consider include bowtie, farfalle, and fusilli.
I have to admit that the grocery store's salad dressing section can be a little intimidating. There are a ton of choices. Balsamic, rosemary-infused balsamic. I even came across one that was simply labeled "Tuscany."
This salad also tastes fantastic with homemade Italian salad dressing!
Tortellini Pasta Salad
- 20 oz. tortellini, frozen or refrigerated
- 8 oz. mozzarella pearls, about 1 ½ cups
- 7 oz. Sundried tomatoes, drained, chopped, & patted dry.
- 2 cups baby Spinach
- 2 cups diced bell pepper, I use red and green
- 1 cup chopped salami, can sub pepperoni
- ½ cup finely diced red onion
- ¾ cup Kalamata Olives
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Balsamic Dressing- or up to 1 ¼ cups bottled dressing of choice
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoons black pepper
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor or in a jar with a lid. Blend/shake well to combine and emulsify. Cover and refrigerate.
- Boil tortellini according to package instructions, do not overcook. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add ½ cup dressing to the warm tortellini and use a silicone spatula to gently toss to combine. Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Add remaining salad ingredients along with up to ½ cup more dressing. Gently toss to combine.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. If desired, drizzle with remaining dressing prior to serving. (See notes if making 1 day ahead.)
- Be sure to use a timer when you boil your pasta to ensure that you don’t overcook it. I like to cook it for 30 seconds less than al dente, as it cools gradually, during which time it finishes cooking.
- Tortellini: I use Rana refrigerated Tortellini with this recipe. There are several varieties which pair well here, including cheese-filled, spinach and cheese, and chicken mozzarella.
- Dressing: My homemade balsamic dressing is just perfect in this salad, the flavors blend really well. Italian dressing can be used instead if preferred, or a store-bought version of your choice.
- There is 1 + ¼ cups dressing in this recipe, which seems like a lot, but the tortellini absorbs a surprising amount, especially as it continues to sit. Add it in increments until desired consistency is obtained.
- Veggies: I place the diced veggies on paper towels to remove excess moisture. (To avoid a watery salad.)
- Tomatoes: Sun dried tomatoes are used to compliment the Tuscan theme in this recipe, but sliced cherry tomatoes may also be used.
- Pepperoni makes a great addition to this salad as well!
- Be sure to try my Greek Pasta Salad, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, and my other Pasta Salad Recipes!
Make Ahead Method
- Cook the tortellini and toss with ½ cup dressing.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then combine with remaining ingredients. Toss with ¼ cup more dressing. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day ahead of time.
- When ready to serve, toss with remaining dressing.
- Note: If your remaining dressing solidifies during storage: Let it sit at room temperature until it liquifies, then shake to combine and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.