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Pesto tortellini salad is a delicious pasta salad made with cheese tortellini, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and a sweet balsamic glaze. It takes less than 15-minutes to make and can easily be made ahead of time. Bonus that it travels well so makes the perfect potluck or BBQ side dish!
Pesto tortellini salad
We've taken our two favorite things (pesto + tortellini) and turned them into a salad. Life doesn't get much better than this.
- Cheese tortellini – you could try a different filling, but we like cheese the best.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – they add the best flavor. If you're not a fan, swap them for cherry tomatoes.
- Olives – salty goodness.
- Artichoke hearts – to keep the Mediterranean theme going.
- Balsamic glaze – sweet and delicious and totally makes the recipes.
- Basil – we add this when using store-bought pesto to boost the flavor.
- Pesto – cause you can't make pesto tortellini salad without it!
While the pasta salad you see in the pictures was made with store-bought pesto, we LOVE making this salad with our 5-minute creamy pesto sauce. It's a real game-changer and if you have a few spare minutes and want to impress your friends (or yourself!) then making homemade pesto is the way to go.
But don't worry, it's still delicious if you go the store-bought route!
How to make pesto tortellini salad
This recipe is a breeze to make!
- Cook the tortellini in a large pot of salted water.
- While the pasta is cooking, assemble the rest of the ingredients: grate the parmesan, chop the olives and sun dried tomatoes, take the pesto out of the fridge.
- Now toss the cooked tortellini with the rest of the ingredients and your salad is ready!
Is this a cold tortellini pesto salad?
It can be! If you'd like it hot, serve it right away. If you'd like it cold, chill it in the fridge before serving. It's delicious both ways!
How long does pesto tortellini salad last?
This salad will keep well for 3-4 days in your fridge.
Variations to try
To keep things fresh and new each time you make this tortellini pasta salad, try adding one or more of these:
- A few handfuls of arugula or spinach
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Mozzarella pearls or bocconcini
- Toasted pine nuts or spicy cashews
What to serve with tortellini pasta salad
While you could easily eat a bowl of this and call it dinner, it's a great recipe to serve as a side dish at a picnic or backyard BBQ.
Mains that go great with pasta salad:
- Best Grilled Chicken Breast
- Green Goddess Chicken
- Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon with Avocado Peach Salsa
- Juicy Grilled Pork Chops
Must make sides:
- 10 ounces cheese tortellini
- ½ cup chopped black olives
- ½ cup quartered marinated artichoke hearts
- ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- ¼ cup basil pesto (homemade or storebought)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (reduced balsamic vinegar)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions – usually 6-8 minutes.10 ounces cheese tortellini
- Drain the tortellini then put it back into the pot. (See notes) Add the black olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, basil, and parmesan and toss so that everything is mixed together and coated in pesto.½ cup chopped black olives, ½ cup quartered marinated artichoke hearts, ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, ¼ cup basil pesto, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, ½ cup grated parmesan
- Drizzle the balsamic glaze over top then serve.1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.