Easy Italian tortellini pasta salad is full of fresh summer veggies, salami, and tortellini pasta. It is tossed in a zesty Italian dressing and is always the hit of the potluck!

Pasta salads are the best! There are so many out there to try and so many variations that they are different every single time! Try some more favorites like this salad Mediterranean pasta salad or a Tuscan pasta salad.  Both recipes are easy to make and so delicious!

A close up of a bowl of Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad.

Easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad

Alright, who is obsessed with side dishes at BBQs and get-togethers? I love them SO much! I think it’s because I love trying food and a potluck means that I get to try a little bit of everything! This Italian Tortellini Salad is SO delicious! I mean, I love a good pasta salad, but when you give me one where even the noodles have cheese in them? You don’t have to ask me twice!

This Italian pasta salad comes together quickly and easily. It is perfect with the fresh summer veggies inside, along with the salami, olives, and mozzarella cheese balls. It gets tossed with tortellini pasta and Italian dressing.  Such a delicious classic with so many fresh ingredients. You are going to love it just as much as we did!

Ingredients for Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is full of different meats, veggies, cheeses, and a delicious Italian dressing! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post to find all of the exact measurements!

  • Refrigerated Tortellini: I used spinach and cheese.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Chop the tomatoes in half so they are bite-sized.
  • Cucumber: This brings a fresh flavor to the salad.
  • Olives: These add a smooth, savory flavor and also a pop of contrasting color!
  • Mozzarella Cheese Balls: I love the mild flavor of the mozzarella with the spice of the salami.
  • Italian Salami: Cubed pieces work great and add awesome texture and flavor.

Dressing

  • Italian Salad Dressing: Use store-bought or make your own.  I used pre-made for this recipe.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated give you the most flavor.
  • Sesame Seeds: The texture of these little seeds in the dressing is fantastic.
  • Paprika: Gives great color to the dressing.
  • Celery Seed: A versatile spice that gives a great celery flavor to this pasta salad.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic is the perfect favor to go with this Italian pasta salad!

How to Make Italian Pasta Salad

This salad gets tossed together and makes the most delicious blend of flavors! Eat it for lunch OR dinner. Or both! Once you taste it you will understand why I love it so much!

  1. Cook pasta and add meats and veggies: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, mozzarella cheese balls, and Italian salami to a large bowl.

Dressing Instructions: 

  1. To make the dressing: Whisk together Italian salad dressing, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder. Pour over salad and toss until coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
4 process pictures showing how to cook the pasta, combine the veggies, make the dressing and put the dressing on top of the salad.

Tips for the Best Tortellini Pasta Salad:

This recipe is super simple to make and is very quick and easy to put together, so you should take the time to follow these few extra tips to make this the best pasta salad you have ever made!

  • Don’t overcook noodles: Your pasta salad will become mushy if your noodles are too soft.  Plus, the acids from the dressing will continue to break down starches in the pasta as it sits.
  • Shock the noodles:  When the noodles are cooked to al dente, drain the noodles.  Then, place the strainer of pasta in an ice bath (equal parts ice and water).  This will stop the noodles from continuing to cook.
  • Cool the pasta: Even if you do not choose to shock the noodles, make sure that you allow time for the pasta to cool before combining it with vegetables.  This is because you do not want the warm pasta to soak in the dressing and become gummy.  Also, you do not want the heat of the pasta to cook the vegetables.
  • Make ahead: Allow the pasta salad time to sit before serving. This will give the flavors time to permeate through the pasta. Cover and allow it to sit for at least 1 hour before serving for the best results.
  • Cut the ingredients to equal sizes.  Make sure all the veggies are cut before adding them in.  Think of trying to get some of everything into each bite.

Top view of tortellini pasta salad in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Serving and Storing Cold Salad:

As the Italian tortellini pasta salad chills, the flavors may become milder.  So, give it a taste test before serving.  Then decide if you need to add any additional seasoning before serving.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.  Although, I find it is most delicious on day two.  Do not leave out at room temperature longer than 2 hours. 

A bowl of Italian tortellini pasta salad with a wooden spoon.

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