Cheese filled tortellini with Olive Garden creamy Italian dressing makes an amazing pasta side salad perfect for BBQ, picnics and potlucks. One of the best things about award winning pasta salads is that they are not only incredibly filling, but are super easy to customize.
This creamy tortellini salad has a base of filled tortellini, pepperoni, cheese and olives but also goes great with salami, mini bits of summer sausage, tomatoes and banana peppers.
An addictive and perfect pasta side dish, no need to make homemade dressing with so many traditional flavors already making life easier!
Find your favorite dressing, whether that is an oil based Italian dressing, a packet of Italian dressing or creamy Olive Garden Parmesan Dressing (like we used) and this recipe is a snap!
Super popular in the spring and summer time, pasta salads make prepping for a get together, BBQ or party super simple.
Sure to be a hit side dish recipe, this tasty and simple tortellini pasta salad comes together in about 20 minutes and stores easily in the fridge till time to eat.
As a side note, I like cheese tortellini but feel free to use multi-colored or even chicken stuffed tortellini to mix it up.
Our original recipe includes the following tortellini salad ingredients:
- 24 oz. Cheese Tortellini – usually find this in the cheese area of many stores as tortellini needs to stay in the cold section. If you cannot find a larger bag, grab (2) 12 oz. bags.
- 6 oz. bag pepperoni slices
- 8 oz. package of sliced provolone cheese – additionally you can grab a block of provolone and cut into squares, but I like the ease of slices. An 8 oz. bag usually comes with 12 slices of cheese that I cut down (like a pizza) into 8 slices a piece.
- 2 cans of sliced olives – drained of excess water
- 16 oz. bottle Olive Garden Creamy Italian Dressing
- 1 jar 3.7 oz. artichokes – drained of excess oils and chopped down
- black pepper
What is Tortellini Salad?
Tortellini salads are a pasta salad that uses tortellini (stuffed pasta) over regular pasta like macaroni or rotini. The tortellini shell, which comes in a variety of flavors, can have cheese, mushrooms, or even chicken stuffed inside, which brings a lot of complex flavor in a simple salad.
Best Tortellini for Pasta Salad
I always purchase the refrigerated tortellini shells, which are typically by the Ricotta Cheese in a store. They come in cheese, spinach, mushroom, sausage – sometimes you can even find them in seasonal flavors like pumpkin (I do not recommend that for this salad, of course)
For the pasta salad, you will need to properly boil or pressure cook the pasta. I personally prefer just a regular old stovetop as this pasta is delicate and needs very little time on the stove. Just follow the package instructions.
Pasta Salad Variations
While this salad is most often seen in the spring and summer months where there are a lot of picnics and gatherings, if you are serving Tortellini salad with dinner, you may want to change up the flavors.
There really are a lot of ingredient variations that can easily be used or substituted to switch up the taste.
Make it Greek – change out black olives for Kalamata olives and add some feta cheese.Make it a Meal: Add some cooked shredded chicken.
Make it Pretty – Instead of cheese tortellini, try spinach tortellini. Some of the other tortellini pastas include a variety of colored pastas.
Make it Cheesy: A bit of cheese is always a great addition, we recommend some shredded Parmesan or even small cubed cheddar cheese.
Make it healthy: Well….this is carb loaded because its pasta. However, its fine to add bite sized pieces of rainbow colored vegetables (like red, orange, and yellow peppers) for some color and crunch.
What Italian Dressing is best for Tortellini Pasta Salad?
Many tortellini pasta salad recipes are super salty.
Typically this comes down to adding extra spices or packets of Italian dressing. There really is no need to add salt to this recipe as the Italian dressing and meats are full of salt.
After trying out Olive Garden Dressing in our slow cooker chicken, I just knew it would make a great addition to a creamy pasta salad so I suggest kicking the old clear version you are used to and using this one instead for a super creamy salad. You can find Olive Garden dressing in the regular salad dressing aisle.
Can you make Tortellini Salad ahead of time?
Absolutely. Salads rooted in pasta generally work amazing the night before as it allows all the flavors to really work together. The only issue is that sometimes pastas dry out a bit after a night in the fridge so you have two choices.
- Make the pasta the night before and place sealed in the fridge. Rinse with cold water and dry completely and then assemble the rest of the salad day of serving.
- Make entire salad and add a bit of extra dressing and stir day of.
How long will Tortellini Pasta Salad Last?
I always say 3 days, sealed, and well stirred prior to serving. It may need a little extra dressing to bring it back to life and avoid some pasta dryness from the fridge.
More Amazing Pasta Salad Recipes
- Amish Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
- Orecchiette Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Seafood Pasta Salad Recipe
- Pea Pasta Salad Recipe
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