A side dish that you will definitely want to have on your table at your next barbecue or picnic. Tortellini salad loaded with salami, capicola ham, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella cheese, homemade basic Italian dressing and much more. You can easy make it ahead of time or right before the party. It really is a perfect pasta salad to take with your on a picnic.
What a great holiday weekend, I actually took the holiday off and completely unplugged. I love doing that and my family loves it when I don’t work but the mount of work that I comes the next morning is not very pleasant.
We actually had a very nice holiday weekend. I made this Italian tortellini salad to take with us to the beach, for a picnic. The plan was great: go to the farmer’s market near the beach and then go to the beach side park for picnic and beach day. Well there was one little thing we didn’t take in consideration…it was a Saturday of a Memorial Day weekend.
Yeah, even setting the traffic aside, when we drove up to the park, a big sign read “park is full, wait time 45 minutes.” That means just to get into the park, you had to wait in the car for 45 minutes.
Luckily, we live on the Florida coast, so there is many miles of beach and many parks along the way. We did manage to find a park that was not overflowing with people but the picnic areas were all taken. There was no grilling for us so the tortellini salad saved our lunch. It was fantastic and we ate it right on the beach.
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HOW TO MAKE TORTELLINI SALAD
Tortellini salad is very simple to make and can easily be made ahead of time too. The most effort will go into cooking tortellini and cutting meats and vegetables. Although, I should mention that not eating it all before it gets to the table won’t be easy either.
First step is, of course, to cook tortellini and let it cool to room temperature. (This step can actually be done ahead of time.)
While tortellini is cooking, cut the meats, cheese, tomatoes, banana peppers, and dice fresh herbs.
Combine ingredients for the dressing in a jar and close the lid well. Shake the jar vigorously for a few seconds to combine the ingredients well.
Use a large mixing bowl to combine cooled tortellini, meats, cheese, tomatoes, banana peppers, herbs, and the dressing. Mix thoroughly and carefully until everything is evenly combined.
HOW TO MAKE TORTELLINI SALAD AHEAD OF TIME
There are two ways to make this Italian tortellini salad ahead of time. You can cook tortellini the day before and then make the rest or the salad when ready. Or, take it a step further and prepare everything except for the dressing ahead of time.
If making tortellini ahead of time, cook and cool tortellini. Mix cooled tortellini with a little but of Italian dressing or olive oil so it doesn’t stick together too much. Store cooked tortellini in a food storage container with a lid, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.
You can also prepare the salad completely without the dressing and tomatoes. I find it’s best when tomatoes are cut and added to the salad right before serving. If dressing is added the night before to any pasta salad, pasta tends to soak in all the liquid and the salad will be dry.
So prepare pasta, meats, cheese, banana peppers, and herbs and mix it all together. Transfer everything into a food storage container with a lid. Store the salad mixture in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Add dressing and cut tomatoes when ready to serve.
HOW LONG DOES TORTELLINI SALAD LAST
To store leftover tortellini salad, transfer it into a food storage container with a lid and keep it refrigerated. Tortellini salad will last for 3-5 days refrigerated. You may need to add a little more dressing after it’s been in the fridge for a while because pasta tends to soak up all the dressing liquids.
MORE PASTA SALAD RECIPES:
Antipasto Pasta Salad – Antipasto Pasta Salad is loaded with salami, mozzarella, veggies and tossed in delicious dressing.
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad – This tortellini salad is loaded with crispy bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and tossed in a creamy ranch sauce.
Tuscan Tortellini Salad – This tortellini salad is made in a Tuscan style, with cannellini beans, kale, tomatoes, carrots, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs.
Greek Tortellini Pasta from Slow Roasted Italian
Tortellini Pasta Salad from Spoonful of Flavor
BLT Tortellini Salad from Lemons for Lulu
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Italian Tortellini Salad
- 20 oz three cheese tortellini
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2/3 cup banana peppers chopped
- 1/4 lb capicola ham chopped
- 1/4 lb pepperoni chopped
- 1/3 lb hard salami chipped
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese chopped
- 2 Tbsp minced Italian parsley
- 6-8 basil leaves minced
- 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar white wine vinegar can be substituted
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves pressed
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes Use more or less according to personal taste
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- Cook tortellini according to the package, drain well and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil so it won't stick together and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- Chop meats, tomatoes, banana peppers and cheese. Add it to the cooled tortellini in the bowl.
- Mince herbs and add it to the mixing bowl as well. Add some salt and mix well.
- In a jar with a lid, combine ingredients for the dressing. Close the jar and shake well.
- Pour dressing into the bowl with tortellini mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
- Cover and refrigerate salad before serving.
Originally published on May 27th, 2015. Updated May 18, 2019.