Looking for an easy, refreshing recipe you can throw together in minutes? This Summer Tortellini Salad contains seasonal ingredients like corn and tomatoes, all mixed together in a delicious herby vinaigrette. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or if you need to bring something to a last-minute get-together.
On hot summer days, I basically crave one of three things: popsicles, Mexican food, or a big, non-boring salad.
I love making this tortellini pasta salad as a weeknight meal, but it also travels incredibly well. If you’re taking this to a party as a side dish, keep the dressing separate and mix everything together once you arrived at your destination. If you’re having a picnic, you can also pack individual pasta salad servings in mason jars.
I can’t take full credit this summer tortellini salad; the vinaigrette in this dish is actually inspired by a dressing from this recipe on Half-Baked Harvest. I loved Teighan’s herby concoction so much, I wanted to put it on everything – so I put I in this tortellini pasta salad recipe, give or take a few of the original ingredients.
The vinaigrette only takes a few minutes to make, but if you’re super crunched on time – or you want a different flavor profile – you can always use basil pesto instead. (However, I think once you try it, you’ll be hooked.)
You can make this tortellini pasta salad from start to finish in just about 20 minutes.
Summer Tortellini Salad
For the vinaigrette:
- Olive oil
- Fresh oregano
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh dill
For the pasta salad:
- Cheese tortellini
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Corn kernels (fresh or frozen, I used frozen)
- Fresh mozzarella (either the small balls, or cut into bite-sized pieces)
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
How to Make This Summer Tortellini Salad
Cook The Pasta
Cook the cheese tortellini according to package instructions. Once it’s cooked, drain the pasta, and immediately run it under cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Nobody wants mushy tortellini in their pasta salad and this will prevent it from overcooking. Let the tortellini sit and cool.
Mix Your Vinaigrette
While you’re waiting for the water to boil and/or the pasta to cook, you can make the herby vinaigrette.
In a small mixing bowl mix together all of the vinaigrette ingredients and let sit olive oil, honey, chopped shallot and garlic, and all of the chopped herbs. Using a Microplane grater, add some lemon zest.
I like to put everything into a mason jar, seal it, and then shake it up vigorously to combine the ingredients.
Prepare The Pasta Salad
In a large bowl, add the cooked tortellini, cherry tomatoes, corn, and mozzarella. Then, add in the vinaigrette, gently stirring with a large spoon. Pour in a large handful of grated parmesan cheese and some hand-torn basil leaves and stir a few more times.
I used frozen corn kernels for my tortellini pasta salad. I first warmed them up in a small saucepan, then let them cool before adding to my large mixing bowl. If you want to be super snazzy and use fresh corn; just slice off the raw kernels directly from the ear of corn into your salad.
Summer Tortellini Salad with Herby Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp lemon zest
For the pasta salad
- 20 oz cheese tortellini
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen or from a fresh ear of corn)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella balls, halved, or cut into small bites
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- a few fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the cheese tortellini according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta, and immediately run it under cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Let the tortellini sit to cool.
- While you're waiting for the water to boil for your tortellini, make your herby vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the oil, honey, shallot, garlic, and fresh chopped oregano, thyme, and dill. Add in the lemon zest, then mix together. Set aside to let flavors combine.
- If you are using frozen corn kernels, follow the package instructions to cook them. If using fresh corn kernels, simply cut the raw kernels from the ear of corn.
- In a large bowl, add the cooled cooked tortellini, tomatoes, mozzarella, and corn. Add in the vinaigrette, a large handful of grated parmesan cheese and some hand-torn basil leaves. Stir gently to combine, and garnish with some extra cheese and basil.
The great thing about this summer tortellini salad is that you can really use whatever you have in your fridge as the accompanying ingredients. For example, if you don’t like tomatoes, skip them. And add in something else like chopped bell pepper instead.
For a Greek Tortellini Salad, use cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese as your mix-ins instead of the above.
For an Italian Tortellini Salad, use basil, mozzarella, and even marinated artichoke hearts.
If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!