Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other summer side dishes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe

The perfect summertime pasta dish couldn’t be anything other than this fresh Italian tortellini pasta salad. It’s chocked full of stuffed tortellini, red bell pepper, salami, olives, and so many other delicious flavors. Plus, a quick homemade Italian-style dressing marries everything together with a slight spice. It’s perfect all season long!

Why this recipe works.

A pasta salad can either be boring and flavorless, or it can be the start of the meal with fresh flavor with extra additions. The tortellini pasta salad has it all. The tortellini is a pasta stuffed with cheese, giving the first baseline of flavor. The dressing is packed with fresh herbs and garlic to make a homemade Italian flavor bomb. For most pasta salads, add a few vegetables and call it done. This recipe uses marinated artichoke hearts, gourmet olives, roasted red pepper, pepperoncini, salami, and parmesan cheese. Each brings flavor and texture to complement the dressed tortellini. This salad looks festive with all the color and texture and tastes even better.

Large bowl filled with tortellini pasta salad filled with lots of olives, Parmesan cheese, artichoke hearts, and bell pepper on taupe surface.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Tortellini can be found with both dried pasta and in fresh pasta sections of the grocery store. Choose a cheese-stuffed pasta for the best flavor.
  • Salami is a cured sausage that will be either thin sliced or thick, both will work and both will taste great.
  • Bell pepper has natural sugar that becomes sweet when the pepper is roasted until it is black. The cooking also tenderizes and softens the flesh.
  • Pepperoncini is a pickled, slightly spicy pepper. The briny pepper adds a bit of acidity and heat to the salad.
  • Artichoke hearts are traditionally on an antipasto platter. Choose a marinated artichoke heart to increase the flavor of the salad.
White surface filled with all ingredients needed to make tortellini pasta salad including pasta, red bell pepper, salami, olives, cheese, oils, spices, herbs, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Cook the pasta. To a pot of boiling water, add salt. Then pour in the stuffed tortellini and cook until fully cooked. Then remove to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place the colander over a plate and let drip dry while preparing the bell pepper and Italian dressing.
  1. Blacken the bell pepper. Place a bell pepper on a dry, hot grill pan set over high heat. Roast the pepper, turning frequently, until most of the exterior is blackened. Once the skin is blackened, remove the pepper from the heat and place in a bowl fitted with a lid. This will steam the bell pepper while it is cooling down. Set aside while preparing the dressing.
  1. Prepare the dressing. In a small food processor, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, shallot, kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, fresh oregano leaves, and fresh basil leaves. Place the top on the food processor and blend until homogenous and emulsified. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  1. Prepare the bell pepper. Once the dressing is blended, remove the lid from the bowl with the bell pepper. Pull out the core of the bell pepper, slice it open, and lay it flat on a surface. Using the back of a knife or spoon, scrape off the outer skin from the pepper. Then dice into bite-sized pieces.
  1. Mix everything together. Dice the red onion, slice the olives in half and dice the salami into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, add the cooked stuffed tortellini. Pour the dressing on top and toss everything to coat. Then add the red onion, sliced olives, diced bell pepper, artichoke hearts, diced salami, pepperoncini, fresh chopped parsley, and Parmesan cheese shards. Toss everything together until well-combined.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • While rinsing pasta is usually not something that’s recommended, when making this pasta salad, I feel that it’s needed. The rinsing will stop the cooking and remove any residual starch from the exterior of the pasta, preventing it from clumping together while the rest of the recipe is prepared.
  • To speed up the process of making the dressing, simply place everything in a food processor and blend it. You could also use a handheld immersion blender to achieve the same results.
  • If possible, let this pasta salad sit for at least an hour before serving. The pasta will soak up some of the dressing that was poured over the top, enhancing the flavor even more. It’s even better if left overnight in the refrigerator and served chilled.
Cooked tortellini pasta in large bowl tossed with pieces of red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, sliced olives, red onion, Parmesan cheese, and more.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can either fresh or dried tortellini be used in this recipe?

Yes, either fresh or dried pasta will work, but the cooking time will need to adjust according to the package.

Can the bell pepper be blackened on the grill rather than on the stovetop?

Yes, the pepper can be blackened on an outdoor grill, or jarred roasted peppers can also be used.

Does a grill pan work using an electric or alternative stovetop?

Yes, a grill pan or cast iron skillet can be used on any stovetop. Follow the guidelines of each stove and accommodate as needed.

Can the red pepper flakes be left out of the Italian dressing if adverse to spice?

Yes, reduce the quantity or leave the dried pepper out completely for personal preference.

Can the dried versions of oregano and basil be used in the Italian dressing instead of fresh?

Yes, dried herbs can be used, but a slightly different texture will result. For dried herbs, use half the amount as called for fresh.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More summer side dishes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Large brown bowl filled with Italian tortellini pasta salad with red onion, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, parsley, olives, and more all on taupe surface.

Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad

5 from 4 votes
The perfect summertime pasta dish couldn’t be anything other than this fresh Italian tortellini pasta salad. It’s chocked full of stuffed tortellini, red bell pepper, salami, olives, and so many other delicious flavors. Plus, a quick homemade Italian-style dressing marries everything together with a slight spice. It’s perfect all season long!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the pasta salad

  • 1 lb tortellini
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • ¾ cup mixed pitted olives roughly chopped
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 4 oz salami chopped
  • ½ cup pepperoncini chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese shredded

For the Italian dressing

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small shallot roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 10 leaves fresh basil

Instructions
 

For the pasta salad

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, remove it from the heat, drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set it aside to cool.
    1 lb tortellini
  • Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Place the red pepper on the hot pan and cook until it is blackened on all sides, 8-12 minutes. Once the pepper is blackened, remove it from the heat and place it in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid to steam. After 5 minutes, scrape the black skin off of the pepper, discard the seeds and stem and dice the pepper.
    1 large bell pepper
  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pasta and the prepared dressing (see below) and mix them together. Add the diced red pepper, red onion, olives, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, salami, and parsley. Mix to combine and top with the Parmesan cheese. Store in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to marinate.
    1 small red onion, ¾ cup mixed pitted olives, 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, ½ cup pepperoncini, ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 oz Parmesan cheese, 4 oz salami

For the dressing

  • Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, shallot, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, oregano leaves, and basil leaves. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped and set it aside.
    ¾ cup olive oil, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 small shallot, 2 cloves garlic, ¾ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, 10 leaves fresh basil

Notes

  • While rinsing pasta is usually not something that’s recommended, when making this pasta salad, I feel that it’s needed. The rinsing will stop the cooking and remove any residual starch from the exterior of the pasta, preventing it from clumping together while the rest of the recipe is prepared.
  • To speed up the process of making the dressing, simply place everything in a food processor and blend it. You could also use a handheld immersion blender to achieve the same results.
  • If possible, let this pasta salad sit for at least an hour before serving. The pasta will soak up some of the dressing that was poured over the top, enhancing the flavor even more. It’s even better if left overnight in the refrigerator and served chilled.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 488kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Mixing

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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5 Comments

  1. Kaleb, I recently discovered you on my FB feed. I love your warmth and enthusiasm and I’m encouraged to try some of your recipes. I’m now subscribed to your newsletter and will be researching how to can vegetables from you. The Italian tortellini pasta salad looks so yummy that I’m going to gather the ingredients and make it this week for my family. I’m just trying to figure out if you wrote out some of the olive suggestions. Anyway, thank you for this great information laced with your sweet personality. I’m looking forward to learning with you!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for July 4th celebration with family. Everyone loved it. Only change I made was to substitute shallot for the red onion.

  3. 5 stars
    This was simply delicious and will go into our summer salad rotation for years to come. Thank you!

  4. A great recipe and I always have roasted red peppers that I’ve roasted, ready to go in my freezer. I never thought to add to pasta salad, the best idea, the flavor is more to my liking.