Tuscan tortellini salad is simple to make and a delight to eat. Made with tri-color tortellini, tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach, and parmesan, this easy pasta salad is the perfect side or main dish. Everyone will love this fresh and colorful Italian tortellini salad.
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What is Tuscan tortellini salad?
Tuscan tortellini salad is a delicious pasta salad that features amazing textures and flavors inspired by Italian cuisine. My recipe combines three cheese tortellini with garlicky, roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach, parmesan, and olives.
Light and refreshing, summer tortellini salad takes little effort to prepare and is a great side dish. I love serving it up in a big bowl for parties or a quick midweek lunch. It’s always a hit with my family and guests!
Because there’s no mayo in the recipe, the dish keeps well and can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. It also travels well and is great to bring to picnics, potlucks, BBQs, and cookouts.
Why you’ll love this easy tortellini salad
- Flavorful: A combination of tomatoes, garlic, black olives, prosciutto, and parmesan adds the best flavors to this Tuscan pasta salad recipe.
- Quick + Easy: Cheese tortellini pasta salad is super simple to prepare. Once you have the ingredients ready, you won’t need more than 10 minutes to assemble the dish.
- Make ahead: This meal is great to make in advance. Throw the salad together and refrigerate it for 4 days ahead of time.
The ingredient list of this Tuscan tortellini salad is really simple, and that’s the reason it has become such a staple in my house. See the printable recipe card at the end of the post for specific measurements.
- Tortellini: I love using tri-color, three cheese tortellini for this salad, but feel free to use any tortellini pasta that you have. I recommend refrigerated pasta over dried or frozen.
- Tomatoes: Grape or cherry tomatoes are better than sliced or chopped tomatoes as they won’t add a lot of excess liquid.
- Spinach: Fresh spinach is best because frozen spinach will be too wet and soggy.
- Prosciutto is a dry-cured Italian ham. You can omit prosciutto for a vegetarian tortellini salad.
- Parmesan cheese: Garnish the spinach tortellini salad with parmesan shavings to add flavor and texture.
- Black olives add lots of aroma. Feel free to swap in green olives if preferred.
- Garlic: Stick with fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor.
- Olive oil is needed to roast the tomatoes and garlic. Use good-quality olive oil.
The salad is very flavorful as written. Prosciutto, black olives, and parmesan are quite salty, which is why I usually don’t add any additional salt.
Of course, you can always season the salad with salt and black pepper to bring the flavor alive and customize the dish to your taste. I’m also sharing a quick tortellini salad dressing further down.
How to make Tuscan tortellini salad
This easy tortellini pasta salad is so simple and easy. It takes barely more than 30 minutes from start to finish, and when you’re done, you’re rewarded with the best tortellini salad. Let’s go over the steps involved.
Step 1: Preheat the oven
- Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6.
Step 2: Cook tortellini.
- In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions. You want the pasta just al dente, not too soft or overcooked.
- Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Step 3: Roast tomatoes
- While the tortellini are cooking, place the cherry tomato halves, sliced garlic, and olive oil into a shallow baking dish or on a lined baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 13 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened, and the garlic smells fragrant.
Step 4: Assemble salad
- Place the cooked tortellini, roasted tomatoes (including all of the oil and garlic!), spinach, prosciutto, and black olives into a large serving bowl.
- Toss together until everything is well combined and coated in oil.
Step 5: Serve
- Garnish the tortellini salad with parmesan shavings and serve warm or cold. Enjoy!
Tips for the best tortellini salad
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Overcooking will result in mushy tortellini that fall apart when you try to toss the salad. To prevent mushy pasta salad, cook the tortellini until al dente.
- Shock tortellini. After draining the tortellini, rinse them under ice-cold water for a minute to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta a bit.
- Marinate. If possible, let your tortellini pasta salad marinate for 1 to 2 hours. Marinating allows the aromas to blend together and gives the tortellini a chance to soak up all the delicious flavors.
Warm pasta salad
For warm pasta salad, serve the salad immediately after preparing it and while the tortellini and roasted tomatoes are still warm. It’s so good!
Cold tortellini salad
To make cold tortellini pasta salad, let the salad cool to room temperature. Then keep covered in the fridge until it’s time to eat. We love chilled tortellini salad on hot summer days and for quick lunches throughout the week.
What to serve with tortellini pasta salad?
Summer tortellini salad is made for cookouts and a great side dish to serve with grilled meat, burgers, garlic bread, and green salad, but it can work as a main course as well.
Cheese tortellini salad is pretty tasty and filling. Still, you can make it a main meal by serving it with baked chicken breast, grilled shrimp, or another protein.
- Salami: Replace prosciutto with salami. Use flavorful genoa salami, pepperoni salami for a bit of heat, or chorizo.
- Vegetarian: For a vegetarian Tuscan pasta salad, omit the prosciutto and use meat-free vegetarian tortellini. This dish can also be vegan if you forgo cheese tortellini and parmesan.
- Sundried tomatoes: Chop up 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes and stir into the salad.
- Artichoke hearts: Canned artichoke hearts make the salad heartier. Use unmarinated artichokes and drain them well.
- Cheese: Swap out parmesan for Asiago cheese, Grana Padano, or mozzarella.
- Red onion: Red onion has a milder flavor and can be eaten raw. Chop 1 small red onion.
- Pepperoni or pimentos: If you enjoy a little heat, cut a few pepperonis or pimentos into thin slices, and add to the dish.
- Fresh herbs: A sprinkle of fresh basil or parsley will liven up the flavors and add a sunny note.
Tortellini salad dressing
I usually skip any dressing for this recipe. Roasting the tomatoes and garlic in olive oil creates an incredibly aromatic mixture that serves as dressing in my recipe.
Of course, you can always enhance the salad with a drizzle of your favorite Italian dressing. Or try my tasty dressing for tortellini salad. You’ll need:
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- pinch of salt
Combine the ingredients in a jar. Screw on the lid tightly and shake until the dressing is emulsified. Store the dressing refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
What are tortellini?
Tortellini are a ring-shaped, stuffed pasta from the Italian region of Emilia. They are traditionally filled with a mixture of meat, cheese, and eggs. You will find all sorts of tortellini stunnings such as three cheese, spinach, chicken, sausage, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella, and many more.
What tortellini are best for pasta salad?
In my opinion, refrigerated tortellini are best and taste far better than dried or frozen. However, shelf-stable and frozen tortellini will work if that is what you have available.
How do you cook tortellini for pasta salad?
Cook your tortellini until just al dente. Al dente means the pasta is soft but still has some bite. Overcooking will result in soft and mushy pasta that is tricky to toss in a salad. Let the tortellini cool before adding the other ingredients for cold tortellini salad.
Can you make this salad with ravioli or other pasta?
Absolutely! Feel free to swap out tortellini with other stuffed pasta such as ravioli or any other noodles you like and have available.
How to store Tuscan tortellini salad?
- Room temperature: Tortellini salad can be out at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours during serving.
- Fridge: Keep the salad in an airtight container or covered salad bowl in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Making Tuscan tortellini salad ahead of time
Tuscan tortellini salad is a fantastic make-ahead meal, perfect if you’re planning a big feast. The salad will hold up well in the refrigerator. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (cling film) and store for 3 to 4 days.
Can you freeze tortellini salad?
Yes, you can freeze Tuscan tortellini pasta salad. Just keep in mind that the texture of some ingredients (like the tomatoes) is going to change once frozen and thawed.
To freeze, let leftover tortellini salad cool to room temperature before transferring the dish in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Allow defrosting in the refrigerator overnight.
For more tips on freezing pasta salad, check out this helpful guide on how to freeze pasta salad from Foods Guy.
- 20 oz / 500 g tortellini (any kind, regular or mini – I used tri-color tortellini with cheese filling)
- 2 cups / 300 g / 10.6 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced or minced
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 2.7 fl oz olive oil
- 1 cup / 30 g / 1 oz baby spinach
- 3/4 cup / 130 g / 4.5 oz black olives, halved
- 3/4 cup / 90 g / 3 oz prosciutto, sliced (can sub for salami)
- 1/4 cup / 20 g / 0.7 oz parmesan cheese shavings
- Preheat the oven. Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6.
Cook tortellini. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions. You want the pasta just al dente, not too soft or overcooked. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Roast tomatoes. While the tortellini are cooking, place the cherry tomato halves, sliced garlic, and olive oil into a shallow baking dish or on a lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 13 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened, and the garlic smells fragrant.
- Assemble salad. Place the cooked tortellini, roasted tomatoes (including all of the oil and garlic!), spinach, prosciutto, and black olives into a large serving bowl. Toss together until everything is well combined and coated in oil.
- Serve. Garnish the tortellini salad with parmesan shavings and serve warm or cold. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 942mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g