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Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Calories: 322
tortellini pasta salad with tomatoes, and basil and pesto

The classic Italian caprese trio of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes are the inspiration behind this couldn’t-be-easier cheese tortellini salad.

Caprese Pasta Salad: Your New Favorite Summer Dinner

Juicy, ripe tomatoes and pillowy balls of fresh mozzarella dot this hearty Italian tortellini salad. Tossed with pesto and fresh basil, it’s a summery supper that’s as easy to love as it is to make. Not only can you prep many of the ingredients ahead of time—we’ll get into exactly how to do that later—you can make the entire tortellini salad a day ahead of time, and just let it chill in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. On hot summer days, that’s the best news ever, right? It means that any standing-over-a-hot-stove work can happen in the cool morning hours, and be nothing but a distant memory by mid day. And when dinner time rolls around, all you’ve got to do is reach into the fridge and pull out that gorgeous, pesto-dressed cold Italian tortellini salad, and dig in!

a bowl of chicken, cooked tortellini, basil, mozzarella, pesto olive oil, tomatoes

Everything You’ll Need To Make This Italian Cheese Tortellini Salad Recipe

This pesto tortellini salad is meant to be an Italian-accented celebration of all things summer—perfect tomatoes, bursting with ripeness, fragrant fresh basil, and easy, make-ahead dinners. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Cheese tortellini.
  • Chicken. We usually cook chicken breasts on the weekends to have and use throughout the week (check out our recipe for poached chicken). But, you could also use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and save yourself some work. Or, if you’d like to keep this pasta salad vegetarian, just leave it out. So many options, and all of them will result in a delicious tortellini pasta salad—promise!
  • Cherry tomatoes.
  • Fresh mozzarella. For this cheese tortellini pasta salad recipe, we love to use small, bite-sized balls of fresh mozzarella like bocconcini or ciliegine. However, if what you’ve got are the larger fresh mozzarella balls, that’ll work, too! Just cut them up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Roasted bell peppers. From a jar—we’re not completely out of our minds.
  • Basil pesto. While homemade is always the best (and it’s really quick to make—here's our recipe for basil pesto!), it’s OK to use store-bought pesto here to save time. Take it easy if you need to!
  • Olive oil
a large mixing bowl with tortellini, pesto, mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shredded chicken
a large mixing bowl with tortellini, pesto, mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shredded chicken

How To Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

If you’re going to make all of the elements of this salad from scratch like we do, here’s how we break up the work.

  • Up to 3 days ahead of time: cook the chicken.
  • Up to 2 days ahead of time: make the basil pesto sauce. OR, make it waaaay ahead of time (as in a few months) and freeze it.
  • Up to 1 day ahead of time: make the cheese tortellini pasta salad!
  • When you’re hungry: eat the cheese tortellini salad!
Pasta salad with tortellini, pesto, mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shredded chicken
tortellini pasta salad with pesto, mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shredded chicken

Tools You’ll Need:

More Pasta Salad Recipes We Love

We can’t get enough of these cold noodle salads in the summertime. Served as a hearty side dish, or even as a main, they hit the spot every time.

tortellini pasta salad with pesto, mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shredded chicken

Easy Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Salad

So simple, so genius. If you make this tortellini caprese salad let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Calories: 322

Ingredients

  • 2 (10 oz) packages Cheese tortellini, prepared according to package instructions
  • 2 cups Chicken, cooked, shredded
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 oz Pearl mozzarella
  • 1 cup Roasted bell peppers (from a jar), chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup Basil pesto
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced for garnish

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients up to a day ahead.
  2. When ready to serve, top with fresh basil.