overhead shot of summer pasta salad with fork and parmesan next to it

Summer Tortellini Salad

As the days get warmer, I leave my oven off as much as possible. I don’t want to heat up my kitchen if I don’t have to! I try to stick to stove top cooking, which includes a variety of pasta dishes. And one of my favorite summer pasta dishes is this tasty summer tortellini salad.

This recipe incorporates so many of my favorite summer ingredients, including tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh pesto. It’s bright, slightly spicy from the garlicky pesto, and loaded with hearty cheese tortellini. And the best part is that it comes together in less than 30 minutes!

close up of summer tortellini salad in white bowl

Because this is a summer pasta salad, feel free to substitute the tomatoes and zucchini with whatever summer produce is in your CSA box. Red peppers would be delicious here, as would green onions. Since we are on the topic of pasta, if you missed this article on The Bucatini Shortage of 2021, it’s a fascinating read!

Ingredients

  • 20 oz. cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)
  • fresh basil, roughly chopped (optional)
For the Walnut Pesto
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, shaved or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
summer tortellini salad ingredients
walnut pesto ingredients in food processor

Instructions for Summer Tortellini Salad

  • Cook the tortellini according to instructions on package. Drain well.
  • While tortellini is cooking, make the walnut pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, add walnuts, parmesan, and garlic, and pulse until finely ground. Scrape down sides of bowl, and add basil leaves. Mix for an additional minute. With motor on, slowly add olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
  • Place cooked tortellini in a large bowl, and add tomatoes and zucchini.
  • Add pesto to bowl and mix until ingredients are well coated.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using shaved parmesan and fresh basil, add to bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature. Transfer leftovers to an air-tight container and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
summer tortellini salad in a white bowl with red dish cloth next to bowl

Recipe Tips

  • Although this recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes, you can make the pesto ahead of time. Just store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • For maximum flavor and texture, serve this pasta salad warm or at room temperature. It CAN be served cold, but the cheese tortellini becomes a bit too chewy and the flavor is muted by the cold temperature.
  • If freezing leftovers, place in a freezer-safe container and store for up to 2 months. To serve, thaw in refrigerator and use microwave to reheat.
white bowl with pasta salad with cherry tomatoes in background

More Pasta Recipe Ideas!

Enjoy your week, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments – I would love to hear if you try this recipe! Or tag me on Instagram @maryannehoekstra to let me know how it turned out! Also, if you are enjoying my blog, please consider recommending it to your friends. They can subscribe here.

Summer Tortellini Salad

A bright and cheesy pasta salad that screams summer! Dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes!
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 20 oz. cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)
  • fresh basil, roughly chopped (optional)

For the Walnut Pesto

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, shaved or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Cook the tortellini according to instructions on package. Drain well.
  • While tortellini is cooking, make the walnut pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, add walnuts, parmesan, and garlic, and pulse until finely ground. Scrape down sides of bowl, and add basil leaves. Mix for an additional minute. With motor on, slowly add olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
  • Place cooked tortellini in a large bowl, and add tomatoes and zucchini.
  • Add pesto to bowl and mix until ingredients are well coated.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using shaved parmesan and fresh basil, add to bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature. Transfer leftovers to an air-tight container and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Keyword basil pesto, cheese tortellini, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, pasta salad, zucchini

26 Comments

  1. Barbara J Haner

    5 stars
    I can’t say it enough how amazing your photos are. I feel like the salad bowl is sitting in front of me and I can just start eating! Looks delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this salad! It really is the perfect summer pasta salad. The tortellini makes it extra special. YUM!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ll definitely have a plate of this! Looks so delicious and very tasty! Headed to the store now. Excited to make this tonight!

  4. 5 stars
    This delicious tortellini salad is an ideal side for big 4th of July BBQs. I plan to make this dish the night before the event.

  5. 5 stars
    This is the best salad for summer. The homemade walnut pesto adds so much flavor.

  6. 5 stars
    This looks perfect for summer! It would be so yummy with a nice cold glass of crisp white wine.

  7. michele h peterson

    5 stars
    Perfect salad to take boating! It travels so well!

  8. 5 stars
    Looks delicious !!

  9. 5 stars
    This was such a delicious meal! I can’t wait to make it again this bank holiday weekend!

  10. 5 stars
    This looks perfect for summer!

  11. 5 stars
    omgosh this salad looks devine. I love tortellini and can’t wait to make this. My family will love it.

  12. 5 stars
    This salad is really yummy, easy and perfect for summer.

  13. 5 stars
    So light and refreshing for summer! Yum!!

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