Elevate Your Next Batch Of Pasta Salad With Tortellini

A bowl of pasta salad is the type of side dish that can easily be customized with a variety of ingredients. The most important part to get right, however, is probably the pasta since it's what pulls the dish together with ingredients like olives, onions, peppers, and some sort of dressing. Some people swear by pasta like fusilli and rotini because their texture allows those other ingredients to cling on. But, despite those opinions, we think there's a strong argument to use tortellini to give the dish more flavor.

Hear us out: Tortellini is stuffed with cheese, herbs, and sometimes meat and vegetables so the pasta is an effortless way to give the dish more flavor and texture. Most grocery stores sell premade tortellini in the refrigerator or freezer section, which means it won't take much prep work compared to using other pasta. It's also a great way to reuse leftover tortellini for a quick lunch, especially if you put in the effort to make it yourself.

To try this ingredient swap, check out Tasting Table's tortellini Greek salad recipe created by recipe developer Miriam Hahn. In the recipe, Hahn uses cheese tortellini, but you can use any variety of tortellini that satisfies your craving.

Cook and rinse tortellini before mixing into pasta salad

To incorporate tortellini into your favorite pasta salad, you'll want about 20 ounces of the stuffed pasta for every five servings according to Hahn's recipe. Fresh tortellini found in the refrigerator at the market will cook faster and have a softer texture compared to frozen if you can find it. Boil the tortellini according to the instructions on the package since every type has varying cook times depending on the size. Before combining the tortellini with the other ingredients, rinse it in cold water. And don't worry, tortellini tastes just as delicious cold as it does piping hot.

You can easily swap in tortellini with your favorite pasta salad recipe, but we've got a few ideas if you need inspiration. If you don't want the tortellini fillings to take over the dish, then use a three or four-cheese variety. For an Italian-inspired tortellini pasta salad made with black olives, red onion, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cured meats like salami, consider tri-color tortellini to brighten up the dish as the colored pasta does in the classic variation. To upgrade pasta salad with more flavor find mushroom tortellini for umami, spinach and cheese to add greens, or find a variety filled with prosciutto or sausage if you prefer meaty pasta salad.