Tortellini Salad To Go

20 years ago, a friend of mine was an editor working on a cookbook. One day she invited me to a picnic lunch on the Sonoma plaza. She was trying out one of the recipes, a summer tortellini salad. I was immediately hooked. And still today, it’s my dish of choice to most any potluck we go to.

I’m all about simplicity and minimal ingredients. I always make too much of this recipe and then get to enjoy it for lunch the rest of the week. For the large bowl as shown in the last photo I used 3 times the tortellini, beans and tomatoes. This is what I took to a 4th of July barbeque on Saturday. For a lunch serving for 3-4:

  1. One large bag of frozen cheese tortellini
  2. One can (yeah, can) of cut green beans, drained
  3. One basket of cherry tomatoes
  4. One bottle or less of Italian dressing (I prefer to make mine using balsamic vinegar)

You can adjust the ingredient quantities, you can’t really mess this up. You should resist the urge to add other ingredients, such as olives, etc. Trust me, this combination is time tested.

The night before serving, cook and drain the tortellini. Coat with about 1/3 dressing and chill overnight. The next day, add tomatoes (I prefer to halve mine), drained beans and the remaining dressing, stir and chill until ready to serve. You should make extra for yourself, seriously.

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29 Responses to Tortellini Salad To Go

  1. #1 - Not the Good Scissors! says:

    I love anything made with tortellini. My favorite, probably because it is so quick, easy and oh so tasty, is tortellini cooked al dente with a pesto sauce and freshly grated parmessan. Of course with the side of salad and garlic bread too.
    P.S. My husband and I love Sonoma and the plaza but we miss the chickens and roosters.

  2. #2 - Lisa says:

    thank you thank you thank you, I was wondering what to make for the family reunion this Saturday… some sort of Pasta salad. YOU saved the day. Love your blog, one of my favorites! and my daughter's too!

  3. #3 - HeatherScent says:

    I am feeling the urge to add slices of roasted red peppers, but I will trust your advice and leave it alone! lol

  4. #4 - threemoonbabies says:


  5. #5 - Dana Gustafson says:

    mmmmm looks yummy!

  6. #6 - Bowlby says:

    This looks really good. And so simple!

  7. #7 - jenny says:

    Yum. I was just thinking I needed a new (but tried and true) pasta salad recipe. I will be trying this soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. #8 - TidyMom says:

    YUMMM!!! We just made cheese tortollini with meat sauce the other night! Now this sounds right up my alley!!


    PS Thanks for the well wishes too

  9. #9 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    What a useful recipe, especially given that most preparation is done the night before. Tortellini is yum, once cooked I usually stir a home-made tomato sauce through it.

  10. #10 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    What a useful recipe, especially given that most preparation is done the night before. Tortellini is yum, once cooked I usually stir a home-made tomato sauce through it.

  11. #11 - Splendid Little Stars says:

    This looks absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing it!

  12. #12 - Get Real Girl says:

    Thanks for sharing. Yum!

  13. #13 - the undomesticated wife says:

    You have got to be kidding…this sounds SOOO good!!!! I'm definitely going to make this one night this week! Thanks so much!

  14. #14 - everyday inspirations says:

    Oh my goodness – I'm making this tomorrow! I may add artichoke hearts (as I do with almost everything Italian/Greek). I'll plan on making this next time I visit my parents – my dad (who is Sicilian) is going to LOVE you! Thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to enjoy it – you know, I have to make a test run for myself before I offer it to anyone else πŸ˜‰

  15. #15 - Anonymous says:

    Thank you – perfect timing – my husbands' big birthday bash is Saturday and I wanted a variety of salad choices as part of the mix for 100 people. This looks perfect!
    –Vicki K.

  16. #16 - NicNacManiac says:

    Oh my gosh, so colorful and fresh looking!! I am going to give it a go this weekend!!
    Thanks for sharing, have a fantastic rest of the week!!
    Hugs, Nerina πŸ™‚

  17. #17 - Lindsey says:

    Cathe: That looks so yummy! I am bookmarking for future use. Thanks so much for sharing!

    { Lindsey }

  18. #18 - Jann says:

    I can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  19. #19 - Anonymous says:

    What time should I come over for some leftovers πŸ™‚


  20. #20 - Jenn Klee says:

    I "absolutely" love tortellini, I'll be giving this recipe a try πŸ™‚

  21. #21 - Suzy says:

    This sounds delish…I have green beans in the garden soon, along with cherry tomatoes…I'll add some fresh basil to that!
    Thanks for Sharing,

  22. #22 - Pattie Cordova says:

    yum! and totally vegetarian too… love it.

  23. #23 - Pfeiffer Photos says:

    Great recipe and photo, Cathe. So yummy…going to get myself over to the veggie stand this week and try this one. πŸ˜‰

  24. #24 - Rose Charles says:

    oooh, looks yummy!

    Rose XXX

  25. #25 - My name is PJ. says:

    I just sent that link to my husband, the chef. That has summer written all over it! Yum!

  26. #26 - Rae says:

    I ran out the very afternoon that I read your blog and got all the fixin's I needed. Had the tortellini salad with grilled ribeye the next night and we loved it! I used rice vinegar, which I discovered is a bit milder and sweeter than regular- and I used a little extra dressing. Thanks so much! This will be a summer favorite!

  27. #27 - stickie-vickie says:

    sound great. I don’t ‘cook’

  28. #28 - Amanda says:

    Wow, this looks SO good! I found your post via Pinterest.
    I’m making this recipe for my kids lunches this week!!

  29. #29 - Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh – I feel the same way! I am ready to run out to the store right now! This looks so good!!!