This Easy Tortellini Pasta Salad is filled with pillowy cheese tortellini, juicy grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, kalamata olives, and feta cheese, all tossed in a tangy homemade Italian dressing. A delicious cold summer salad perfect for picnics, potlucks, and BBQs.
Greek Pasta Salad with Tortellini
Salads make up some of my favorite recipes. But salads filled with delicious cheese-filled pasta, colorful veggies, and tangy dressings are some of my favorites to serve during the warm spring, summer, fall, and (sometimes here in California) winter months.
Super easy to prepare, this versatile and delicious tortellini pasta salad can be prepared ahead of time and is delicious leftover. Fantastic with or without chicken, this Greek-inspired pasta salad is my go-to recipe for potlucks, BBQs, and weekly meal prep.
- Cheese tortellini
- Red onion
- English cucumber
- Bell pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Kalamata olives
- Feta Cheese
Optional additions: Pepperoncini, marinated artichoke hearts, heart of palm, sliced salami, avocado.
How to Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
1. Marinate and cook the chicken: You may grill or bake the chicken in the oven, or if you’re short on time, use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. Skip this step if you prefer your salad without chicken.
2. Prepare the homemade dressing (or use store-bought): Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until combined.
3. Assemble the salad: Cook the tortellini according to package directions, then rinse under cold water. Toss the cooled tortellini with half of the prepared Italian dressing. Meanwhile, toss together the remaining ingredients (onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, and feta cheese) and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Mix well, then add the tortellini (and chicken_ to the same bowl as the veggies and gently mix to combine.
To make ahead of time and refresh leftovers:
- Wait to add the feta until just before serving.
- Prepare additional dressing as the ingredients will likely absorb some of the dressing overnight.
- Sprinkle with fresh minced herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, etc).
- Drizzle with fresh lemon juice just before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Chop your vegetables so that they are small and approximately equal in size. This makes for the easiest eating and therefore the most enjoyment.
- It’s best served cold: You guys, this is not meant to be a hot or even warm salad. This is a cold(ish) salad and it will taste best when served that way.
- Do not overcook the tortellini: It’s important for the tortellini to be cooked just until al dente otherwise, it will fall apart and turn mushy when tossed with the dressing.
- Modify as needed: Don’t be afraid to mix things up or add your favorites. Some recommendations include-
- Sundried tomatoes
- Different types of cheese (those cute little mozzarella balls are highly recommended)
- Let things marinate: At least 10 minutes or so.
Have you tried making this Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes. I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Tortellini Pasta Salad
For the Chicken
For the Homemade Dressing
For the Tortellini Salad
- 10 oz cheese tortellini - cooked to al dente
- ½ red onion - diced
- 1 English cucumber - peeled, quartered, diced
- 1 green bell pepper - seeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and diced
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes - halved
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives - roughly chopped
- 4 ounces feta cheese - crumbled
- salt and pepper - to taste
- fresh oregano - to garnish
For the Chicken
- Prepare the marinade. Add all ingredients for the marinade (olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, fresh parsley, salt, and black pepper) to a large shallow mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and mix well to coat in the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to two hours.
- Prepare the grill. Clean grill grates and lightly oil with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Set grill to medium-high heat.
- Grill the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it directly on the grill. Discard the remaining marinade. Cover the grill and allow the chicken to cook for approximately 5 minutes before reducing heat to medium. Allow the chicken to cook for an additional 2 minutes, then use tongs to flip each breast over. Grill for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the thickest part of your chicken registers 160 degrees F. with a digital meat thermometer.
- Allow chicken to rest. Remove chicken breasts from the grill and set aside to a clean plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before chopping. Set aside.
For the Dressing
- Add all ingredients for the dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, and pepper) to a jar and seal with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously to combine and season with additional salt, pepper, or red wine vinegar to taste. Set aside.
For the Salad
- Prepare the Pasta and toss with prepared dressing – Prepare the tortellini according to package instructions and cook just until al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and toss with half of the prepared Italian dressing.
- Combine – In a separate, larger bowl, toss together the remaining ingredients (onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, and feta cheese). Drizzle with remaining dressing and mix well. Add the tortellini to the same bowl as the veggies and gently mix to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve- Serve or store leftovers in glass containers for easy week-long meal prep.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Transfer the marinated chicken to your prepared baking sheet. Cook for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160-165 degrees F with a digital thermometer. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breast.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before chopping.
- Feel free to use your own favorite chicken marinade or try this reader’s favorite Greek chicken marinade.
- Save time and use leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken.
- Not a fan of kalamata olives? Black olives are a great substitute.
- You will find tortellini refrigerated, frozen, or even dried. I prefer to use fresh, refrigerated cheese tortellini, but all of the above will work fine.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)