Perfect for summer! This easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad is full of asparagus, olives, and fresh summer veggies in zesty Italian dressing. You can make it ahead of time - it's even better the next day!
1poundasparagusCleaned, trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces
1cupzesty Italian dressingmay need more
½cupred onion(purple onion) diced
Cook the tortellini according to package directions.
Cook the asparagus until crisp-tender.
Scoop out with a straining ladle or drain. Plunge into ice water.
Add the tortellini and asparagus to the large bowl.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients except the Parmesan and basil.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to two days.
When you're ready to serve, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and take off the plastic wrap.
Stir the pasta salad to mix up the ingredients again and make sure there isn't a puddle of dressing on the bottom of the bowl.
If the salad seems dry add a little more dressing.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped basil.
Expert Tip: This is safer for summer potlucks than macaroni salad because it doesn't have mayonnaise in it but since it does contain dairy (the cheese filling) cover with plastic wrap and get it into the refrigerator within a couple of hours. If it's left out for more than three hours toss it. It's not worth the potential illness.
I get the big package of tortellini at Costco. It's fresh and I think it tastes better in this salad. Plus, it's very affordable. Whatever kind you use just cook according to package instructions.
I like zesty Italian dressing best for this salad but you can use what you like - even oil and red wine vinegar with a little Italian seasoning stirred in will work - but it's not my favorite.
The tri-colored tortellini is really pretty in this salad if you can find it.
Toss the tortellini with dressing while it's still warm. The pasta will soak up more of the flavor.
If you make this tortellini pasta salad a day or so ahead of time it could soak up the dressing and you might need to add more before serving.
Don't overcook the tortellini. If it's overcooked it will fall apart.