Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad is loaded with fresh roasted vegetables and coated in a deliciously intense basil pesto. It's a crowd-pleasing side for potlucks and picnics, and can be made ahead!
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A combination of red and purple bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, and red onion complement each other perfectly along with the pasta.
Roasting the veggies to the point of al dente rather than fully cooked to maintain a softened yet crisp bite plays so well in this dish. Use your judgment if cooking them longer.
The last thing you want is mushy veggies smearing around those plump tortellini.
While the veggies roast, make the pesto. It's a cinch to whiz things up in a food processor or high-powered blender. If timing works out, coat the warm tortellini with a half cup or so of the pesto so the pasta absorbs all that flavor.
Once you have the main components, it's just a matter of getting the whole gang happy in a large bowl. As I mentioned above, you can put this together a day ahead, which makes life even easier.
Savor these remaining days of summer before school and sports routines set in, even if your kids are driving you up a wall. My two are going to be shell shocked when those alarms sound off at 6am. Honestly, I will be too. Enjoy what's left, friends! 🙂
More Delicious Sides to Try
Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto
- 20 ounces cheese tortellini
- 2 bell peppers , cut into thin strips
- ½ large red onion , thinly sliced
- 1 lb asparagus , trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini , cut into quarter-moon slices
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 ½ cups packed basil leaves , plus extra for garnish
- ½ cup packed fresh parsley , plus extra for garnish
- ¼ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup pine nuts , optional
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup freshly grated manchego or parmesan cheese
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes , halved
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce , optional
- Cook tortellini in boiling salted water as directed on the package. Drain and place in a large bowl to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange peppers, red onion, asparagus, and zucchini on a large parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast 10-12 minutes until vegetables are al dente and not too soft. Set baking sheet aside to cool.
- While vegetables roast, make the pesto. Combine the basil, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic, cheese, lemon zest and juice in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to mix.
- With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 ¼ cups.
- Add the partially roasted vegetables and cherry tomatoes to the large bowl with the tortellini.
- Pour about ¾ cup of the pesto over the mixture and gently toss to coat. You can add more pesto to your liking and serve the remaining on the side.
- Add hot pepper sauce if desired, season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with extra basil and parsley. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.) Enjoy!
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