Pesto Tortellini Salad is a quick and easy pasta salad recipe with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, and pine nuts. It’s full of fresh flavors from pesto, and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes. Serve it as a main dish or a side dish – you can also double the recipe for parties and potlucks.
One of my favorite easy ingredients is frozen tortellini. It cooks fast, and you can use it to make so many different dishes. One of my favorites is this cold tortellini pesto salad, which is a combination of delicious flavors and textures.
Easy Tortellini Salad
It’s so simple to make with some store-bought shortcuts like pesto and cooked chicken. It’s a great way to use a rotisserie chicken or leftover baked chicken.
Sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese add a nice color, flavors, and textures. But you can easily customize the add-ins to suit your tastes. It’s a really versatile recipe.
- Frozen cheese tortellini
- Cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces – rotisserie chicken works great!
- Store-bought pesto
- Jarred julienned sun-dried tomatoes
- Pine nuts
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
Two Easy Steps to Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
Step 1: Boil and drain the tortellini and then toss it in the pesto in a large bowl while it’s still warm.
Step 2: Add the sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, chicken, and pine nuts. Toss it all together until well combined.
I prefer this cheese tortellini salad cold, but you can serve it warm or at room temperature.
For the chicken, you can cook chicken breasts in a skillet before you make the salad. Or, use diced rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled or baked chicken. It works better with chicken that is lightly seasoned.
You can easily adjust the flavors to suit your tastes. Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes have intense flavors, so you can decrease the amount or increase it depending on what you like best.
Sometimes we make it without the chicken to make it lighter.
Serve it as a light main dish or as a side dish. You can also double the recipe if you’re making it for a party or potluck dinner.
You can easily swap ingredients to change the flavors in this dish:
- Tortellini: I love cheese tortellini, but you can swap for other types with different fillings.
- Cheese: Try using shredded Romano or Asiago cheese in place of the Parmesan.
- Meat: You can omit the chicken or swap it for cooked shrimp for a lighter dish.
- Nuts: Pine nuts are classic in a pesto, but they can be a little pricey sometimes. Try using almonds or walnuts for a different flavor.
If you like tortellini salad recipes, this pesto version is a great one to try. It’s easy to assemble and holds well in the refrigerator for a few days. If it gets a little dry, add some more pesto to liven it up. Make it for lunch, dinner, or for parties for potlucks. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser and always gets rave reviews when we make it. Enjoy!
Other Dinners You'll Enjoy
Pesto Tortellini Salad with Chicken Recipe
- 1 19 ounce bag of frozen cheese tortellini
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
- ½ cup store bought pesto
- 1 8 ounce jar of Julienned sun dried tomatoes
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Cook tortellini in accordance to the package directions. Drain when done cooking. Toss with pesto thoroughly. Set to the side and let it cool
- Add chicken, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Toss and serve cold
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Pesto and Sun Dried tomatoes are strong flavors. Adjust up or down based on your taste.
- Lighten the salad by removing the chicken. It still tastes great.
- This is hearty enough to be a main dish but can be used as a side dish or a shareable at parties.
Pesto Tortellini Salad is a quick and easy pasta salad recipe with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, and pine nuts. It’s full of fresh flavors from pesto, and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.