Tortellini Pasta Salad (with Tomatoes, Basil, & Fresh Corn)

Tortellini Pasta Salad is a delicious summer side dish or light supper, studded with bright, juicy tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, ribbons of basil, and an amazing homemade, Parmesan-flecked vinaigrette!

Tortellini Pasta Salad in pewter bowl.


 

Summer is in full swing, and that means summer produce is at its prime. And what better way to celebrate than with this gorgeous, delectable, Tortellini Pasta Salad that showcases the very best flavors and colors of summer?!

This amazing recipe starts with tender cheese tortellini. Then you simply toss in some of the quintessential flavors of summer: plump, juicy tomatoes, fresh, sweet corn sliced right off the cob, ribbons of bright green basil, a quick, homemade vinaigrette, and plenty of salty Parmesan cheese.

Tortellini Pasta Salad aerial view in glass bowl.

Ingredients

You won't believe that such delicious results can be attained from such simple ingredients and such a straightforward preparation. But I'm telling you...the secret here is using fresh, seasonal ingredients! I already mentioned the primary ingredients above, but here are a few more details about what you'll need to make this Tortellini Pasta Salad.

Labeled ingredients to make Tortellini Pasta Salad recipe.
  • Cheese tortellini. Boiled in salted water and then cooled. I typically start with frozen tortellini, since I always have some in the freezer, but you can definitely use fresh tortellini, if you prefer.
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes. Halved or quartered, depending on their size. You're going for bite-sized pieces in your tortellini salad. As seen in these photos, I sometimes use red and yellow tomatoes for even more color and visual interest!
  • Fresh corn kernels. Cooked and sliced right off the cob. Scroll down to the next heading for info on the easiest, tastiest, BEST way ever to cook fresh corn! And even though I highly recommend using fresh corn in this recipe, you may substitute frozen/thawed corn if you can't find fresh (or are trying to save time).
  • Fresh basil. Sliced into a chiffonade. Again, specific instructions and photos on how to do that can be found below. 😉
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese. Grated. You'll need some to toss into the pasta salad and some to incorporate into the homemade vinaigrette.
  • EVOO, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic salt, and freshly ground black pepper. For the flavorful and delicious homemade vinaigrette!
Close-up of Tortellini Pasta Salad ingredients combined with vinaigrette.

Fresh Corn for the Win

I know I said it above, but fresh corn on the cob takes this Tortellini Pasta Salad from great to stupendous! I realize that it can be a pain to cook fresh corn when you have to deal with peeling away all of the sticky, stringy silk. But never fear...I've figured out the secret for cooking fresh corn that is the EASIEST method EVER! It eliminates the frustration and the mess! Ever since I discovered it, I've never cooked corn on the cob any other way.

In fact, it's so easy that l no longer hesitate to use fresh corn in recipes like this one simply because I'm afraid of the extra hassle. There is no hassle in this method, and the corn turns out so perfectly tender, sweet, and freshly crispy that frozen corn just won't compare in a salad like this.

Okay, shameless plug over. 😉 Go check out the BEST way to cook fresh corn << HERE!

Aerial view of Tortellini Pasta Salad in serving bowl and individual bowl.

How to Chiffonade Basil

The Tortellini Pasta Salad recipe below instructs you to chiffonade the basil. Would you think I'm weird if I told you that I love chiffonading? I like to say it (chiffonade, chiffonade, CHIFFONADE!) and I like to do it. There's something just so satisfying about feeling that knife glide through the roll of basil to create all of those cute, tasty ribbons.

Okay...I am weird. I embrace it. But if you are new to chiffonading, here is a pathetic but hopefully passable photo tutorial.

  1. Stack some basil leaves.
  2. Roll tightly like a cigar.
Basil leaves stacked in pile.
Basil leaves rolled into a cigar to chiffonade.
  1. Hold firmly while you slice thinly with a sharp knife...and be sure to keep your fingers out of the way!
Ribbons of basil for pasta salad with tortellini.
Basil chiffonade for cheese tortellini pasta salad.

See? Easy-peasy.

Also, note that because my knife wasn't super sharp, my basil looks a bit bruised along the edges. A very sharp knife will yield a more aesthetically-pleasing chiffonade! Just promise me you'll be careful. 🙂

How to Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

Now that we've covered how to chiffonade basil, let's make this Tortellini Pasta Salad, shall we?

  1. Boil your cheese tortellini in well-salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and allow to cool.
Boiling cheese tortellini in pot for tortellini pasta salad recipe.
  1. In a large salad bowl, add cooled tortellini, sliced tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, fresh basil chiffonade, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.
Pasta salad with tortellini and other ingredients in bowl.
  1. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Seal and shake vigorously.
Vinaigrette ingredients in jar.
Parmesan basil vinaigrette shaken in jar for tortellini salad.
  1. Pour the vinaigrette over the tortellini salad and gently mix all ingredients until well combined.
Cheese tortellini pasta salad in glass bowl.
  1. Chill for several hours before serving. Enjoy!
Tortellini pasta salad recipe in serving bowl and white bowl.

Tips, Tricks, and Special Equipment

  • As a little tip, extra-virgin olive oil can solidify when chilled (some particular brands more so than others). So you'll want to allow time for your Tortellini Pasta Salad come to room temperature and then stir well before serving.
  • Alternatively, you can opt to use a different neutral-flavored oil (that doesn't solidify when cold) in place of the EVOO, such as canola or avocado oil.
  • As one final tip, any time I make a pasta salad recipe that requires chilling, I don't stir all of the vinaigrette into the pasta salad right when I make it. Rather, I initially stir in just enough dressing to coat the ingredients...maybe ¾ of the total amount. The reason for this is because pasta salads tend to absorb the dressing as they chill in the fridge. So when I pull my Tortellini Pasta Salad out of the fridge in preparation for serving, that's when I stir in the remaining reserved vinaigrette. This strategy prevents a dry tortellini salad.
Tortellini Pasta Salad in serving spoon.

Seriously, y'all...how gorgeous is this Tortellini Pasta Salad?

It's one of our all-time summertime favorites, and I hope it becomes one of yours, too.

Close-up of Tortellini Pasta Salad with tomatoes, corn, and basil.

More Summer Salads

Tortellini Pasta Salad in pewter bowl with corn, basil, and tomatoes.

Tortellini Pasta Salad (with Tomatoes, Basil, & Fresh Corn)

Tortellini Pasta Salad is a delicious summer side dish or light supper, studded with bright, juicy tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, ribbons of basil, and an amazing homemade, Parmesan-flecked vinaigrette!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
CHILLING TIME: at least: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Calories: 402kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 (22 to 24-ounce) package frozen OR fresh cheese tortellini
  • 16 ounces (about 3 cups) sliced cherry OR grape tomatoes , halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 2 ½ cups fresh corn kernels, cooked and sliced from the cob (approximately 14 ounces of corn, which comes from about 4 cobs)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced in a chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil OR another neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Boil cheese tortellini in salted water according to package directions. Drain and cool. In a large salad bowl, add tortellini, sliced tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, fresh basil chiffonade, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and pepper.
  • Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close the jar and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pour over tortellini salad and gently mix all ingredients until well combined. Chill for several hours before serving.

Video

Notes

  • This method for cooking fresh corn yields perfect texture and flavor without having to fight any sticky, stringy, messy silk.
  • Cooked fresh corn is highly recommended for this Tortellini Pasta Salad, but frozen (thawed) corn may be substituted.
  • To chiffonade basil: (1) Stack some basil leaves. (2) Roll tightly like a cigar. (3) Hold firmly while very carefully slicing into thin ribbons with a sharp knife.
  • You can further mince some of your basil chiffonade into smaller pieces to go in the vinaigrette.
  • Instead of shaking the vinaigrette in a jar, you may opt to whisk it in a bowl or whiz it together in a mini food processor.
  • Since olive oil and many other oils solidify when chilled, be sure to allow time for your Tortellini Pasta Salad to come to room temperature and then stir well before serving.
  • Alternatively, you can opt to use a different neutral-flavored oil (that doesn't solidify when cold) in place of the EVOO, such as canola or avocado oil.
  • When I make pasta salads that require chilling, I typically don't stir in all of the dressing at the beginning. I initially only stir in enough dressing to coat the ingredients, which is maybe ¾ of the total vinaigrette. Then when I'm ready to serve my pasta salad, I let it come to room temperature and stir in the remainder of the vinaigrette (or as much as I deem necessary) just before serving. This prevents a dry pasta salad, since cooked pasta will absorb a lot of the dressing during the chilling time.

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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5 from 10 votes (1 rating without comment)

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30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just had to tell you that this is my all-time favorite recipe for warm weather yumminess. My family has developed an emotion attachment to it, so we ALL thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you, was looking for quick outdoor friendly meal with ingredients I had on hand, and this fit the bill perfectly. It was delicious and I will definitely make again.

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this salad a lot and I love it. I didn't like the corn so I substitute fresh broccoli. Otherwise this is very good.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made this a few times now and love the pop of the fresh corn. Bright, summery flavors that lighten up the cheese tortellini, which could definitely be too heavy in other contexts. Nice job!

  4. Hi there! This looks amazing but I was wondering if it would hold up to bring made a day ahead. We have friends coming in this weekend and I wanted to make this Friday but serve it on Saturday evening for dinner. I've made tortellini pasta salad before (diff recipe) and I feel like it ended up getting kind of "mushy" the next day. Have you found this recipe to be best served same day?

    1. Hi Kristin! I apologize for my delayed reply...I've been out of the country. I hope this pasta salad was enjoyed by all if you ended up making it when your friends visited! I typically do make it ahead of time and don't find that it gets mushy, as long as I'm careful not to overcook the tortellini to begin with. The main thing I notice when making pasta salads ahead of time is that a lot of the dressing gets absorbed, so I always reserve a bit to stir in just before serving. Hope that helps and sorry again for the late response to your question. Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. 5 stars
    I was immediately drawn to this pasta salad because of your amazing photos. They were quite enticing. I was hesitant to try this recipe though because I have tried other pasta salad recipes from others online and they never turn out that great. I just tried your recipe for our July 4th party, and it is DELICIOUS!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. I'm very happy to hear that this recipe was a hit at your 4th of July party, Jennifer! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know. I love pasta salad and have several yummy ones on the site...if you have a chance to try any of the others, I hope you enjoy them just as much! 🙂

  6. This looks great. I get one similar to this at a deli by me, but with fresh mozzarella. I am going to try this version too.

    1. Ooooo, Erica...fresh mozzarella would be a wonderful addition to this tortellini salad! Avocado would be good, too. Oh, the possibilities... 😉 Hope you enjoy this recipe...thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  7. This looks so delish Samantha! It doesn't help that I'm blog hopping while hungry! This is one of those times I wish I could reach through the screen and try some. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. You are too sweet, Carrie...thank you! I do the same thing...I find myself drooling over food photos on Pinterest late at night when I should be going to bed as opposed to making a midnight snack! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by...happy Friday!

  8. Gorgeous salad! The pictures make me want to make it tonight - which I think I will!! I live in Italy and have access to the best tortellini, however, in the summer I find it in brodo or with sauce is too heavy. This looks like the perfect summer tortellini recipe

    1. Okay, Madaline...I am slightly jealous that you get to make this with fresh, authentic, Italian tortellini! Your pasta salad is going to taste better than anyone's! 😉 Hope you enjoy this recipe...thanks for taking the time to comment!

    1. Thanks, Jill! It's definitely easy to throw together. I have a strong feeling I'll be making it all summer long! 😉

  9. Yummmmm!!! Looks so delicious, Samantha! Pinned! And your pictures are amazing, as always! Thanks so much for sharing! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    ~Abby =)

    1. You are too sweet, Abby...thank you! Hope you had a fabulous weekend as well and that you have a great week ahead. Hard to believe we're already closing out May...yikes!

  10. Hi Samantha,
    Gorgeous salad and great photos. I'm loving all the great salads coming from so many talented bloggers - thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Thanks, Robyn! I love seeing all of the fresh salad recipes these days as well. It's hard to know which one to try first! 😉 Hope you're having a great weekend!

    1. Thanks so much, Julie...I appreciate the pin! Hope y'all are having a great weekend!