Creamy Pesto Tortellini – Tastes Better from Scratch


 Whether you serve it for dinner or as a side dish at a BBQ, this Pesto Tortellini will be the star of the show! It’s made with tender cheese tortellini tossed in creamy caesar pesto sauce, with tomatoes, olives, green onion, sunflower seeds and fresh basil.

Pesto Tortellini served in a large wood serving bowl.

I love pasta salads that are easy to make, filling and full of fun flavors, and this Pesto Tortellini is all those things. It’s delicious, and everyone always loves it! It tops the list of my favorite pasta salad recipes, along with this Spinach Avocado Pasta Salad and Teriyaki Bowtie Pasta Salad.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Pesto: Homemade, or good quality store-bought basil pesto. (Tip: Use your leftover pesto to make one of these recipes!)
  • Caesar Dressing: make your own, or use store-bought. I like this one.
  • Tortellini: I recommend good quality refrigerated tortellini. You could use any flavor, or substitute regular noodles.
  • Tomatoes: I love the look of halved cherry tomatoes in pasta salad, but you could chop a roma tomato, or leave them out.
  • Olives: pitted, sliced black olives.
  • Onion: I recommend green onion but sweet onion or diced red onion would work.
  • Sunflower Seeds: or pine nuts.
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese: freshly grated, rather than pre-shredded, is best.
  • Fresh basil: this really makes the dish shine–don’t leave it out!

How to Make Pesto Tortellini:

  • Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
A pot of water cooking tortellini pasta.
  • Add dressing: Place tortellini in a large bowl and toss with caesar dressing to coat.
Cooked cheese tortellini in a bowl with caesar dressing being poured over them.
  • Add tomatoes, olives, green onion, basil pesto, salt and pepper and garlic powder and toss to combine. Add sunflower seeds and 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
Cooked tortellini, pesto sauce, olives, tomatoes and green onion added to a bowl.
  • Serve warm or cold. Store in the fridge. If it seems to dry after sitting in the fridge (the pasta can absorb a lot of moisture) you can add another spoonful of caesar dressing and/or pesto. Garnish with remaining parmesan and fresh chopped basil just before serving.
Pesto Tortellini tossed in a bowl.

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Pesto Tortellini served in a large wood serving bowl.

Creamy Pesto Tortellini

Whether you serve it for dinner or as a side dish at a BBQ, this Pesto Tortellini will be the star of the show!

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 462kcal

Cost: 7

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Instructions

  • Cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  • Add tortellini to a large bowl. Add caesar dressing to the pasta and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, olives, green onion, basil pesto, salt and pepper and garlic powder and toss to combine. Add sunflower seeds and 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese and toss to combine.

  • Serve warm or cold. Store in the fridge. If it seems to dry after sitting in the fridge (the pasta can absorb a lot of moisture) you can add another spoonful of caesar dressing and/or pesto. Garnish with the remaining parmesan and fresh chopped basil before serving.

Notes

Pesto: Homemade, or good quality store-bought basil pesto. (Tip: Use your leftover pesto to make one of these recipes!) Caesar Dressing: make your own, or use store-bought. I like this one. Tortellini: I recommend good quality refrigerated tortellini. You could use any flavor, or substitute regular noodles. Add Chicken to make it a heartier meal. Rotisserie chicken would work great, or leftover cooked, grilled chicken. Extra Veggies: Add sautéed zucchini or yellow squash, chopped bell peppers, spinach.

Nutrition

Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1079mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Vitamin C: 7.2mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 2.8mg

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe March 2017. Updated May 2021 with process photos and more detailed instructions.

Recipe inspired from here. Process photos by Nikole of The Travel Palate.

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