Tortellini Caprese Pasta Salad With Balsamic

Blue's Best Life
by Blue's Best Life
6 servings
17 min

Tortellini caprese salad is a fun twist on the traditional caprese salad recipe. With fresh ingredients this simple recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! Make this for a meal, side dish or for a summer potluck.

A serving bowl of tortellini caprese pasta salad.

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Why This Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad Is The Best!

I love caprese salad! While is is a simple salad it is full of fresh flavors. Caprese can be a main dish or the perfect side dish depending on your mood.

I love this salad because it has a light olive oil and balsamic dressing that doesn't leave the tomatoes soggy. Then it is topped with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze to enhance the salad even more.

This easy salad is perfect to bring to summer cook outs and pool parties. The next party I attend, this will be the perfect dish to bring!

What Is A Caprese Salad?

Traditionally a classic caprese salad is slices of juicy tomatoes, slices of mozzarella cheese, olive oil and fresh basil. This salad became very popular in Italy in the 1950's and is still a recognized dish to this day.

My first experience with a caprese salad was in New York at a small out door café with just the salad and a glass of red wine. Of course I fell in love with the fresh flavors and tangy balsamic glaze that was drizzled over top.

Now I have recreated my own caprese salad, skillet caprese chicken, and homemade balsamic glaze. I guess it's easy to say I love this dish!

Key Ingredients

cheese tortellini pasta- is found with the fresh pasta in the refrigerator area of your local grocery store. Buy your favorite tortellini for the salad.

mozzarella cheese- no Caprese salad is complete without creamy mozzarella. Forget about the shredded bagged cheese and get real fresh mozzarella balls. They are usually sold in your local grocery store with the specialty cheeses. I like the mozzarella pearls that are a small bite-sized cheese ball perfect for this salad.

tomatoes- fresh tomatoes are another key ingredient to this salad. I like cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes equally and usually go by what looks the ripest.

extra virgin olive oil- a good quality olive oil is a key ingredient to a caprese salad.

Step-By-Step Instructions

In a large pot of salted water cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Tortellini cooks very fast so it is important to not overcook the pasta so that it holds up well in the salad. The Italian term "al dente" means firm when bitten which is the perfect pasta texture.

Once tortellini is cooked drain the water and drizzle a teaspoon of oil over the pasta to keep it from clumping together. Toss gently to give a light coat to all of the cheesy tortellini pasta. Set aside to cool.

While the pasta is cooling, cut the tomatoes in half. Slice the fresh basil leaves using the chiffonade technique, which is when you roll several leaves up and slice into small strips.

The pasta cooking and the tomatoes cut on a cutting board.

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, spices, garlic and shallot in a small bowl. Leave the balsamic glaze for drizzling over the top of the salad.

When the cooked pasta has cooled add the ripe tomatoes, pearl mozzarella balls and basil. Make sure the tortellini has cooled completely so that the cheese doesn't melt. I have speed up the process by placing the pasta in the refrigerator to cool while whisking the balsamic dressing and cutting the tomatoes.

Mixing together the dressing ingredients and putting the salad in a large mixing bowl.
Serving Suggestions

If you are serving the caprese tortellini salad as a side dish you may need a few ideas to pair with the salad. Feta spinach burgers are always a great summertime recipe and wash it down with a refreshing strawberry sangria! If you need a summer dessert, I have you covered with these easy favorites, puff pastry peach cobbler or strawberry banana pudding.

A plate of tortellini salad.
Substitutions and Additions

tomatoes- use any variety you like. Grape and cherry tomatoes work great in this salad.

shallot- I like the milder flavor of shallots but you can add sliced red onion to the salad for a little extra flavor.

Storage Recommendations

Store leftover tortellini pasta in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The tomatoes will begin to get soggy after that so the salad will not be as fresh. You may need to drizzle a little extra olive oil and balsamic on the leftovers because pasta will continue to absorb the dressing while it is stored in the refrigerator.

Looking For Other Salad Recipes? Try These!

Easy Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad

Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad with Balsamic

Healthy Strawberry Walnut Salad Recipe

Did you try this recipe? Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, and a 5- star rating. I would love to hear from you! Here to get new recipes sent straight to your inbox!

Tortellini Caprese Pasta Salad With Balsamic
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 10 minutes Minutes Cook time: 7 minutes Minutes Total time: 17 min
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  • 1 20 ounce package tortellini
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus extra to drizzle on pasta
  • 3 tablspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade style
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on pasta and toss to keep it from sticking together while it cools.
While the pasta is cooking, slice the tomatoes in half and cut the basil chiffonade style.
In a small bowl mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar (not glaze), red pepper flakes, oregano, salt pepper, garlic and shallot together.
Once the tortellini has cooled add to a large mixing bowl with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing.
Toss the ingredients to coat with the dressing. Transfer to a serving bowl or plates and garnish with balsamic glaze.
Serve salad at room temperature or chill for an hour.
  • Store leftover tortellini pasta in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The tomatoes will begin to get soggy after that so the salad will not be as fresh. You may need to drizzle a little extra olive oil and balsamic on the leftovers because pasta will continue to absorb the dressing while it is stored in the refrigerator.
Blue's Best Life
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