Tortellini Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Burst Tomatoes - this easy vegetarian pasta salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. It's quick to make, packed with protein, and super healthy. Perfect for family gatherings and picnics alike.
Who loves an easy and simple meal that you can throw together in under 30 minutes? Who loves not turning the oven on on a hot day? Who loves both of those things? Me, that's who!
This Tortellini Pasta Salad is one of my favourite things to throw together in the warmer months. It's a perfect side dish, or, thanks to the robustness of cheese tortellini and white beans, makes for a great vegetarian main as well.
The best thing about this dish is that it's great served warm, cold, or even at room temperature. Perfect for outdoor dining, picnics, potlucks, or even packed lunches.
Let's get at it!
Tortellini Pasta Salad Ingredients
Here's what you'll need to make this easy and delicious pasta salad.
- Tortellini --> Cheesy tortellini is my favourite here.
- Tomatoes --> Cherry tomatoes or baby plum tomatoes work great.
- Green beans --> It's a bean fiesta in here.
- Cannellini beans --> Canned is totes fine.
- Pine nuts --> Cause we're fancy.
- Pecorino cheese --> We're going to crumble that over the top.
- Basil --> So it tastes like summer.
- Garlic --> So it tastes amazing.
How Make Tortellini Pasta Salad
You'll find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but let's go through it here step by step.
Step 1: First things first you're going to heat up a pan screaming hot, add a bit of oil, and then add the tomatoes. This causes them to burst and throw their juices around the pan in general tomato hysteria, which is exactly what we want to happen.
Step 2: Then the green beans go into the pan and calm the situation down. Isn’t that what green beans are typically known for? Crowd control and hysteria dispersion?
Step 3: I like to add the garlic in just after the beans, because I’ve eaten enough burnt garlic in my lifetime to know that it can benefit from the pan-cooling hysteria-controlling effect of the green beans.
Step 4: Next add the cannellini beans into the pan of veg so they can soak up some of that delicious tomato-garlic broth situation we’ve got going on.
Tip! Fresh tortellini takes literally three minutes to cook, so you can throw it into a large pot of salted water at a rolling boil, and cook according to package instructions.
Step 5: Don't bother to drain the pasta or rinse it with cold water, just transfer the tortellini straight from the water into the pan, all wet and slippery, as it’ll add a bit of moisture and starchy cooking water into the whole situation, which is a good thing on both counts.
Step 6: All that’s left to do is toss everything together and platter up this Tortellini Pasta Salad and get fancy with some toppings. Alternatively you can use a large bowl. I’ve used a generous amount of crumbled pecorino cheese, toasted pine nuts, and freshly torn basil leaves.
Now we get to dig in! This dish is great served warm, but it’s also perfectly good at room temperature or even cold.
- I've used cheese tortellini in these photos, but feel free to use your favourite tortellini or whatever you've got on hand. I prefer refrigerated tortellini since it cooks so quickly, but dried is totally fine as well.
- Feel free to switch things up and use a batch of these Semi-dried Tomatoes in place of fresh cherry tomatoes.
- If you don't have cannellini beans on hand, kidney beans work great as well (here's how to cook kidney beans from scratch).
- When it's in season, fresh asparagus is delicious in place of the green beans. Diced bell peppers are also delightful, as are your favourite veggies.
- Feel free to replace the Pecorino with your favourite salty cheese, such as Parmesan cheese, or even torn fresh mozzarella.
- Black olives, capers, and cucumber are great for mediterranean flavors.
Tips for the Best Tortellini Salad
Prepare your ingredients
Slice your tomatoes, trim and slice your green beans, and slice your garlic before you start cooking, because once you start everything happens pretty fast.
Use a hot pan
You’ll want to get your pan nice and hot before adding the tomatoes – the oil shouldn’t be smoking, but it should have a bit of a shimmer to it. I like to start the tomatoes cut side up so the skins get a bit of a blister to them.
Need to make more or less Tortellini Pasta Salad? Simply adjust the number of servings in the recipe card below and it’ll adjust the recipe for you.
You totally can. Either use a vegan tortellini, or sub in another pasta shape of your choice. Orecchiette would work really nicely here.
You bet. Just use gluten-free tortellini, or, if you can’t find it, I recommend gluten-free gnocchi in its place.
You can and you should. It’ll last 3-4 days in the fridge, and is great cold or at room temperature. Perfect for packed lunches!
Tortellini Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Burst Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 10 oz green beans trimmed and chopped in half
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 14 oz cannellini beans or other small white bean
- 1 lb fresh spinach and ricotta tortellini pasta
- ¼ cup pine nuts lightly toasted
- 2 oz crumbled pecornio cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves torn
- Put a large pot of water over high heat, and bring to a boil.
- Place a large skillet over medium hight heat. Add the olive oil and heat until oil is shimmering, but not smoking.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Add the sliced cherry tomatoes to the hot pan, sliced side up. Let them sizzle for a few minutes without stirring, and then give them a stir so the other side gets some heat as well.10 oz cherry tomatoes
- Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes more, until you're seeing deeply coloured spots on them and they are releasing their juices into the pan.
- Add the green beans and stir to combine. Allow them to cook with the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes without stirring.10 oz green beans
- Add the sliced garlic, and stir well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so that the garlic does not burn.2 cloves garlic
- Add the tortellini to the boiling water, and cook for 3 minutes (check your package for recommended instructions, but it should be fast).
- Add the cannellini beans into the pan and stir.14 oz cannellini beans
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortellini directly from the cooking water into the pan with the beans and vegetables. Stir well to combine.1 lb fresh spinach and ricotta tortellini pasta
- Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the Tortellini Pasta Salad to a platter.
- Top with crumbled pecornio cheese, toasted pine nuts, and fresh basil.¼ cup pine nuts, 2 oz crumbled pecornio cheese, ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Slice your tomatoes, trim and slice your green beans, and slice your garlic before you start cooking, because once you start everything happens pretty fast.
- You’ll want to get your pan nice and hot before adding the tomatoes – the oil shouldn’t be smoking, but it should have a bit of a shimmer to it.
- I like to start the tomatoes cut side up so the skins get a bit of a blister to them.
- Can I make this dish vegan? You totally can. Either use a vegan tortellini, or sub in another pasta shape of your choice. Orecchiette would work really nicely here.
- Can I make Tortellini Pasta Salad gluten-free? Just use gluten-free tortellini, or, if you can’t find it, I recommend gluten-free gnocchi in its place.
- Can I make this dish in advance? It’ll last 3-4 days in the fridge, and is great cold or at room temperature. Perfect for packed lunches!
- Need to make more or less Tortellini Pasta Salad? Simply adjust the number of servings in the recipe card below and it’ll adjust the recipe for you.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
Originally published July 24, 2018. Last edited and updated June 10, 2023.