This quick-and-easy tortellini pasta salad has zucchini, heirloom cherry tomatoes, a lemony olive oil dressing, and shaved parmesan cheese. It is perfect for light lunch or a tasty side at your next summer gathering.
This recipe has few fresh ingredients and can be ready in 30 minutes.
Why this recipe sings
When the weather is warm and all I want is to spend time outside enjoying the sun I love making a generous amount of this quick and easy tortellini pasta salad. It has a few ingredients that I always have in my fridge and pantry. The lemony dressing adds a fresh and bright note to the veggies and goes very well with the shaved parmesan. The fresh basil seals the deal by adding a summer aroma to this dish. Sprinkle some fresh ground pepper and you are set.
Here is what you need
- Onion and garlic.
- Green zucchini. You can substitute with yellow squash zucchini if you like.
- Cherry tomatoes. I love heirloom cherry tomatoes in different colors.
- Lemons. For their juice and zest.
- Fresh tortellini pasta with ricotta or other cheese filling. You can use your favorite tortellini. Ziti, penne or farfalle would work for this pasta salad as well.
- Brown sugar. A little sprinkled over the tomatoes while cooking takes away all the acidity of the cherry tomatoes and brings out their flavor.
- Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Step by step
Fill a large pot with water, cover, and place it over high heat.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and cube the zucchini.
When pasta is ready, drain well—transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add the cooked tomatoes, zucchini, and all the liquids from the pan into the bowl.
Add in the lemon zest of two lemons. Juice one lemon and stir salad gently as not to break up the pasta but firm enough to mix all the ingredients and liquids. Taste and add more lemon juice if you prefer. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of lemon zest and shaved parmesan. Add a couple of basil leaves. Grind some fresh ground pepper or chili flakes to give it more kick if you like.
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Quick-And-Easy Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Large saucepan
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups green zucchini cut in ½ inch cubes
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 20 oz fresh tortellini pasta with ricotta or cheese filling
- 2 lemons juiced and zested
- sea salt
- parmesan cheese
- fresh basil leaves
- more zest if you have it optional
- freshly ground pepper
- Fill a large pot with water, cover and place over high heat.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and cube the zucchini.
- Heat 3 tbs olive oil in a large sauté pan. In medium heat, add the onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Stir well and sauté for 1 min. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 more minute.
- Add the zucchini cubes. Stir well. Sauté for 5 min.
- Your water should be boiling by now. Add a generous tbsp of salt to the water. Stir well. Add the fresh tortellini pasta and cook according to instructions.
- Back to the pan. Add the cherry tomatoes on top. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar just over the tomatoes. Stir well. Keep sautéing in medium heat for 5 min. Lower the heat and let vegetables cook until pasta is ready.
- When pasta is ready, drain well—transfer pasta to a large bowl.Add the cooked tomatoes, zucchini, and all the liquids from the pan into the bowl.
- Add in the lemon zest of two lemons. Juice one lemon and stir salad gently as not to break up the pasta but firm enough to mix all the ingredients. Taste and add more lemon juice if you prefer. Adjust salt and add freshly ground pepper.
- Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of lemon zest and shaved parmesan. Add a couple of basil leaves. Grind some fresh ground pepper or chili flakes to give it more kick if you like.