A classic Italian pasta salad, made with cheese-filled tortellini, tons of pepperoni, Parmesan, olives, cherry tomatoes, and more. A very simple balsamic dressing pulls it all together.
We went camping last weekend. I always forget how much I love camping!
Alternate beginning to this post: We went camping last weekend. I always forget how much I hate camping!
It’s true though right?? Who’s with me? I have so many fond memories of camping with my family when I was a kid. I have mad respect for my parents and their willingness to cart all 5 of their children out in the wilderness every summer, sometimes more than once.
I thought mine would always be a “camping family” too. I mean, camping was the best thing EVER as a kid, right?? And then I turned into An Adult. And there was no one to make me hot chocolate and tuck me into my sleeping bag anymore. I had to make my own hot chocolate. And then wash the dang pot in the dark in the freezing cold, so that we didn’t lure all the bears to our camp and get eaten.
Not to mention the 100 years of camping prep. And the hours of cleanup and laundry when you get home. I became a jaded camper after mine and Eric’s first solo camping trip to the Grand Canyon, when Charlotte was about a year old. She was too young to keep her blankets on her and just froze her tush off the whole night, meaning I was up to help her. I vowed to never camp again. Too much work.
But I’ve come around. Just look at those faces! Bring on the happy camper memories. I’ll wash all the hot chocolate pots in exchange for teddy bear children. The trick is to go with another family. So much more fun, and you can share all the work. Just make sure you don’t blast music from your car and let your car battery die at the same time that your friend’s van also has a dead battery. Not that that would happen to us. We’re way smarter than that.
I love blocks of cheese instead of shredded. It makes a huge difference!
Who loves tortellini? Hard not to love cheesy pasta made into ornate shapes, right? They boil up so fast. I always tuck tortellini in my freezer for I-forgot-about-dinner-again dinners.
I threw together this salad last year for a family get together. It was a short notice thing and I didn’t feel like going to the store. Turns out I have a lot of Italian Pasta Salad ingredients on hand all the time. I got lots of requests for the recipe and I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. It’s so good and easy to put together! It would be perfect to bring to a BBQ.
If you make any of my recipes, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it! I love that.
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Tortellini and Pepperoni Pasta Salad
- 1 & 1/2 pounds refrigerated tortellini*
- 5-7 ounces pepperoni slices, chopped
- 8 ounces mozzarella, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 ounces Parmesan, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 can medium black olives
- 1 (6-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/2 cup deli-sliced pepperoncini's
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, white or regular
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Boil the tortellini according to package instructions. (They should only boil 2-3 minutes. I added salt to the boiling water for more flavor, but it's not necessary.) Drain the tortellini and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil so that they don't stick together.
- Chop the pepperoni into quarters and add to the bowl.
- Add the chopped mozzarella, chopped Parmesan, green onions, cherry tomatoes, black olives (halved if you want), artichoke hearts, and pepperoncinis to the bowl.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. Or use could add the ingredients to a bowl and use an immersion blender. Or you could mince the garlic finely and add it to a bowl, add the balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning, then slowly drizzle the olive oil in while whisking (so that it emulsifies.)
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- You can serve this right away, but it's even better if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving. You can make this 24 hours in advance. Toss again before serving.
You will love these other salads and side dishes!
20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet:
More pasta salads from friends!
Pizza Pasta Salad from Valerie’s Kitchen
Caprese Pasta Salad from Wishes and Dishes
Broccoli and Salami Pasta Salad from Barefeet in the Kitchen
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What kind of parmesan do you use to be able to cut it into 1/2 inch pieces? the only kind i’m aware of is way to hard and i don’t think it’d be very good to eat a chunk of it like that anyways in a pasta salad. are you chopping it up like tiny crumbles or am i just being slow (which is probable, but i do want to know… this looks good :)
Hi J! I think this is just a preference thing. I like little chunks of hard parmesan in my salad! I just buy a regular ol wedge of parm and chop it up pretty small. But if that’s not your thing, just shred it, no prob! Enjoy!
Delicious lunch or diner meal. I used bottled sun dried tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes and mixed the sun dried oil with the olive oil. I used grated parmesan and the cubed mozzarella. Served it on a bed of chopped romaine and sprinkled the to with some Italian parsley to make it a one dish meal instead of serving a side green salad.
Love the sun dried tomatoes idea Karen! That’s such a prefect sub. And I love the one meal salad idea, I eat my main dish on greens all the time. It’s so great in the summer! Thanks for chiming in!
I prepared the Tortellini and Pepperoni Salad tonight and my husband and I loved it! I’ll be serving this again. Thanks!
That’s awesome Cindy! So glad you both enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting!
This was fantastic! I.made it exactly as directed except I also added some green olives. Its a keeper and makes a lot!!
Ooh green olives would be delicious in this! Great idea Holly, thanks for the comment!
Did anyone actually make this salad? I would much rather read what someone thought after they actually made a recipe than what they think the pictures look like. Sorry to be a killjoy, just like to read what people liked or didn’t like about the recipe.
Hi there Susan! This is my blog, and yes, I actually did make it! I promise it’s delicious. My extended family makes it all the time. I understand why you want a third party opinion, but just wanted to let you know I’m a real person and I really like this salad. :)
Totally making this asap. We love pasta salad here! And, we (rather I) made it one night last summer camping with 3 kids. Eloise would not sleep and I had to hold her. All. Night. on a deflating air mattress. We just got a tent trailer and took it to Oregon for 5 days, all 3 kiddos in tow. It was sooooo wonderful not sleeping on an air mattress/ground 😜 We went with friends, and you’re right about it being so much better!
No sleep camping is the woooorst! We need to get a trailer, that’s a great idea!
Gorgeous salad! I can hardly wait to try my hand at it…
Thanks Steven! Hope you love it!
omg that picture of the baby & your husband is the cutest! my eyes are totally hearts right now.
also, my friend has a magnet on her fridge with one of those old timey pinup style lady looks to it that says “i love not camping.” lol! that’s basically how i feel about it. i used to go with an ex and his fam but true story i actually drove home like an hour each day to shower and then came back later in the afternoon haha!
ps, i love pasta salads! will have to try this one, it looks so good!
I need that magnet! It’s how I feel most of the time! And I looooove that you drove all the way home to shower. That cracks me up!!
Wonderful Pasta Salad Karen! The pics just made my mouth water. I would also consider adding some pineapple cubes to this salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Ooh pineapple! That’s genius. Thanks Jane!
I agree with you about blocks of cheese. One time we camped it rained the whole time and I had a 1 year old that couldn’t walk and wanted to crawl around in the mud. I literally carried him (and he was huge) the whole weekend and would have to hand him off to go potty.
Noooo! your arms must have gotten way toned that weekend :)
Your family pics are so sweet! This recipe looks yummy :). I think that salami would go well in the recipe too!
Thanks Lily! You’re right, salami would be so good!
I love a good pasta salad! This looks amazing!
They are the best right Annie! Thanks so much!