Add this fresh tortellini salad recipe to your weekend menu, stat! It features cheesy spinach tortellini tossed in my all-time favorite green goddess dressing, layered with lemony fresh greens and seasoned spring or summer vegetables.
This pasta dish manages to be light yet hearty at the same time, which is a real feat. It’s quick to make, but looks impressive. It’s versatile, too—you’ll see quite a few vegetable options below. Choose raw vegetables for the simplest preparation, as I did for these photos, or incorporate some quickly blanched vegetables, like asparagus, to expand your options.
My healthy homemade green goddess dressing comes together quickly in the blender or food processor. I suggest doubling the ingredients so you can serve the extra as a veggie dip or refrigerate it for upcoming green salads. It’s really delightful to have on hand.
Choose spinach tortellini over basic cheese tortellini to incorporate even more greens. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. This vegetarian pasta salad is a real crowd pleaser!
Tortellini Salad Vegetable Options
This tortellini salad is lovely with fresh spring and summer vegetables in any combination. The asterisks below denote vegetables that need to be briefly cooked (blanched) in the leftover pasta cooking water before using. The recipe includes instructions on how to blanch those veggies. You can use a combination of fresh and blanched vegetables if you’d like, such as fresh fennel and blanched asparagus.
- Asparagus* (cut into 2-inch segments; for thick spears, cut them in half or quarter first)
- Bell pepper (cut into short strips)
- Broccoli* (florets thinly sliced)
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Cucumber (quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced)
- Fennel (thinly sliced)
- Green beans*
- Peas* (fresh or frozen)
- Sugar-snap peas (thinly sliced)
- Yellow squash (quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced)
- Zucchini (quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced)
More Fresh Pastas to Try
Below are a few more pasta recipes featuring fresh spring produce, or browse all pasta recipes here.
- Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cilantro-Pepita Pesto with Squash Ribbons and Fettuccine
- Lemony Green Pasta with Peas & Ricotta
- Pesto Pasta Salad
Please let me know how your tortellini salad turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Green Goddess Tortellini Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Cooked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
This vegetarian tortellini salad recipe features cheesy spinach tortellini tossed in healthy homemade green goddess dressing, layered across a platter with lemony fresh greens and seasoned vegetables. Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 1 batch Green Goddess Dressing
- 2 packages (8 to 10 ounces each) spinach or cheese tortellini
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 3 cups spring vegetables*
- 2 handfuls of baby arugula
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Flaky sea salt, to taste (optional)
- Fill a large pot with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring it to a boil over high heat. (If you will be blanching any vegetables, fill a large bowl with ice and water, and set it aside.)
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing, and set it aside.
- Once the water is boiling, cook the tortellini according to package directions. If you’re using fresh vegetables, you can go ahead and strain the tortellini as usual.
- If you will be blanching any vegetables, reuse the boiling water—just use a slotted spoon to transfer the tortellini to a strainer and set them aside. Add the veggies to the boiling water and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until they are easy to pierce through with a fork. Strain the vegetables, then immediately dunk them into the ice bath to cool. After about 5 minutes, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and drain them well.
- Rinse the warm tortellini well under cool running water and set them aside.
- In a bowl, combine the prepared vegetables (blanched or fresh), arugula, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, and season with salt liberally, to taste. Set aside.
- In the cooking pot, combine the cooked tortellini and all of the dressing. Gently stir until evenly coated.
- To assemble, pour half of the dressed tortellini off-center onto a large serving platter. Gently pile about half of the arugula mixture on top and to the side of the noodles. Repeat with the remaining tortellini, followed by the remaining arugula mixture. Finely grate some fresh lemon zest over the dish (about ¼th of a medium lemon’s worth). Finish it with a light sprinkle of flaky salt, if you have it.
- Serve promptly, or refrigerate for later. This dish is best consumed within 2 hours, though it will keep well for up to 4 days.
Recipe inspired by Melissa Clark’s Green Goddess Pasta Salad.
*Vegetable options: Fresh vegetable options include thinly sliced fennel, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, sugar-snap peas, halved cherry tomatoes, and short strips of bell pepper. Vegetables that should be blanched include asparagus (cut into 2-inch segments; for thick spears, cut them in half or quarter first), peas (fresh or frozen), green beans, or broccoli (florets thinly sliced).
Please let me know where you find gf tortellini?
Hi Pat! Good question. I’ve not looked for it myself, but I just found a brand called Taste Republic that makes gluten-free tortelloni. Looks like it is sold at some Whole Foods and Target stores. Good luck!
If I were to use store bought dressing, would it equate to about a cup of dressing?
Hi Laura! My homemade dressing recipe yields about 1 ¼ cups. You could try 1 cup and adjust as necessary. My dressing is yogurt-based but I would think that a store-bought dressing should work pretty well.
This sounds absolutely yummy! I just need to acquire some dairy-free tortellini – cow milk dairy allergy. I can sub goat or sheep yogurt for the dressing – or just use one of the lovely vegan yogurts, but the pasta may require a 45 minute trip to Sprouts… worth it!
Thanks, Sylvia! Hope this one proves worth the extra effort! You could probably do about 6 to 8 ounces of regular pasta instead, and top it with some dollops of goat or sheep milk cheese instead, if that’s any easier.
OMG this turned out so delicious! A perfect mix of herbal flavors in your Goddess dressing – yummy! I used a blend of mint, parsley, cilantro, and a pinch of dill. And for veggies I used yellow zucchini, broccoli, and fennel – wow what a great blend! It looks beautiful too, just like your picture. Thank you Kate, once again, for another absolutely delicious meal. Perfect for a summer dinner.
Delighted to hear it, Patty! Thank you for reporting back.
Made this with red bell peppers, cucumbers, and edamame. Used a spinach/baby arugula mix and found a family sized spinach and cheese tortellini. Green goddess dressing on the side. Family didn’t feel they needed the dressing and it was still tasty. Very easy and fast to make. Great for spring& summer. Thank you!
Thank you for reporting back! Your version sounds so nice.
I made this tonight and added in a tin of butter beans for extra protein and fiber – it was so good ♡
Great idea! Thank you, Shelby.
Loved this! I made it with peas, asparagus, bell pepper, and zucchini. It turned out great. Hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but not too heavy.
Hooray!Your version sounds fantastic.
I made this last night and it was delicious! I’ve been a long-time fan of your recipes and this is another winner. I used some asparagus, green beans, and peas as those were the veggies I had on hand. Looking forward to making it again and taking it to parties throughout the summer. Thank you Kate!
Awesome! Thank you so much, Erika.