Tuscan tortellini salad is packed with tangy sun-dried tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, and tossed in a sweet honey balsamic dressing. This colorful salad is perfect for meal-prepping and makes an incredible cookout side dish!
It’s almost April which means salad season is cool again soooo if it’s cool with you, we should probably get a winner in here to kick off strong!
Tortellini is also very much a thing here in this salad so I’m pretty sure we already won.
This is just one of those salads that feels indulgent and filling, yet SUPER healthy and nourishing at the same time! They know what they’re doing over in Italy, I tell you what.
The colors and flavors that pop from this salad makes for a VERY welcome sight in the middle of these cold, rainy spring days. The abundance of cheese doesn’t hurt our cause either.
And if you’re a meal prepper? Keep reading for ALL the deets on how you can make this salad your new lunch go-to.
This Tuscan Tortellini Salad features…
- Indulgent cheese-filled tortellini pasta
- All the classic Tuscan salad ingredients: sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, baby spinach, Parmesan cheese, and Kalamata olives
- Perfectly tender blanched asparagus
- A sweet ‘n’ tangy honey balsamic vinaigrette
Making the Tuscan Tortellini Salad
(scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Tortellini – you can use frozen, dry, or fresh-refrigerated tortellini for this recipe.
- Asparagus – if you’re not a fan of asparagus, you can definitely skip it here, but we love the tender, perfectly-blanched asparagus spears in this salad!
- Baby spinach – the spinach is about a 1:1 ratio with the tortellini making up the bulk of the salad.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – go for the a jar of oil-packed tomatoes if you can find it. You can also re-hydrate regular sun-dried tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them and letting them soak 5 minutes.
- Parmesan cheese – you can do grated, shredded, or use a vegetable peeler to peel big shards.
- Basil – don’t skimp on the fresh basil! It really seals the flavors in this salad.
- Dressing ingredients – honey, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and olive oil make up the dressing. So simple, yet so good!
What is a Tuscan Salad?
Tuscan food, like most of its parent Italian food, is traditionally very simple, fresh ingredients. Easy and every ingredient shines since it’s kept so simple!
Tuscan salad typically includes a type of green, such as spinach or arugula, then fresh vegetables, cheeses, tomatoes, balsamic, and high-quality olive oil.
Choosing Your Pasta
Like I briefly mentioned above, frozen, dry, and fresh-refrigerated tortellini all work in this recipe. Make sure you follow the package instructions for cooking and don’t let them cook past al dente!
If you’re not a fan of tortellini pasta or don’t have it on hand, you have plenty of other pasta options for this salad!
Any other shape of pasta works perfectly, so feel free to choose your favorite shape! You’ll be missing out on a little extra decadence from the cheese filling in tortellini, but it will still be delicious. (feel free to toss in some extra Parm)
Make Ahead Options
You can build the majority of this salad up to 4 days in advance before serving! The only thing you will want to be careful of is the basil as it can turn brown and lose some of its freshness the longer it sits.
Follow the recipe instructions for making the salad (minus adding the basil) and the dressing ahead of time and store them separately in sealed containers.
When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over salad, add fresh minced basil, and toss to combine. I recommend topping this salad off with extra Parmesan shards!
Because of its make ahead options, this salad is perfect for bringing to a cookout or for meal prepping for the week. It stores so well for several days at a time.
The richness from the tortellini, the freshness from the veggies, the little bit of sweet with tangy from the dressing…it just all melds together into a perfect little salad package!
I know some salads out there are a bummer, but this is just NOT one of those salads! Jason’s not a huge salad guy and he was hooked on this beauty. We ate it for lunch three days in a row!!
The best. Don’t you just want to dive into that beautiful bowl??
More favorite salads you will definitely want to try next!
- Charred Sweet Corn Avocado Cucumber Salad
- Strawberry Poppyseed Spinach Pasta Salad
- Italian Mozzarella Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
Tuscan Tortellini Salad with Balsamic Dressing
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- 1 (19) oz bag cheese tortellini
- 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and spears cut into 2-in pieces
- 3 cups lightly-packed baby spinach
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Honey Balsamic Dressing
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook tortellini according to package instructions in lightly-salted water until al-dente. Drain and cool completely.
- Bring a medium pot of lightly-salted water to a boil and add asparagus. Cook asparagus 3-5 minutes until tender. Immediately place asparagus in a bowl of ice water to cool it quickly. Drain asparagus and pat dry.
- Once tortellini is cooled, place in a large serving bowl and add asparagus, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, Parmesan, and basil. Refrigerate salad until ready to serve.
Honey Balsamic Dressing
- In a medium bowl, whisk balsamic, honey, garlic, and mustard until smooth. Begin slowly drizzling in olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify dressing. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
- When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately and enjoy!