Whether you serve it for dinner or as a side dish at a BBQ, this Pesto Tortellini recipe will be the star of the show! It’s made with tender cheese tortellini tossed in creamy caesar pesto sauce, with tomatoes, olives, green onion, sunflower seeds and fresh basil.
I love pasta salads that are easy to make, filling and full of fun flavors, and this Pesto Tortellini is all those things. It’s delicious, and everyone always loves it! It tops the list of my favorite pasta salad recipes, along with this Spinach Avocado Pasta Salad and Teriyaki Bowtie Pasta Salad.
- Pesto: Homemade Pesto or good quality store-bought. (Use leftover pesto to make pesto pizza, or one pan pesto chicken and veggies).
- Caesar Dressing: make homemade caesar dressing, or use store-bought. I like this brand.
- Tortellini: I suggest good quality refrigerated tortellini.
- Tomatoes: I like to use cherry tomatoes but use any kind you like.
- Olives: pitted, sliced black olives.
- Onion: I recommend green onion but sweet onion or diced red onion would work.
- Sunflower Seeds or pine nuts.
- Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh Basil is essential!
How to Make Pesto Tortellini:
Cook Tortellini according to package instructions. Drain well and allow to cool. Add to a large bowl and toss with caesar dressing to coat.
Add tomatoes, olives, green onion, pesto, salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to combine. Add sunflower seeds and ⅓ cup fresh parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
Serve garnished with fresh parmesan and basil just before serving.
- Add protein like chicken, sausage or shrimp to make it a hearty main dish. Rotisserie chicken would work great, or leftover cooked, grilled chicken.
- Extra Veggies: Add sautéed zucchini or yellow squash, chopped bell peppers, spinach.
More Tortellini Recipes:
- One Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken Tortellini
- Roasted Red Pepper Tortellini Pasta
- Vegetable Tortellini Soup
- Southwest Tortellini Pasta Salad
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Creamy Pesto Tortellini
- 20 ounce package cheese tortellini , refrigerated kind
- 1 cup caesar salad dressing , homemade or store-bought
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
- 6 ounces black olives , drained and chopped
- 3 green onions , chopped
- 1/4 cup basil pesto , homemade or store-bought
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , divided
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves , chopped, for garnish
- Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool.
- Add tortellini to a large bowl and toss with ½ the caesar dressing. Add tomatoes, olives, green onion, pesto, salt, pepper and garlic powder, ⅓ cup fresh parmesan, and sunflower seeds and toss to combine. Add more caesar dressing, to make it saucier, if desired.
- Serve warm or cold. Garnish with remaining fresh parmesan and fresh chopped basil before serving.
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Original recipe inspired by Mels Kitchen Cafe.
I originally shared this recipe March 2017. Updated May 2021 and May 2023.
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