The Fastest Pasta Salad Comes from the Freezer

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Keep a bag of frozen tortellini tucked away in your freezer and you can rest easy knowing that a quick meal is always at the ready. This series on fast tortellini dinners will show you how to transform frozen tortellini into dinner using pantry staples and a few surprising techniques. Pasta sauce is just the beginning!

Family get-together coming up this weekend and you need to bring something everyone will eat? Pasta salad. Need a fast, but fresh dinner between work and soccer practice? Pasta salad. Pasta salad solves problems with its ease and straightforwardness, but we like to take it a step further by leaning on cheese tortellini to make it a little more substantial. From there, it’s just a matter of adding veggies, cheese, meats, and dressing.

In this version, we’re keeping things vegetarian with a dish inspired by Greek salad. Cukes, tomatoes, a bit of feta, and a vibrant dressing — homemade if you’re up for it — get tossed with the cooked and cooled pasta for a meal you can actually make in 30 minutes. It’s just another reason to keep frozen tortellini on hand.

Why You Should Make Tortellini Pasta Salad

The best pasta salads are packed with enough flavor and ingredients to keep things interesting. Using tortellini assists in this endeavor, as it feels more substantial than unfilled pasta and comes with that element of surprise, thanks to what’s hiding inside. That means you only need a few extra ingredients to create a pasta salad that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

How to Make It

Boil a bag (or two) or frozen tortellini. Drain the pasta and run it briefly under cool water to cool it down. Combine it in a large bowl with halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, pitted and chopped olives, crumbled feta, and a few good drizzles each of olive oil and red wine vinegar.