Recipes » Salad Recipes » Layered Tortellini Salad

Layered Tortellini Salad

Layered Tortellini Salad with colorful layers of Greek ingredients is perfect for long summer days when it's just too hot to cook!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Finished salad layered in a glass bowl.

This beautiful Layered Tortellini Salad is perfect for long summer days when it’s just too hot to cook! With its colorful layers of delicious Greek ingredients, it’s as pretty as it is delicious.

On days when it’s just too hot to cook and heavy foods are simply not appealing, it’s nice to have a few quick and easy main dish salad recipes up your sleeve. This Layered Tortellini Salad is a favorite of ours.

Finished salad layered in a glass bowl.

Similar to old-fashioned layered salads like the traditional seven-layer salad and layered pea salad, this recipe creates a dish so pretty you almost don’t want to dip into it. Almost. 

It’s a layered pasta salad that is light, refreshing, and filling all at the same time. And it uses some of my favorite ingredients – those found in many Greek recipes.

The only heat involved is boiling water to cook a package of tortellini. Surely we can do that even in a heat wave! After that part is done, it’s simply layering ingredients into a pretty bowl.

Tortellini salad served on individual plates.

This salad easily doubles and can be used for either your entree or as a first course.

💗 Why We Love This Recipe


  • No heating the kitchen! Perfect for hot summer days.
  • It’s beautiful! The varied colors of the layered vegetables make this a lovely focal point on your table.
  • Super easy – it’s really just a matter of assembling ingredients in a bowl.

🥘 About the Ingredients


Ingredients needed for layered tortellini salad.

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  • Cheese Tortellini You can use fresh, frozen, or dried tortellini for this recipe. My favorite is the refrigerated tortellini from Buitoni.
  • Greek or Italian DressingChoose any dressing you like that has an oil and vinegar component. I’ve used Cardini’s Greek Dressing, Kraft Zesty Italian, and even my homemade Lemon Vinaigrette dressing. They’re all great!
  • Cherry Tomatoes or Grape TomatoesMake sure they’re nice and ripe!
  • Feta Cheese – Purchase the crumbled feta or buy a block and crumble it yourself.
  • Red Onion – Make sure the onion is very thinly sliced.
  • Roasted Red Peppers – Purchase a good Italian brand like Cento or Mazzetta.
  • Fresh Basil – Look for this in your grocer’s produce section.
  • Cucumber – I prefer English cucumbers.
  • Canned Artichoke Hearts – Look for quartered artichoke hearts in water.
  • Whole Black Olives – Lindsay is my go-to brand for any kind of olives.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – The powdery Kraft Parmesan cheese actually works best in this recipe.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Layered Tortellini Salad


Cook the Tortellini

  1. Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions. Rinse the tortellini under cold water and set it aside to drain well.
  2. Place the tortellini in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of Greek or Italian dressing. Toss gently to coat well.

TIP: This salad looks great in a trifle dish. They’re designed to show off layers perfectly.

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Layer the Ingredients

  1. Place the halved tomatoes in the bottom of a large glass serving bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.
  2. Next, add the tortellini to the bowl.
  3. Layer the remaining ingredients – feta cheese, red onion, roasted red bell pepper, basil, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and black olives.

TIP: If your red onion seems a little too strong, rinse it under cold water after slicing. The water will remove a lot of the pungency.

Refrigerate Before Serving

  1. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 1 hour).
Finished salad with Parmesan cheese added on top.

Finish with Parmesan

  1. When ready to serve, add salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to top.
Finished salad layered in a glass bowl.

🔀 Options and Variations


  • Use any type of tortellini that you personally like. I’ve often made this salad with spinach tortellini which adds another gorgeous green layer to the mix.
  • Add a layer of diced, rotisserie chicken for an even heartier meal.
  • Not a fan of feta cheese? Swap it out for Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack if you’d like. 

🍽 How to Serve


If you’re serving Greek tortellini salad as the main course, you really don’t need anything other than some good bread and a glass of chilled wine or cold sweet tea! Or serve it as the salad course with a lovely roast chicken and green beans.

🍚 How to Make Ahead and Store


The salad may be made up to one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Add the Parmesan to the top when ready to serve.

Store any leftover tortellini salad in a plastic or glass container with a tight fitting lid for about two days in the refrigerator. This recipe is not meant to be frozen.


A fork holding one bite of salad.

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


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📖 Recipe

Finished salad layered in a glass bowl.

Layered Tortellini Salad

Layered Tortellini Salad with colorful layers of Greek ingredients is perfect for long summer days when it's just too hot to cook!
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces cheese tortellini fresh, frozen, or dried
  • 3 tablespoons Greek or Italian dressing divided
  • 1 cup whole cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ roasted red peppers sliced in thin strips
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 7 ounces canned artichoke hearts quartered
  • ¾ cup whole black olives
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions. Rinse the tortellini under cold water and set it aside to drain well.
  • Place the tortellini in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of Greek or Italian dressing. Toss gently to coat well.
  • Place the halved tomatoes in the bottom of a large glass serving bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.
  • Next, add the tortellini to the bowl.
  • Layer the remaining ingredients – feta cheese, red onion, roasted red bell pepper, basil, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and black olives.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 1 hour).
  • When ready to serve, add salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to top.

Notes

Serves 6 as a main dish salad; up to 10 as a first course.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1057mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on July 27, 2010. It has been updated with new photographs and additional information.

Layered Mediterranean Salad - a layered salad using lots of Greek ingredients. Perfect for days when it's too hot to cook. https://www.lanascooking.com/layered-mediterranean-salad/

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17 Comments

  1. I’ve also been going towards the Greek palate lately – tonight I made pizza with mozzarella, feta (real Greek feta, not domestic), tomatoes and oregano. So good.

    This looks very cooling and delicious.

  2. This was fabulous!!! We just finished our lunch and both had the same reaction. I’d like more but I’m not going to so there’s enough for lunch tomorrow. What a perfect make ahead dish. In fact, we’re going to Symphony on the Prairie on Saturday with some friends and I’m in charge of the salad so guess what I’ll be making :-)

  3. Guess what I made for dinner tonight?
    It’s delicious Lana! Turned out perfect. Thanks a bunch for the recipe!

  4. We have been having natural lightning here to and the temp haven’t gone down even with the rain. Pepper, onions, tomatoes, cucumber sounds like great dinner in this weather.

  5. Layer all that goodness into one dish makes an interesting, tasty and varied summer meal all on its own. GREG

  6. Greek salad is one of my favorites and it certainly is perfect for this icky hot weather! I like the addition of the pasta.

  7. I love your idea here for a one dish summer meal. It has a great assortment of complementary flavors and an ideal balance between filling pasta, tasty cheeses for protein, plenty of fresh veggies, and a light dressing. Excellent!

  8. Love this! And talk about “pretty” bowls!!!! This one BOWLED me over. LOL! Can’t wait to try this. Great post, as always.

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. That bowl was a wedding gift over thirty years ago. I’ve probably used it twice in all that time!

  9. Sounds wonderful but what I really love is that’s it’s COLD! Detroit has been just as bad as Atlanta.
    Perfect for dinner this week. Thanks!