pasta salad

How to Make the Perfect Pasta Salad Every Time

Elena Davis is a true Italian cook with true Italian flair! Her website is one to bookmark come dinner time. You can check out all of her recipes at

This simple formula makes the perfect pasta salad.

Pasta salad is a summer staple! It’s the perfect pairing for any BBQ, picnic, or even bridal shower.

Elena Davis shares her guide for making the perfect pasta salad every time. She shares how one simple formula can lead to dozens of tasty combinations. She also shares her recipe for easy Italian tortellini pasta salad, along with her tips for making the tortellini just right!

For more details on making the perfect pasta salad, check out Elena’s post on her page here. You can also connect with her on Instagram at @CucinaByElena.


Elena’s Pasta Salad Ratios

  • 1 pound al dente pasta
  • 6 cups of main ingredients such as proteins and veggies
  • ½ c of unique flavors (olives, strong/unique cheeses, spiced salami, onions, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons herbs, 2 tablespoons zest.
  • 1 ½ cups salad dressing


Easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad


  • Double the recipe for Balsamic Garlic Vinaigrette (or, 1 ½ cups store bought dressing)
  • 1 lb. cheese tortellini of choice
  • 1-pintnt cherry tomatoes (or mixed medley variety), cut in half
  • 1 small capre-sliceded black olives
  • 1 cup orange bell pepper, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 package fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn by hand
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook cheese tortellini according to al dente directions (do not overcook).
  2. In the meantime prepare vegetables. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, carrots, red onion, and basil to a large serving bowl. Toss to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  3. Drain the tortellini and add to a separate large bowl. Do not rinse. Add half of the vinaigrette dressing and toss to coat. Let cool about 10- 15 minutes.
  4. Then, add the veggies to the bowl with tortellini. Add the rest of the dressing and toss to combine.
  5. Add the mozzarella and toss more to combine. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve at room temperature or cold. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired. For maximum flavor let rest in the fridge 6 hours before serving.

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