This tortellini pasta salad combines favorite summertime flavors: grilled vegetables, goat cheese, lemon and basil.
Is there anything that screams mid-July more than that photo of perfectly charred grilled vegetables? I think I could eat these every single week in the summer and be totally content. Best part is, they couldn’t be easier to make. I recommend prepping a big batch over the weekend and then incorporating them into meals throughout the rest of the week for an easy (and delicious!) veg option.
Perfect Grilled Vegetables
This post is reminiscent of another one of my favorites from winter – Perfect Roasted Vegetables + How to Use Them. We’ll just go ahead and call this “part 2: the summer version” because it’s basically the same idea. I’m a sucker for anything that involves cooking once and eating “x” number of times. This recipe fits the bill beautifully!
Choose Your Vegetables
When it comes to choosing vegetables to use for this dish, don’t let the recipe limit you to the ones I picked. I love the color contrast of red (purple) onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and mushrooms. Here are a few others that would work well:
- Yellow Squash
Trust me when I say you’ll want to make extra! Besides the pasta salad, you can use the vegetables in green salads, to top pizza, in scrambled eggs or as part of a grain bowl.
In the recipe notes I mentioned that you’ll only need half of what you grill for the pasta salad, but you won’t regret having extra on hand. Plus, if you’re going through the hassle of turning on the grill, I say pre-cook as much as you can.
How to Chop Vegetables for Grilling
This might go without saying, but you have to be strategic with how you chop vegetables if you plan to grill them. Certain shapes will fall through the grill grates if you aren’t careful. Here’s what I like to do:
- Onion: slice into 1/4-1/2″ rings, but don’t separate. You’ll be able to easily brush with oil and lay on top the grill.
- Zucchini: first cut down the middle (lengthwise), then again to quarter. Slice each of those in half (widthwise) to get 8 pieces.
- Red Bell Pepper: remove stem and seeds. Slice in half through the top to get two large pieces. Cut each of these in half to get rectangles.
- Mushrooms: just de-stem and clean!
The flavor combinations are endless if you want to get creative (fresh herbs, spices, etc) but I like to keep things simple with a big drizzle of olive oil, plus granulated garlic, salt and pepper.
Using Tortellini in Pasta Salad
Now, this isn’t just a regular old pasta salad, this is a cool pasta salad.
The nice thing about using tortellini instead of plain pasta here is the extra texture. I love the chewiness of tortellini, plus it holds on to sauce well. Kind of like pasta salad 2.0 😂
Of course you can stick to whatever shape you prefer if tortellini isn’t your thing. Other favorites of mine are tortellini, bowtie and orzo.
Once everything is mixed together, don’t forget to top with a healthy handful of basil chiffonade and some lemon wedges before serving. This side dish pairs well with just about everything, but then again you might just want to just eat it straight out of the bowl (and I’m OK with that).
Complete your backyard party menu:
- Salmon Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Proscuitto Wrapped Peach with Basil & Bleu Cheese
- Fresh Watermelon Mint Fizz
Tortellini Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables & Goat Cheese
This tortellini pasta salad will have everyone at the BBQ asking for the recipe! It’s the perfect way to use up leftover grilled vegetables.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dishes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 pint white button mushrooms
- 2 zucchini
- 1 red onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 5 basil leaves (plus more for garnish), sliced across in a chiffonade
- Juice & zest from one lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- Prep grilled vegetables per photo about to prevent them from falling through grill grates. Chop zucchini into quarters (lengthwise); slice red onion; quarter the red bell pepper; clean and de-stem mushrooms.
- Toss everything with two tablespoons of olive oil, then season with granulated garlic, salt & pepper.
- Grill until charred, but still slightly crunchy (no mushy vegetables please!). Remove from grill and let rest. Chop into small pieces.
- Boil per package directions, tasting to ensure that pasta is cooked all the way through.
- Drain and rinse with cold water, then toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking/clumping.
- Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a small jar and shake well (or stir with a fork) to combine.
Note that you will only use 1/2 the vegetables (it just makes sense to grill more than you need once you have it fired up!). Use the rest for salads or side dishes for the rest of the week.
- Add tortellini, vegetables, goat cheese crumbles, basil, and dressing to a large bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Top with more basil and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Keywords: tortellini pasta salad, summer sides, entertaining
Want more nutrition tips & recipes?
Subscribe to my bi-weekly emails. I'll recap what's new on the blog, plus share exclusive healthy living tips and resources!