The barn where I board was having a cookout and I needed a side to bring. I was going to bring my Roasted Red Potato Salad, but potato salad was already spoken for. Pasta salad was my next choice, but I wanted something a little different than a traditional pasta salad. I remembered seeing recipes for other pasta salad or caprese skewers, but all of the pasta salad skewer recipes seemed to call for pesto. I wasn't sure whether anyone was allergic to nuts, and I didn't want to bother sourcing a nut-free pesto, so I decided to make something like my Italian Pasta Salad on a stick.
Recipe Notes & Variations
I kept it simple with the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls since we had some vegetarians in the bunch. If you can't find mozzarella pearls, you can just cut up fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. These would also be good with some salami or pepperoni added! I also thought about adding some banana peppers, but I know not everyone likes spicy foods. I used store-bought Italian dressing because I was going for quick and easy. Natasha's Kitchen has a good homemade Italian dressing recipe if you'd prefer to make homemade. I used a half pint of tomatoes on these because I used less tomatoes per each piece of tortellini and cheese. If you're a bigger fan of tomatoes, you can certainly add more!
Skewer size: The skewers I used in this recipe were probably about 6 inches. I think 4 inch skewers would be a slightly better choice to make these a little easier to manage when eating.
Make-ahead tips: If you have the time, let the pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight) and assemble closer to when you'll be serving them. I usually don't have this kind of time, and mine go straight into the cooler to wherever I'm going! You can fully assemble the skewers ahead of time, and refresh them with some extra dressing before serving. The pasta will absorb some of the dressing while sitting in the fridge.
Tortellini Pasta Salad Skewers
- Small skewers 4 inch recommended
- 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini 8-9 ounce package
- 8 ounces mozzarella pearls or cut fresh mozzarella into bite-sized cubes
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup Italian dressing divided
- Prepare tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
- Transfer tortellini to a large mixing bowl and add ½ cup of the Italian dressing. Add tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Assemble each skewer alternating tomatoes, mozzarella, and tortellini. (Note that in my original recipe, I just put tomatoes on the end, but that was just personal preference.)
- Refrigerate until serving. Immediately before serving, drizzle the remaining ½ cup of Italian dressing over the skewers. You can also serve more on the side in case people want to add extra to their own skewers.