Mediterranean Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad

This 20 minute Mediterranean Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad is tossed in raw garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs, and mozzarella balls, and tomatoes. Every bite provides a fresh Summer taste, making this a perfect dish to bring to any party!

bowl of fresh caprese pasta salad

A garlic lovers delight

I can remember my mom making this on a hot Massachusetts summer night.  The explosion of fresh basil, raw garlic, and warm olive oil was UNREAL.  After, I begged for this  cheesy, garlicy, delicious pasta dinner frequently.  The way the tomatoes release their liquids and blends with the raw garlic and olive oil, all while marrying sprinkled in red pepper flakes.  The flavor is pure happiness.

This is a favorite meatless meal in my home, and can be ready in 20 minutes flat,  even for the slow home chefs! Tortellinis take 2-3 minutes to cook, which makes the longest part of this recipe boiling the water.

bowl of fresh caprese pasta salad

Did I mention the health benefits?

  • Raw garlic contains an antioxidant called Allicin, which helps lower cholesterol, help to regulate blood pressure and sugar, cleans the blood, benefits the gut by naturally occurring prebiotics, and so much more!
  • Fresh Basil full of antioxidants that help relieve inflammation, boosts immune system, relieves stress, and has antibacterial properties.
  • Olive Oil rich in monounsaturated fats (mosty oleic acid, which is anti inflammatory), antioxidants, and is heart healthy.
  • Fresh tomatoes full of lycopene, an antioxidant. Great for heart health, and contains essential nutrients like vitamin K, C, potassium, and folate.
bowl of fresh caprese pasta salad

Chef’s Tips

  1. Select the Right Tortellini: Look for fresh tortellini in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Fresh tortellini cooks faster and has a slightly more delicate texture than frozen or dried.
  2. Mozzarella Choices: If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, you can use a regular block of fresh mozzarella and cut it into small cubes.
  3. Boosting Flavor: For an extra layer of depth, consider adding a splash of balsamic reduction just before serving. The sweet-tartness of the balsamic pairs wonderfully with the fresh ingredients.
  4. Garlic Intensity: Remember, raw garlic can be quite potent. If you’re not a huge fan, consider using only 1 or 2 cloves.
  5. Mixing Technique: Gently fold the ingredients together to avoid breaking the tortellini or crushing the tomatoes.

Storage and Reheating

  • Storage: This pasta salad is best eaten fresh but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors will meld and intensify over time.
  • Reheating: It’s best enjoyed cold or at room temperature. If you do want to warm it, do so gently on the stovetop over low heat. Microwaving might cause the tortellini to turn rubbery.

Alternatives and Variations

  • Protein Boost: Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or even white beans to make this dish even heartier.
  • Veggies Galore: Consider adding thinly sliced red onions, cucumbers, or even some chopped spinach.
  • Cheese Variations: If you’re feeling adventurous, feta cheese or cubed provolone can also be a delicious substitute for mozzarella.

Pairing Suggestions

This delightful pasta salad pairs well with grilled meats, especially seafood like grilled shrimp or fish. Consider also serving it alongside a crisp, refreshing summer drink like Tropical Summer Sangria or a Lavender Lemonade Mimosa.


Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh?

While fresh herbs provide a vibrant flavor, in a pinch, dried herbs can be used. As a general rule, use 1/3 the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh.

Is there a gluten-free option?

Absolutely, you can find gluten-free tortellini at many grocery stores or health food stores. Make sure to adjust cooking times as per package instructions.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Sure! Fusilli, penne, or farfalle (bow-tie) pasta are all great alternatives to tortellini.

bowl of fresh caprese pasta salad

More Tortellini Meals

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Mediterranean Caprese

Sea Salt Savorings
This 20 minute Mediterranean Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad is tossed in raw garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs, and mozzarella balls, and tomatoes.  Every bite provides a fresh Summer taste, making this a perfect dish to bring to any party!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • 1 LB of tortellinis
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1.5 lb of cherry grape, or heirloom tomatoes (halved)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 8 oz package of Belgioso Fresh Mozzarella Pearls


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water begins to boil, add tortellinis and cook until al dente.
  • While tortellinis are boiling, combine oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pepper flakes, salt, and oregano in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
  • When tortellinis are al dente, drain, and spray with cold water. Continue to spray until the tortellinis have cooled. Combine cooled tortellinis with oil mixture. Eat right away or store in fridge. This dish reaches peak flavor when left refrigerated over night. Mangia!

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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