Served cold, this Italian Tortellini Salad with shredded rotisserie chicken and fresh zucchini is the perfect easy dinner recipe for busy weeknights! And it’s so easy to make ahead of time for picnics or potlucks.
The three main ingredients are the stars- prepared cheese tortellini (from the refrigerated section of your grocery store), diced fresh zucchini (no cooking necessary!), and cooked, shredded chicken (such as rotisserie).
It’s all tossed in a delicious homemade Italian dressing and served cold, which makes it the perfect candidate for meal prepping!
In this post, I’ll explain how easy it is to make this Italian Tortellini Salad recipe and share a trick for making it ahead of time so it doesn’t dry out.
How to Make this Italian Tortellini Salad with Chicken and Zucchini
I love how EASY this recipe is to make. And the clean-up is easy too, thanks to a trick to use one fewer dish!
First, cook the tortellini in boiling water. You can find prepared cheese tortellini in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
I recommend cooking the tortellini for 1-2 minutes LESS than indicated on the package. I find that often the result is mushy tortellini if you cook them for the recommended time. This may be good for a warm tomato sauce, but when you need to stir it in a pasta salad, they should be a little more firm so they don’t fall apart.
Meanwhile, mix the Italian dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl. It’s the same bowl you’ll mix the pasta salad in, so one fewer dish! Hooray!
The dressing is a yummy and simple mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and a little bit of honey to help emulsify and sweeten it. The honey helps tame the vinegar a bit and the touch of sweetness is deliciously refreshing.
Drain and rinse the tortellini under cold water until it’s cool.
Then, toss the tortellini, along with some diced fresh zucchini and cooked shredded chicken, in the bowl with the dressing. Mix together and you’re done!
How to make pasta salad ahead of time
There’s a super easy trick to making sure this Italian tortellini salad (and other pasta salads and potato salads) doesn’t dry out if you make them ahead of time.
Making sure the tortellini is completely cool before mixing it with the dressing will help it a little bit, as hot pasta will absorb it more quickly. But even if it’s cool, it may dry out if it sits for a while in your fridge.
Simply reserve half of the dressing after mixing it up. Then, just before serving, toss it with the pasta salad and you’re good to go!
Usually zucchini is cooked, but I love this recipe because it uses raw zucchini, which is not only easier, but absolutely delicious. Here’s another way to use raw zucchini: Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts.
Try these other easy pasta salad recipes:
- 20-Minute Creamy Lemony Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
- Copycat Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad
Did you make this Italian Tortellini Salad with Chicken and Zucchini? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Italian Tortellini Salad with Chicken and Zucchini
- Cook tortellini in boiling water according to directions. I cooked mine for 2 minutes less than the indicated time, so they wouldn't be mushy. Drain and rinse the tortellini with cold water until completely cooled.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the honey (1 tablespoon), extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup), Italian seasoning (1 teaspoon), kosher salt (1 teaspoon), black pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and red wine vinegar (2 tablespoons) in the bottom of a large bowl.
- Add the drained and rinsed tortellini to the bowl with the dressing, along with the diced zucchini and cooked, shredded chicken. Toss to combine.
- Serve immediately (see notes for making ahead of time).
- You can find prepared tortellini in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
- As the pasta salad sits in your fridge, it will absorb the dressing and become dry. To make this recipe ahead of time, reserve half the dressing. Just before serving, toss the pasta salad with the reserved dressing.
- I do my best to provide accurate nutrition information for my recipes, but I am not a nutritionist. The provided nutrition information is my best estimate. It does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.