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Tortellini Caprese Salad Cups

These Tortellini Caprese Salad Cups are the perfect way to add a fresh, summery salad to your potluck rotation! It’s a simple recipe to make and are full of delicious flavors. We’re talking ripe tomatoes, bright pesto sauce,  mozzarella cheese and cheesy tortellini pasta. 

Finish the entire thing off with some tangy and sweet balsamic vinegar and you’re serving an appetizer everyone loves!

Tortellini, pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes in a small glass cup.

I love this tortellini pasta salad because it mixes things up. That’s right, no ho-hum salad in a bowl here. We’re making things pretty by doling this out into individual portions.

A fun side for a hot summer day is always appreciate and unexpected! With the caprese classics like mozzarella, basil and tomatoes you can’t go wrong.

I love Caprese Chicken and chicken pesto pasta salad, so of course I’m excited to bring you yet another recipe variation.

Caprese is all about simple, fresh ingredients.

A classic caprese salad is made with just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, but it can also include other toppings like grilled chicken or roasted peppers. The key is to use high-quality ingredients and to let them shine!

With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a dish that is bursting with flavor. And that’s exactly what we’re doing today.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Tortellini caprese salad on a fork.
  • Quality, seasonal ingredients will win every. single. time. While tomatoes are ripe and in season, it’s a great way to put them to use.
  • Oh, and if you still have a bounty of tomatoes needing a home, check out these recipes to make with extra tomatoes.
  • The addition of pasta adds a little heft to this light summer dish. 
  • It’s quick and no fuss. There’s no fancy technique, although it looks pretty impressive. A few grocery shortcuts and no one needs to be the wiser at your next party.

Ingredients

Prepared pesto – pesto is a ground sauce made from basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. You can make a fresh pesto sauce if you’d like, but I’m using jarred pesto from the grocery store. Either way it’ll be delicious!

grape tomatoes – or whatever ripe, fresh tomatoes you have on hand. Cherry tomatoes are awesome, too!

cheese tortellini – you’ll find fresh tortellini in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. You could also sub in mini ravioli or mini penne pasta.

fresh mozzarella balls – these are basically bite size nuggets of mozzarella and they’re perfect for this recipe. Our Aldi usually carries these so they’re pretty easy to find. If you can’t find them for some reason, you can use fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces. 

balsamic vinegar – we’re making a balsamic glaze. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you ever bought it from the grocery store.

How to make tortellini caprese salad cups

Grab some mini containers or small mason jars and get ready to make a beautiful salad!

We’ll make the balsamic glaze first so it has a change to cool. Basically, all we need to do is simmer some balsamic vinegar until it reduces.

It’ll take on a sweeter, more concentrated flavor with a consistency similar to a syrup. Set that aside for the moment to let it cool.

Grape tomatoes in a small mason jar.

Cook the tortellini pasta according to the package directions. Be sure not to overcook the pasta.

Rinse it in cool water to stop the cooking.

Now, it’s time to get assembling!

Place a few cut tomatoes in the bottoms of your individual serving cups.

Cheese tortellini, tomatoes and mozzarella on a counter.

Top with the cooled, cooked tortellini.

Pesto drizzled over fresh mozzarella in a jar.

Then top with a little bit of the prepared pesto.

Repeat the layer and you’re almost ready to go!

Drizzle the tops with the balsamic glaze just before serving. A little bit goes a long ways!

Tips

Fresh mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese. Unlike many cheeses, it is not aged and instead, keep a silky texture and mild flavor. It’s a completely different cheese than a regular mozzarella. If you’re looking for the pearls, they’ll be in a liquid of some sort, or packaged in a shrink wrap type container.

You can make caprese tortellini salad cups ahead of time. The recipe card below has full instructions.

In a hurry? Use a good quality purchased balsamic glaze instead! 

What to serve with this tortellini caprese salad

This pairs well with any easy dinner you throw on the grill. Grilled chicken, juicy grilled pork chops…you name it!

If you have leftover pesto, you can use it to make turkey pesto panini, chicken pesto pasta salad or add it to scrambled eggs

Variations

Serve this salad up in a large bowl instead of small, portioned sizes.

Use fresh mozzarella cut into chunks instead of the pearls.

Play around with different types of pesto.

More favorite summer salads

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta

Summer Corn Salad

made with love, Deanne
Yield: 12 servings

Tortellini Caprese Salad Cups

Tortellini, pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes in a small glass cup.

These Tortellini Caprese Salad Cups are the perfect way to add a fresh, summery salad to your potluck rotation! We're talking ripe tomatoes, bright pesto sauce,  mozzarella cheese and cheesy tortellini pasta. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved if desired
  • 20 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls, drained

For the balsamic glaze

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

For serving

  • small plastic or glass ramekins, shooter cups or half pint jars.

Instructions

  1. Cook the tortellini according to package instructions, making sure to drain it as soon as it's al dente or even slightly underdone. Rinse well with cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. To make the balsamic glaze: Add balsamic vinegar to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vinegar is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume. Remove glaze from heat and let cool until lukewarm.
  3. Add a couple tomatoes to the bottom of a jar or glass, followed by tortellini, mozzarella, and a teaspoon or so of pesto. Layer until you reach the top of the glass, then drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar glaze over the top.

    Serve chilled or room temperature.

Notes

  • Store extra pesto in an airtight glass container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Use it throughout the week to top pasta, toasted garlic bread, or roasted veggies.
  • To make ahead of time: I recommend you keep the grape tomatoes whole and drizzle with the glaze just before serving.
  • Ready to use balsamic glaze can usually be found by the vinegars at the grocery store if you don't want to make your own. It's easy and economical, though!!
  • Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    12

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 347mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

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