A family Favorite cold meal during the hot summer months. This Bacon Belly Button Pasta Salad (aka. Tortellini Salad) is a zesty and an incredibly delicious pasta dish. Light and yet very satisfying, this always disappears extremely fast!
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Did you know that tortellini pasta is also known as belly button pasta?
It is such a fun name for a pasta that I couldn’t help but put it into the title.
My family has been making this Tortellini Salad for years and it was originally inspired by The Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith.
His recipe was a bit more basic and over the years we have added some of our favorite ingredients.
It tastes great at anytime during the year but is especially wonderful during the hot summer months.
It is cooling, light and yet filling. Always a hit at our house!
How To Make Tortellini Salad
The beauty of this pasta salad, once the bacon is cooked the recipe comes together very quickly.
- Cook bacon.
- Put water onto boil and make vinaigrette.
- Prepare veggies, chop bacon and cut or crumble feta. Pro Tip: Add tomatoes and spinach as very last step to prevent wilting.
- Cook tortellini, place frozen peas in colander and drain cooked pasta over frozen peas (this one step saves loads of time).
How to Fry Bacon Strips for Tortellini Pasta Salad
Here are some of my best tips to frying perfectly crisp bacon.
- Start with 4-5 pieces of bacon in a large and cold frying pan. I highly recommend not to use nonstick, however this is my favorite for frying bacon.
- Cook over med- med/high heat.
- Using long handles tongs turn the bacon slices a few times.
- Line a plate with a few paper towels and once bacon strips are done rest on paper towels to cool. The paper towels will absorb the extra grease.
When to Make Tortellini Salad
It is a common practice in our house to make pasta salads when life gets crazy busy and we don’t have a set eating time as a family. This allows everyone to eat when they are hungry. My favorite way to enjoy this pasta salad is served over a bed of lettuce. By doing this I make sure I am getting in my full serving of vegetables.
This Tortellini Pasta Salad also works perfect as a cold meal during summer months, for potlucks and as a Holiday side dish.
Commonly Asked Questions About Tortellini Salad
Will this salad keep overnight?
If serving the next day yes, this pasta salad will absolutely keep overnight. To ensure optimal freshness before serving, do not add tomatoes and spinach until the day of. This will help to make sure they do not wilt.
How long will this pasta salad keep?
Honestly, when I make this, it is gone within 24 hours. It is extremely rare that we ever have leftovers past that point. My best suggestion is to not keep it past 3 days as the veggies and bacon will not be as appetizing.
Can you freeze this salad?
I highly recommend not to freeze this pasta salad. If frozen, the tomatoes and spinach will not be appealing after defrosting. If needing smaller pasta salad, cut portions of ingredients in half.
Will this recipe work as a Christmas Pasta Salad?
Absolutely! The colors work perfect as a Christmas Pasta Salad and this recipe goes wonderfully with a Christmas ham.
Do children enjoy this recipe?
If your child like tangy and zippy flavors, yes they will enjoy this recipe.
More Family Pleasing Pastas
Bacon Belly Button Pasta Salad
For the Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic *minced or crushed
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
For the Salad
- 16 oz cheese tortellini
- 16 oz bacon
- 1 cup feta *cut or crumbled
- 6 oz bag baby spinach
- 16 oz tear drop tomatoes *or cherry tomatoes
- 1 med red onion
- 14 oz artichoke hearts in water *drained and cut in half
- 16 oz frozen peas
- 2 tbsp sea salt for boiling water
- Fry bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place cooked bacon on paper towel to absorb extra oil.
- Boil water in a large pot. Once boiling add sea salt and then tortellini, boil per package directions.
- While pasta water is coming to a boil, prepare vinaigrette. Measure olive oil into a very large mixing bowl. Whisk vinegar in slowly to emulsify. Whisk in mustard and crushed garlic. Roughly dice onion and add to oil mixture in addition to drained artichoke hearts. Toss veggies to coat.
- Cut tomatoes in half, cut bacon into pieces and crumble feta- set aside for last steps.
- Just before pasta is done, place frozen peas in bottom of colander. Once pasta is done boiling, drain over peas. Once drained, add pasta and peas to vinaigrette/veggie mixture and toss. Let pasta cool for about 5 mins in vinaigrette and then add tomatoes, feta, bacon and spinach, individually tossing after each item.