Tortellini Salad with Avocado Dressing

Tortellini salad with avocado dressing is perfect for a potluck. With black beans, veggies, pasta, and creamy avocado salad dressing, this beautiful recipe is always a hit.

squared off view, top down into the salad bowl

About this tasty salad

My family is blessed with fabulous neighbors …on one side anyway. And over the years, we have gotten together with them many times for various holidays and celebrations.

I seem to always provide ribs, deviled eggs, and cheesy bacon-wrapped jalapenos, and they provide beans, burgers, more deviled eggs, and a salad with tortellini.

I always look forward to this salad. Tortellini in salad is simply awesome. My neighbor does it Caesar-style, with romaine and croutons. And in my version here, I went west. Or southwest. Whichever.

This salad is creamy, awesome, healthy-ish, and perfect for that party or backyard barbecue.

salad ingredients with a fork on a green plate

Potluck perfection

What are things we look for in recipes to make and share with others?

  • Easy-to-find ingredients.
  • Inexpensive ingredients.
  • Easy to make.
  • Can be made in advance.
  • Transportable.
  • Flavor appeal to a wide variety of palates.
  • Curb appeal. We eat with our eyes first!

This recipe checks every single one of those boxes. Easy to shop for, easy to make, easy to bring and serve. And it is gorgeous.

complete salad in a large white bowl

About the salad dressing

I have an Avocado Herb Dressing that is very versatile. I absolutely love this dressing – I have used it over stuffed poblano peppers and in a healthy lunch.

It is just a really nice, healthy dressing that goes well with most everything.

So I threw it in this salad with the tortellini and added other yummy stuff like black beans, tomatoes, and queso fresco. So yummy! Sabroso! ..(I don’t speak Spanish. I just googled ‘yummy’).

This dressing can be made in advance. Just note that once added to the salad, it will oxidize as all things avocado do. So, make the dressing a couple hours or even a day ahead of time, but do not toss it in the salad until ready to serve.

mason jar filled with the dressing next to a lime and avocado


  • Romaine lettuce. Romaine is a perfect choice because of its crunch, flavor, and because it doesn’t wilt as quickly as more delicate lettuces.
  • Black beans. This is a vegetarian salad, and black beans bring filling fiber, protein, and flavor.
  • Grape tomatoes. These succulent little gems bring bursts of flavor and add beautiful color. If not available, substitute cherry tomatoes or chopped regular tomato.
  • Red onion. For color and that peppery punch that cuts the creaminess of both the dressing and the filling of the tortellini.
  • Cheese tortellini. Simply cook, drain, and rinse with cold water like you would for adding any pasta to a salad.
  • Cilantro. This bright herb sings in this recipe, but if you are not a fan then flat-leaf Italian parsley is an appropriate substitute.
  • Avocado Herb Dressing.
  • Queso fresco cheese. I find this cheese in the dairy section of my regular grocery store or in the specialty cheese section at Walmart.

Queso fresco is one of my favorite ingredients for all things Mexican, but if you can’t find it (and I honestly have never had a problem getting it) but IF you can’t, then just omit and don’t worry about a substitute.

I do not recommend using feta in place of the queso fresco. Feta more pungent and does not work cooperate with the cheesy tortellini filling. No bueno.

plated salad on a green dish with fork

Last Tips

  • Just like adding pasta to any cold salad, we want to stop the cooking of the tortellini immediately by running under cold water. This will also keep the tortellini from sticking.
  • The dressing can be made in advance but do not add to the salad ingredients until you are ready to serve because of the oxidation from the avocado.
  • If you cannot find queso fresco cheese, simply omit.
  • If you are not a fan of cilantro, substitute parsley.
  • Find the tortellini in the section with the fresh pasta. This is often near the dairy section.
complete salad in a large white bowl

Looking for more salad ideas?

squared off view, top down into the salad bowl

Tortellini Salad with Avocado Dressing

Tortellini salad with avocado dressing is perfect for a potluck. With black beans, veggies, pasta, and creamy dressing, this recipe is always a hit.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: avocado dressing, salad with avocado, tortellini salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Authur: Erica
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 517kcal


  • 1 10 oz bag chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 9 oz pkg fresh cheese tortellini cooked according to package directions, drained, and rinsed with cold water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 recipe prepared Avocado Herb Dressing see Notes
  • 4 oz queso fresco cheese crumbled
  • garnish: fresh cracked pepper and additional queso fresco cheese


  • Toss all of the ingredients together and serve immediately.


If you are not serving right away, keep the dressing separate until ready to serve. The dressing will keep for a day, but will oxidize once added to the rest of the ingredients because of the avocado. 
Calorie estimation is approximate and includes the salad dressing.


Calories: 517kcal


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