Mexican Tortellini Salad

By Maria Lichty

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Mexican Tortellini Salad-cheese tortellini with black beans, tomatoes, corn, avocado, cotija cheese, and a simple cilantro vinaigrette. This easy pasta salad is great as a main dish or side dish. 

Mexican Tortellini Salad Recipe

We had a great time in San Francisco and visiting family in California. We were gone for a week and are happy to be home, but I am struggling with getting back into my routine. I was going to use the weekend to get caught up on work, laundry, and errands, but instead we played. We acted like we were still on vacation. I went on a trail run up the mountain with a friend, we took the boys fishing, went on a picnic, and went to a friend’s cabin. I didn’t tackle anything on my to do list. I am still in major vacation mode. I am not ready to get back to the real world.

I did make a Mexican Tortellini Salad for our picnic and took a few photos so I could count it as work:) This salad is hands down one of our favorite pasta salad recipes. We make it all of the time, especially during the summer months. If you like our Greek Tortellini Salad recipe, I bet you will love this one too! Both are winners!

Mexican Tortellini Salad Recipe on This salad is always a favorite at potlucks and parties!

Mexican Tortellini Salad Recipe

Pasta salads are a summer staple at our house during the hot summer months and this one is the best. It has all of my favorite things in one salad-cheese tortellini, black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cotija cheese. The simple cilantro vinaigrette brings all of the flavors together and is the perfect finishing touch to the salad.

Tortellini Salad Recipe

The pasta salad is hearty enough to be served as a main dish, we often eat it for dinner with watermelon and call it good. It is also a great dish to take to a potluck, BBQ, or picnic. It goes great with anything and everyone loves it! Plus, it can be made in advance. Just wait to add the avocado and cotija cheese until you are ready to serve. I also like to save a little of the cilantro vinaigrette so I can freshen up the salad right before serving. No one will know the salad was chilling in the fridge for hours. It is a great salad for entertaining!

Mexican Tortellini Salad Recipe

Enjoy this Mexican Tortellini Salad all summer long! I am going to eat leftovers today and get back to work. Or maybe I will pack up our salad and go on another picnic, or to the pool, or on a hike. I might never get out of vacation mode:) I love summer!

Mexican Tortellini Salad Recipe

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Mexican Tortellini Salad

This easy pasta salad is great as a main dish or side dish. It can also be made in advance which makes it perfect for parties and potlucks!
4.20 from 10 votes


For the Cilantro Vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves stems removed
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Tortellini Salad:

  • 19 oz fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 ear fresh sweet corn charred and kernels removed from cob
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
  • 2 ripe avocados chopped
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • First make the Cilantro Vinaigrette. Put the shallot, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  • Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour the tortellini into a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the Cilantro Vinaigrette to keep the tortellini from sticking. Add the corn, black beans, tomatoes, and avocado. Add the remaining vinaigrette and gently stir. Add the cotija cheese and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve.
  • Note-you can use frozen corn if you don't have fresh sweet corn. I like the flavor charred sweet corn adds to the salad though. You can make this a day in advance, but don't add the avocado or cotija cheese until ready to serve and save a little of the vinaigrette to toss right before serving. This will freshen up the salad.

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.20 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. Great twist on tortellini salad! It’s one of my faves, but I never thought to add black beans to it (which I love also!).

  2. Every time I think of the word “Tortellini” I think of that Family Circus cartoon with the kid who complains and whines about how he hates tortellini, until he tries it….and loves it. Loving all the ingredients in here so there’s no reason I won’t savor this salad. Time to chow down like the gym teacher I am!

  3. Pasta salads ARE so perfect for summer! And that cilantro vinaigrette must send it over the edge!

  4. Hi, I have never seen or heard of Cojita cheese. Can you tell me what its tastes like or a comparable alternative commonly available in the supermarket?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. It is a Mexican cheese. Most grocery stores have it. If you can’t find it, you can use queso fresco or feta cheese.

  5. This would be perfect for any cookout or summer pitch in—I’d park myself right next to the bowl with a spooon 🙂

  6. Just when I think how could there be another fabulous pasta salad out there, here comes this one, with a Mexican flair, no less! Going on my list! 🙂

  7. I was looking for interesting recipe for salad with tortellini and I think I find one 😉

  8. Hmmm. The Fresh Market has a Cilantro Avocado Vinaigrette salad dressing in their produce section – wonder if that would work in a pinch (instead of making your own dressing)?
    Beautiful dish.

    1. I’ve never had it so I don’t know how strong the spinach flavor is, but I bet it would be ok. I like spinach:)

  9. Yum! This looks delicious and so simple, I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of it! Can’t wait to try it… thanks for sharing!

  10. HI
    It would be difficult to get  cotija cheese where I live. Is there a good substiute?


    1. It might be kind of bland without the cilantro dressing. If you don’t like cilantro you can try a chipotle dressing or olive oil and add some fresh chives? The cilantro dressing really gives the salad flavor though.

  11. 4 stars
    This is delicious. I couldn’t find the cheese you used so I substituted with feta. A definite make again!