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10-Minute Pesto Tortellini Recipe

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Incredibly easy and simple pesto tortellini is a family favorite at our house. Whip up this tortellini pesto in less than 10 minutes for those times when you need a super simple, super fast dinner. Serve the pasta with a simple side like 5-minute frozen peas for a complete meal in less than 10 minutes. You can also make some simple crockpot pesto chicken thighs to pair with this meal (will take a bit of planning ahead, but minimal prep time).

This tortellini with pesto meal is one of the “activity night meals” in the Weeknight Dinner Club and it’s specifically designed for the nights when you have sports, music, meetings, or any other evening activity. Try my easy meat sauce and spaghetti or chicken tostadas next time!

Plate with pesto tortellini and peas.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

What You’ll Love About Pesto Tortellini

  • 5-10 minute dinner
  • Activity night dinner
  • Tons of flavor
  • Can be adjusted for kids learning to like pesto
  • Made with just 3 simple ingredients
  • Satisfying and filling meal


You’ll need just three basic ingredients to make cheese tortellini with pesto:

  • Cheese tortellini – You can use any tortellini, I love the simplicity of cheese and we recently tried a mozzarella cheese tortellini which was a big hit with the kids.
  • Pesto – You can use store-bought pesto or homemade pesto. If we have homemade, that’s my first choice, but jarred pesto is also delicious and very convenient. Kirkland pesto (in refrigerator section) is awesome but there are plenty other delicious brands as well.
  • Parmesan cheese – Serve the cheese at the table and let everyone add their own. Bonus points for freshly shredded, but pre-grated works in a pinch and is still delicious.
Ingredients to make tortellini with pesto.

How to Make Pesto Tortellini

Ok, let’s make this tortellini with pesto sauce! You may not need instructions, but I’ll break it down:

  • Cook pasta. Cook tortellini in salted, boiling water in a large pot, just until cooked through, according to package instructions. Most tortellini cooks in just a few minutes so be careful to not overcook it or it will turn mushy.
Cooked tortellini in strainer.
  • Toss with pesto. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in pesto GENTLY to coat.

TIP: Leave out some plain tortellini if you have kids who are unsure of pesto.

Pot of cheese tortellini with pesto sauce.
  • Serve pesto cheese tortellini. Serve pasta with Parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.

EXTRAS: If you want to add in some extras to this basic meal, try topping the pasta with shredded chicken, toasted pine nuts, roasted cherry tomatoes, or even panko garlic breadcrumbs (recipe from scallop linguine recipe).

Frequently Asked Questions

What does tortellini pair well with?

Well it depends on the type of tortellini. Cheese tortellini pairs perfectly with a simple sauce like basil pesto! But depending on the variety and filling of tortellini, sometimes a simple drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt is also a delicious for fillings that have a bit more flavor.

How do I make jar pesto pasta better?

There are a few ways to up-level your jarred pesto! Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, seasoning with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper if needed, and serving with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

Can you make creamy pesto tortellini?

Yes, to make creamy pesto tortellini, simply whisk some heavy cream into the prepared pesto. Use about 1-2 tablespoons per 1/2 cup pesto, adding more to taste if desired. Don’t skimp on the Parmesan, either!

How can I make this into a tortellini pasta salad?

To turn this into a pesto tortellini salad (perfect for a cookout or potluck or a picnic lunch) prepare as directed but after straining, add tortellini to large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Let cool. Toss with pesto and stir in any desired additions: thinly sliced fresh spinach, sliced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, sliced black olives, and any other additions that you would like. Add more pesto thinned with olive oil if needed.

Is pesto pasta healthy?

Hear me out on this. There is no denying that tortellini with pesto is calorie-dense, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing! Especially if you’re serving it on a night that you are limited in time, it can be helpful to have a meal that will be filling and satisfying – without taking 30 minutes to eat it.

Storage Instructions

Store the tortellini and pesto in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

How to reheat

Reheat pasta gently in a hot skillet or the microwave. It’s also delicious served at room temperature.

Plate with tortellini pesto and parmean.

How to Serve Tortellini with Pesto to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉

Pasta is usually a pretty family-friendly food, but if your kids don’t like tortellini you could always make plain pasta with the option of adding pesto or keeping it plain.

You can also serve the meal with fruit, milk, and bread if this is a meal they may not be into.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

What to Serve with Tortellini Pesto

I think sides are optional with this pesto tortellini recipe, but if you want to include a veggie or stretch the main, try one of these simple sides:

More Easy Pasta Recipes

If you like this tortellini pesto recipe, you might also like some of these other easy pasta recipes:

In a dinner time rut? Overwhelmed with the task of meal planning?

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This done-for-you plan can easily be customized and your grocery list is made with the click of a button – all while you sit in the school pick up line.

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Plate with pesto tortellini and peas.

Tortellini with Pesto

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This pesto tortellini is a great activity night dinner for when you need dinner in 15 min or less! Make tortellini with pesto w/ just 3 ingredients.


Units Scale
  • 20 oz. prepared cheese tortellini (or about that)
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper, red pepper flakes


  1. Prepare cheese tortellini according to package instructions. (Most prepared tortellini cook in about 3 minutes.) Drain pasta and return to pot.
  2. Toss pesto over pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Keywords: pesto tortellini, tortellini pesto, tortellini with pesto

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