Hawaiian Pasta Salad with Tortellini

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Hawaiian Pasta Salad is like a party in your mouth! It’s a blend of your favorite island flavors in a fabulously bright, sweet, and tangy summer pasta salad. A simple recipe with an outstanding pineapple-ginger dressing, this pasta Hawaiian salad will be a hit everywhere you take it.

titled: Hawaiian Tortellini Pasta Salad


Hawaiian Pasta Salad

My favorite Hawaiian pizza is a hand-tossed crust with marinara sauce that is fully loaded with ham, pineapple, red onion, and peppers.

I took all those amazing pizza flavors and transformed them into my newest summer salad creation!

It all starts with a rainbow of vegetables, ham, tortellini, and pineapple, of course.

But the real magic is the dressing — a sweet, pineapple mixture with a little kick from ginger is the perfect complement to this fun and non-traditional Hawaiian tortellini salad.

The flavors in this Hawaiian pasta salad recipe are so summery and refreshing that I could not stop eating it.

I did manage to share it with family and friends though. What can I say, I love to feed people!

Hawaiian flavors are some of my favorites, so it’s no wonder I’ve used them in kabobs, meatballs, and even in a sweet dessert.

And if you’re looking for a traditional Hawaiian pasta salad, check out my mac salad recipe!

cooked tortellini in a large mixing bowl

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cheese Tortellini – I’ll usually grab a bag of frozen, but fresh works too. Cook according to the package directions, or cook for slightly less time if you plan on having leftovers.
  • Ham – Ask for extra thick slices at the deli counter or look for ham steaks with the lunch meat and sausages.

    You can also use leftover holiday ham — my orange honey glazed version would be perfect for Hawaiian pasta salad!
  • Veggies – Use a rainbow medley of orange bell peppers, English cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.

    Feel free to swap the orange peppers for red or yellow, but avoid green as they would be too bitter.

    You can use regular cucumbers too (I suggest peeling them first) or swap for garden fresh zucchini!
  • Pineapple Tidbits – Not to be confused with pineapple chunks, canned tidbits are much smaller and easier to mix throughout this pasta Hawaiian salad.

    Be sure to reserve the juice when you drain the pineapple — you’ll need some for the dressing!
  • Creamy Dressing – Combine mayonnaise and sour cream for the base, then mix in reserved pineapple juice, Dijon mustard, and a little sugar.

    Greek yogurt is a good swap for the sour cream if needed.

    I like to use garlic paste and ginger paste to save some extra work (find them with the produce), but you can use finely minced garlic cloves and freshly grated garlic root if you’d like.
chopped ham added to bowl of tortellini

Tips and Tricks to Make the Best Pasta Salad with Hawaiian Flavor

  • Chop all the veggies to similar sizes.

This makes pasta salad easier to eat, and you’re guaranteed to get a little bit of everything in each bite.

I’ve got a handy kitchen hack for slicing cherry tomatoes too — all you need are a couple of Tupperware lids!

  • Adjust the amount of dressing to your liking.

The amounts listed give you a thick, creamy coating on this Hawaiian pasta salad, but some may prefer a lighter version.

In that case, start with half of the dressing and see what you think. You can drizzle in a little more at a time until it looks just right, then save the rest for refreshing leftovers.

  • Let it chill for an hour before serving.

There’s nothing wrong with serving this Hawaii pasta salad right away. Trust me, I hardly ever wait!

But giving it some time in the fridge allows all the flavors to meld together, plus the pasta will soak up a bit of the dressing too.

adding pineapple tidbits to ham and tortellini in a large mixing bowl

Prep Ahead

  • Dice ham
  • Chop veggies
  • Mix dressing

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Large Pot and Strainer for the tortellini
  • Quality Knives and a big solid Cutting Board make prepping a breeze and are well worth the investment.
  • Salad Bowl – My favorite for serving pasta salad, Hawaiian or otherwise!
  • Mason Jar – I absolutely love these for homemade salad dressing — shake and store with ease!
  • Salad Tongs – These bamboo hands help to toss everything gently and are attractive enough for serving as well.
cucumber and orange bell pepper added to hawaiian pasta salad

Serving Suggestions

With meat, veggies, and cheese-stuffed pasta, this dish is filling enough for a meal. But it’s also a great option for potluck and cookouts!

Pair Hawaii pasta salad with pulled pork sliders or teriyaki chicken and a big bowl of tropical fruit salad.

Storing Leftover Pasta Hawaiian Salad

This creamy tortellini salad will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Any longer and it will start to get watery. The veggies and pasta will soften quite a bit too.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for the best texture and toss with a little extra dressing if they seem dry.

Hawaiian Pasta Salad Recipe FAQ

Can I use bottled dressing instead?

I highly recommend the homemade dressing listed, but there are some good store-bought options you can try.

Poppyseed dressing will lean more sweet and creamy, while honey mustard will add plenty of savory tang. And for a lighter option, pasta Hawaiian salad tastes just as good with a simple vinaigrette.

What makes this pasta salad Hawaiian?

It’s actually a play on Hawaiian pizza… which isn’t Hawaiian at all! It was created in Canada but given the name because of the pineapple used in the toppings.

As mentioned, I combined my favorite pizza topping flavors together (and added a few extras) to create this dish.

Can I make this Hawaiian pasta salad recipe ahead of time?

This is a fantastic make-ahead recipe! Toss the ingredients with just half of the dressing, reserving the rest in a separate container. If you use it all right away, the pasta may soak it up, leaving your Hawaii pasta salad too dry (or the tortellini a bit soggy).

Store both in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance. When you’re ready to serve, stir in the reserved dressing until evenly coated.

closeup of hawaiian pasta salad

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adding dressing to bowl of hawaiian pasta salad

pouring dressing over Hawaiian tortellini pasta salad

Hawaiian Pasta Salad with Tortellini

Donna Elick
Make Hawaiian Pasta Salad with ham, pineapple, colorful veggies, and cheesy tortellini — plus an outstanding pineapple-ginger dressing!
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Hawaiian
Method Stovetop
Servings 8



  • 19 ounces frozen cheese tortellini, or fresh
  • 2 orange bell peppers, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into quarters and sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2.5 cups diced ham
  • 14 ounces pineapple tidbits, in 100% pineapple juice (reserve the juice)


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, reserved from the can of pineapple tidbits
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste , or fresh grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste, or fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini according to directions on the package. Drain and set aside once cooked.
  • Chop ham and vegetables and set aside. Reserve pineapple juice for the dressing. Set aside. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • To a pint size mason jar, add dressing ingredients. Cover with lid and shake mason jar until dressing is combined. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss with salad tongs until well coated.
  • Serve and enjoy.


Donna’s Notes

Salad is excellent the next day. If you like a lighter dressing coating make 1/2 of the dressing recipe. This gives it a nice and thick coating.
If you do not have ginger paste, you can use finely diced fresh ginger or ground ginger to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon).
This is a fantastic make ahead salad. When making ahead, use 1/2 of the dressing when preparing the salad. Reserve the remaining dressing to pour over the salad before you serve. This will keep the salad nice and creamy. If you use all of the dressing initially your pasta may soak up all the dressing.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 451cal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 970mg | Sugar: 17g | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 3mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Hawaiian Tortellini Pasta Salad - PIN

Originally published April 2016, updated and republished June 2024

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  1. We loved this. Everyone went back for seconds. As we did like dressing, I didn't like how runny it was. I may try less juice next time.

  2. 5 stars
    This is my absolute go to salad for family get togethers and summer parties. So delicious !! My favorite !

    1. Hi Paula,
      This is one of our favorites as well! Thank you so much, we are so happy you enjoy it!
      TSRI Team Member,

  3. 5 stars
    I made this salad with out the ham, for a fundraiser luau party. (There were going to be vegetarians at the party ) There was not one tortellini left in my serving bowl. Everyone asked for the recipe! This is my new go to salad for all the barbecues I’ll be attending the ham

    Robin NJ

  4. I made this for dinner tonight. I substituted the ham for fried Spam. My Husband absolutely loved it! Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes!

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