Muffaletta Tortellini Salad + Video

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Muffaletta Tortellini Salad is a scrumptious Italian pasta salad with the classic flavors of a muffuletta sandwich rolled into one super simple, cold summer side dish!!

titled (shown in glass serving bowl) muffaletta tortellini salad


You’ll be making this easy Italian pasta salad recipe all year long, because it’s the perfect use for leftover ham!!

Have you ever been to New Orleans?  Nawlin’s as the locals call it.

We had an awesome trip last year and I fell in love with the food! Of course, we made a stop for beignets and a Cafe Du Monde Frozen Café Au Lait.

My favorite NOLA food of the whole vacation was a muffuletta sandwich! I may have had several, and even taken one to the airport with me…

What is a muffuletta?

It’s a Sicilian sandwich that originated in New Orleans more than 100 years ago.  Honestly, I have never had a sandwich quite so good in my life.

Loaded with my favorite Italian deli meats and cheeses, muffulettas are topped with the most amazing olive salad you can find.

I have been thinking about it since we left Louisiana last summer,  knowing that I would be making a fabulous marinated olive salad with olives and oils.

Although I had a ton of ideas, I decided on an Italian pasta salad for this amazing spin on the classic muffuletta recipe.

Muffaletta Tortellini Salad

Bursting with Italian flavor from the salami and ham to cheeses and olive salad, this Italian pasta salad is great served cold or hot.

Because pasta salads are so popular during the spring holidays, this is a fantastic use for leftover ham!!

Olive salad is packed with olives, Italian vegetables and spices to create the most amazing flavor combination you can add to pasta or a sandwich.

You are going to love this muffaletta pasta salad.  I ate it for a week straight.

Helpful Tips for making Muffaletta Pasta Salad

  1. Meats and cheeses and be purchased at your grocery store deli counter.  As for them to be thick cut (approximately 1/4”- 1/2”).
  2. Giardiniera is an Italian mix of pickled vegetables and can be found in your grocery store near the pickles and olives.
  3. Recipe can be halved.
  4. Salad can be prepped ahead several days ahead by making the olive salad and placing in the refrigerator.  Cut meats and cheeses and refrigerate. 

    On the day you wish to serve cook tortellini and prepare salad. Muffaletta Tortellini Salad will keep for several days to a week in the fridge.

Kitchen Tools You Need

  • Colander This kitchen essential makes life so much easier! You can use it to drain the tortellini for this pasta salad.
  • Cutting Boards – I have an assortment of cutting boards. This set is nice, because I can use one for uncooked meats and another for fresh produce.

    I use my cutting boards daily, so it’s worth the investment. 
  • Quality Kitchen Knives A good quality knife set makes prep time much quicker, and it’s important for safety as well. 

    If you make one kitchen investment, I believe it should be in quality knives.

muffaletta pasta salad in glass serving bowl

bowl of italian pasta salad with leftover ham

Muffaletta Tortellini Salad + Video

Donna Elick
Muffaletta Tortellini Salad is an Italian pasta salad recipe with the flavors of a muffuletta sandwich! A great way to use leftover ham!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 12


  • 4 ounces Genoa salami, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 ounces mortadella, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 ounces capicola, or ham, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese, cut into bite size cubes
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into bite size cubes
  • 32 ounces frozen tortellini

Olive Salad

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces Italian giardiniera, chopped (usually sold in 6 ounce jars)
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained


  • Prepare the olive salad:
    In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley and black pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • Prepare deli meats and cheeses:
    Cut meats and cheeses into bite size pieces, approximately 1/4”- 1/2” in size. Toss well to combine and coat everything well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Remove from heat, drain water and add tortellini back to the cooking pot.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of reserved olive oil over drained tortellini and stir to combine. Add olive salad to drained tortellini and gently stir to combine. Toss in chopped meats and cheeses and stir again.
  • Transfer pasta salad to a serving bowl to serve immediately, or to an airtight container to serve within 5 days.


Donna’s Notes

Meats and cheeses and be purchased at your grocery store deli counter. Ask for them to be thick cut (approximately 1/4”- 1/2”).
Giardiniera is an Italian mix of pickled vegetables and can be found in your grocery store near the pickles and olives.
Prep Ahead Instructions
Recipe can be prepped several days ahead by making the olive salad and storing it, covered, in the refrigerator. Cut meats and cheeses and refrigerate. On the day you wish to serve, cook tortellini and prepare salad. Muffaletta pasta salad will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 522cal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1706mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 245mg | 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!

 Originally published July 2014, updated and republished June 2022.

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  1. It is a constant amusement for us here in Italy to see what Americans can do to Italian food! Tortellini is never eaten like this…it is a sacrilege. It is ALWAYS eaten only in brodo!!! Every new extreme takes our wonderful cuisine to new depths of contradiction & unoriginality. The ingredients in this recipe aren't even found in the same regions here in Italy let alone in a single dish! But if it is loved in America…who am I to question? But I would make note of one curiosity from the written text. How can a sandwich be called Sicilian if it was originated in New Orleans?

    Giacomino Nicolazzo
    [email protected]

    1. Hello Giaco, I would hardly call this recipe unoriginal. Tortellini eaten in broth is, indeed, good; however, a bit one-dimensional. Tortellini is the perfect perfect building block for all kinds of imaginative recipes. As you can see from the overwhelming response, this recipe is well received. America is one big melting pot of all cultures and we welcome your cuisine and enjoy it in many different ways. In answer to your question, how can a Sicilian sandwich originate in New Orleans, I bet it was invented by a very creative Sicilian immigrant!

      Mary Beth

    2. Hello! I must agree with Giacomino. This this has nothing to do with italian cuisine. It may taste good but it's not italian for sure.

    3. Donna describes her Muffaletta Tortellini Salad as a pasta salad with classic "Italian flavors" inspired by the original Muffaletta Sicilian sandwich created in New Orleans. She did not refer to the salad as Italian cuisine.

  2. Making now say's to shred parmesan cheese how much and when do I add it?

    Making this now in the notes it say's to shred parmesan cheese how much and when do you add it

  3. Living in Australia I don't care where it originated or whether it's an Italian or New Orleans salad, it sounds WONDERFUL to me and I'm definitely going to make this for our dinner tonight as coincidentally I have everything required.

  4. I am sure this is an excellent recipe, because all of yours are, but if you need a shortcut, the local New Orleans grocery stores sell a jar of already made veggies and oil for this. Just looked and World Market sells this brand: Boscoli Italian Olive Salad. There are a few more brands, including Central Grocery which is awesome. Thanks for all your great recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    I love, love, love this recipe! I made a double batch yesterday and everyone in my house is steadily eating through it. I’d be surprised if it lasted tonight. Making this one again!!

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