When it came time for me to start developing this recipe for a ravioli salad, I was very excited at the possibilities. The day I was to start testing it, I literally woke up in the early morning hours with mental visions of how I wanted this salad to look and taste.
After experimenting with different ingredients in the kitchen, I finally perfected this ravioli pasta salad and can’t think of single thing I’d do differently.
This recipe is easy to make, tastes delicious and can be made in 20 minutes!
It fits all the important checkboxes – it’s easy and quick to make, uses simple Italian ingredients, and is out-of-this-world delicious.
What is a Ravioli Salad
We all know what ravioli is, right? If you’re new around here and don’t know, ravioli is pasta shaped as circles or squares stuffed with cheese and/or other ingredients like spinach or meat. Generally, we cook the ravioli and serve it warm with a red sauce or olive oil.
However, this pasta salad is similar but very different. I’ll explain.
First, a ravioli salad is served cold, not warm. Secondly, it doesn’t require a marinara sauce or other tomato-based sauce. Instead we use freshly chopped tomatoes to mimic the sauce.
And if you’re thinking the pasta salad would taste starchy or tough, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised at how light and refreshing the ravioli was when served cold.
Fortunately, there are no extra steps needed after the pasta is cooked, except to let it cool (which we do by running it under cold water).
List of Ingredients for Ravioli Pasta Salad
The ingredients for this ravioli pasta salad recipe can be easily purchased at the grocery store. And if you grow your own tomatoes and herbs, you’ve just made the recipe even more economical. Here is the list of ingredients.
You can view the detailed recipe further below.
Frozen cheese-filled ravioli
These are found in your frozen foods section. They can be squares or circles. This recipe uses cheese filled ravioli. Estimate 15 ravioli per serving. This recipe is for 4 servings.
Use 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes. Since this is a fresh pasta salad, we use fresh tomatoes. Do not use canned tomatoes. Grape, cherry, or any other tomato is fine.
Use one cup chopped and pitted olives from a jar. You can use a mix of black and kalamata olives, but if you don’t want to use both, choose kalamata olives.
I recommend buying pitted olives; it’s not worth the time to pit them yourselves. Plus, this removes the possibility of anyone choking on the pits.
All you need is no more than a 1/2 cup shaved onions. By this, I mean sliced onions that are paper thin. Since this is a light ravioli salad recipe, we don’t want the onions to overpower the other ingredients. See image below.
Italian Herb Dressing
I recommend making the dressing and then adding it to the salad when the ravioli is cold not hot. This will allow the dried herbs and garlic to be distributed more evenly throughout the salad vs adding them individually.
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t like a lot of olive oil, then use slightly more than a quarter of a cup. Otherwise, use 1/3 of a cup.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 diced or minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp pepper
How to Make Ravioli Salad
This recipe is so easy to make. I’ll step it out for you now.
Step 1. Start cooking the pasta. If you don’t know how to cook ravioli, check out my article or read the instructions on the packaging.
Basically, just bring the water to a boil, add the frozen ravioli, then reduce the heat to a very low boil. Boil them until they are floating and cooked through.
PRO TIP – I overcook my ravioli slightly to make sure there are no tough doughy edges. Plus, unlike hot ravioli, these do not continue to cook when removed from the boiling water.
Step 2. Grab a large serving pasta bowl or salad bowl and take one of the cloves of garlic and slice in half and rub the sides with the open side of the clove.
Keep the cloves for later. We’ll add all the other ingredients to this bowl, and it will be our serving bowl.
Step 3. While the ravioli is cooking, chop your tomatoes. Smaller is better for serving. This is something I tested when creating this recipe, although I only had grape tomatoes.
When I cut the grape tomatoes in half they were too big and difficult to spear with the fork due to the slippery tomato skin.
However, when they were cut into much smaller pieces, I could easily scoop them up with the fork just fine along with the other ingredients.
Step 4. Slice the onion very thin. You only need about ½ cup of thinly sliced onions. When I sliced the onions lengthwise and then cut them into smaller pieces, this added just enough flavor when eating a bite.
If you try to dice the onions, they will be too chunky and I really wanted a delicate flavor.
Step 5. Chop 1 cup of olives. I roughly chop/slice the olives which works well. And since they are easy to spear, don’t worry about making them really small.
Step 6. Start making the Italian dressing by pouring a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil into a small mason jar or liquid measuring cup.
Step 7. Add in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
Step 8. Add in 1/2 tsp oregano. Quick note – the oregano helps give a nicer depth than just basil. I don’t typically do this combo with my recipes, but this one really deserves it with the cold pasta.
Step 9. Add in 1 tsp dried basil.
Step 10. Mince the garlic cloves by dicing with a knife or using a garlic press. Add them to the dressing.
Quick note – if the cloves are large, then only use one. If they are small or medium, use two. If you love garlic, use two.
Step 11. Mix the dressing ingredients and let them sit.
Step 12. Once the ravioli is finished, run it under cold water until it is fully cooled, including the cheese inside. Drain and add to the serving bowl.
Step 13. Add in all the other ingredients and top with the dressing we made. Mix well with a large spoon and enjoy!
Here are some questions you may have about this recipe.
What type of ravioli to use?
I recommend cheese filled ravioli pasta for this recipe. Since we are using ingredients like fresh tomatoes, olives, and onions, I think a meat filled ravioli would not taste right.
I’ve seen spinach filled ravioli and I didn’t try this, but again, I just don’t think it would go with the rest of the dish.
Can I use regular Italian dressing vs homemade?
You can, but it won’t be the same. Most commercial Italian dressings are made with cheap ingredients that lack flavor.
Save yourself money and disappointment and make your own using the ingredients I listed above.
Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs for this cold ravioli salad?
I think that the dried herbs mix better with the dressing than fresh herbs. However, you can use fresh herbs, but I would double the quantity this recipe calls for.
Can a pasta salad with ravioli be made in advance?
Absolutely! In fact, I think letting the ravioli marinate with the dressing, tomatoes, and other ingredients overnight is perfect.
You can store your ravioli salad in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Like many salads using fresh tomatoes, like my caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, I do not recommend freezing the salad since it’s using fresh ingredients like the tomatoes.
Plus, it might be prone to form ice crystals from the moisture content and I’d want to avoid that. Ready my post if you want to know more details about storage and how long is pasta salad good for in the fridge based on different ingredients.
How to Serve a Summer Ravioli Salad
This is the fun part – how to serve the pasta salad! Here are some tips.
1. Serve in a large serving bowl with a large serving spoon.
2. Serve the salad on plates rather than bowls since the ravioli needs to be cut when eating. Trying to do this in a bowl is too cumbersome since the ravioli salad includes other fresh ingredients we want to scoop up.
Other Recipes to Serve with a Cold Ravioli Salad
For large get-togethers, picnics, and parties, make an antipasto platter which can complement the dish, especially with the rolled-up salami and other Italian meats.
I’d recommend serving this recipe with some baked homemade garlic Italian or artisan bread that can be used to help soak up some of the tomato juices. It is a perfect match!
Similar Cold Salad Recipes
If you enjoy this type of Italian recipe, I recommend checking out these other recipes too.
Enjoy this angel hair pasta salad that is super easy and full of Italian flavor.
Get your protein with this Italian garbanzo bean salad! It’s delicious and is even better the next day.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe for my ravioli salad. You can view the recipe card below for easy to read instructions and quantities.
Let me know in the comments section below how you enjoyed it and if you made any modifications to make it your own. I’d love to hear from you!
- 4 cups frozen cheese-filled ravioli estimate 15 ravioli per serving
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped olives Kalamata or mix with black olives
- 1/2 cup sliced onions Slice paper thin then cut in half to make them short.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Cook ravioli according to package instructions. Make sure to gently boil them so they do not burst and let out any of the filling.
- Meanwhile, slice a garlic clove in half and rub it on the inside of the serving or mixing bowl. Save the garlic so we can use it later.
- Chop the tomatoes into diced pieces., the smaller the better, so we can easily pick them up with the fork.
- Chop or slice the olives.
- Thinly slice the onion so they are paper thin and then cut them into smaller pieces.
- Create the dressing by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, minced garlic, and black pepper. Mix well until incorporated.
- When the ravioli is done, run it under cold water until it is cold inside and out. You don't want the filling to still be warm or hot.
- Drain and add to the serving bowl we rubbed with garlic.
- Add in all the ingredients along with the dressing and mix with a spoon until everything is coated with the dressing.
- Serve cold and enjoy!