Hawaiian Pasta Salad

This Hawaiian pasta salad recipe has everything you’ll find on a traditional Hawaiian pizza (minus the pizza dough)- cheese tortellini, pineapple, Canadian bacon and Mozzarella cheese nestled in a sweet and sassy, mayonnaise-free dressing. This is a great summer pasta salad great for groups or outdoor entertaining. 

Hawaiian pasta salad in wooden serving bowl.

About this recipe

Ingredients for Hawaiian pasta salad with pineapple

For the pasta salad, you’ll need:

  • Cheese tortellini-you can substitute with cheese ravioli if you prefer
  • Canadian bacon– you can substitute with diced ham
  • Pineapple– I use canned pineapple chunks or pineapple tidbits
  • Fresh Mozzarella – I recommend buying the small Ciliegine Mozzarella balls you find in the deli section of the grocery store, but you could also use fresh shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, salt, ground black pepper, 
  • Optional: grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh basil for garnish, bacon pieces, Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

For the dressing, you’ll need: Apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar and a little oil – vegetable oil or canola oil

How to make Hawaiian Pasta Salad

This is an overview; for exact instructions, see the recipe card below.

  • Heat and whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside
  • Cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain, rinse well with cool water, and place cooked pasta in a single layer on a paper towel or dish towel to dry thoroughly.
  • Place cheese tortellini in a large mixing bowl and drizzle some of the dressing over the pasta; combine well, cover and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • Once the Hawaiian pasta has cooled and marinated, add the sliced canadian bacon, drained pineapple chunks and Mozzarella balls; gently combine, making sure the Hawaiian pasta salad is well coated; add more dressing if you like.
  • Garnish with your choice of chopped basil, crushed red peppers and/or fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Serve chilled, room temperature or slightly warm
Close up image of Hawaiian pasta salad on serving spoon.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure the cooked pasta is thoroughly cooled before adding the salad dressing
  • Drain the canned pineapple; no need to rinse it
  • When combining the ingredients into the Hawaiian pasta salad, use a rubber spatula and fold-in the ingredients so the cheese tortellini doesn’t fall apart
Hawaiian pasta salad in wooden serving bowl.

Storage 

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Freezing is not recommended.

I hope you enjoy this easy recipe for Hawaiian pasta salad! It’s a light and refreshing alternative to the traditional Hawaiian macaroni salad and because it doesn’t contain mayonnaise, it is great for potlucks, picnics, family reunions or outdoor dining.

Hawaiian pasta salad with pineapple in wooden serving bowl.

Hawaiian Pasta Salad

Cheese tortellini, Canadian bacon, Mozzarella cheese and pineapple chunks nestled in a sassy, mayo-free dressing.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 10 cups
Author: Anecia Hero

Ingredients 

Salad Ingredients

  • 3 pounds cheese tortellini
  • 10 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into ⅛ pieces
  • 20 ounces pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained
  • 8 ounces Ciliegine (fresh Mozzarella balls, drained & cut in half_ See recipe notes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)

Instructions 

  • Make the dressing first so it can cool. In a medium saucepan, add apple cider vinegar, sugar and oil; cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from stove and allow to cool
    1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
  • In a large stockpot, bring 4-5 quarts of water to boil; add cheese tortellini and cook 2-3 minutes; drain, rinse under cool water, and place on a paper towel or dish towel in a single layer to continue to cool and drain
    3 pounds cheese tortellini
  • While pasta is cooking, dice Canadian bacon into bite size pieces, drain the pineapple, and drain the Mozzarella balls, then cut them in half. Set all this aside
    10 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into ⅛ pieces, 20 ounces pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained, 8 ounces Ciliegine (fresh Mozzarella balls, drained & cut in half_
  • Transferred cooled pasta to large mixing bowl; drizzle ⅓ cup of the dressing, salt and pepper over the pasta and combine gently with a spatula; cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes
    ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Add drained pineapple, diced Canadian bacon and Mozzarella cheese to pasta; gently combine; at this point, taste for salt and add more if you like; add more dressing if you prefer; sprinkle in a little crushed red pepper flakes (you may not want to use a whole tablespoon; it's up to you)
    10 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into ⅛ pieces, 20 ounces pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained, 8 ounces Ciliegine (fresh Mozzarella balls, drained & cut in half_, 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • Garnish (optional) with chopped basil, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes or shredded Parmesan and serve

Notes

Pasta
Make sure the pasta is good and dry before you add the dressing
When combining the pasta salad ingredients use a rubber spatula and be gentle so the pasta won’t tear
Ciliegine
This is small, fresh Mozzarella balls that are stored in water; you’ll usually find them in the gourmet or deli section of the grocery store. If you can’t find them, buy a big ball of fresh Mozarella and cut it up into bite-size pieces.

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1cupCalories: 667kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 32gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 1120mgPotassium: 219mgFiber: 6gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 419IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 323mgIron: 4mg
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