Pesto Tortellini with Sausage

Pesto tortellini with sausage is an easy 30-minute dinner! Cheese-filled pasta is tossed with pesto, zucchini, yellow squash, and Italian sausage for a simple dish that’s full of flavor.

pasta, tortellini, and squash with pesto in a pan.

I’m into the seasonal transitional dinners right now which is just a fancy way of saying dinners that combine what’s left of summer with a little fall heartiness. In this case, pesto tortellini with all the summer squash and basil pesto for a pop of freshness.

And it’s usually piles of zucchini and summer squash that are hanging around this time of year. Anyone who has grown their own or been gifted a bag from an overzealous gardening neighbor who planted too much might be looking for other ways to use besides zucchini bread, so consider this your new favorite way to use it up.

It’s full of flavor and a great summer-to-fall meal – you get the bright, fresh flavor from the squash, basil, and a squeeze of lemon combined with the warm and hearty Italian sausage and four cheese pasta. It’s the best of both seasons and only takes 30 minutes. Two absolutely perfect reasons to make it.

How to Make It

And (of course!) it includes one of my all-time favorite short-cuts: store-bought cheese tortellini. Boil it while you make the rest of the dish in a separate pan.

steps for making the dish.

Brown the Italian sausage in a large pan. Use mild or spicy – we like choices! Once it’s cooked, remove it from the pan and add your sliced zucchini and yellow squash.

Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice while they’re cooking and scrape up any delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Cook the veggies until they’ve softened, add the sausage back in along with the cooked tortellini. Give it all a good stir and add some pesto. Use store-bought or homemade – more choices!

Garnish with another squeeze of lemon, grated Parmesan, and chopped parsley (of course!).

Recipe Questions My Friends Might Ask

Can I use turkey sausage?

Yes, just make sure it’s Italian turkey sausage and not breakfast sausage.

Can I use ground beef?

Yes, you can sub ground beef (or ground turkey) but I would add a few teaspoons of Italian seasoning and garlic powder while it cooks.

How long do the leftovers keep?

Pesto tortellini will keep for a few days in the fridge. It might be a little dry after it’s chilled, so add more pesto or some lemon juice when you warm it up.

I don’t like zucchini!

That’s not a question, so I will rephrase for you: What if I don’t like zucchini? No worries, you can sub a vegetable you do like! Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, fresh spinach… you get the idea. You may need to adjust the cooking time because some take longer or less time to cook.

Why does summer have to end?

Because it does but our memories of it don’t. Take them with you into the fall, accept what is, and know it will be okay ❤

Happy cooking, friends. I hope you give this pesto tortellini a try and let me know how you liked it!

Happy pasta dinner-making,

a pan of pesto tortellini with a wooden spoon.

More Dinner Recipes You Might Like

Here are a few more recipes with my favorite pasta shortcuts!


Pesto Tortellini with Sausage

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Tortellini tossed with pesto, zucchini, summer squash, and hearty Italian sausage. This is an easy 30-minute dinner.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 (9-ounce) package fresh four-cheese tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (spicy or mild)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half-moon shapes
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into half-moon shapes
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and set it aside.
  2. In a medium-sized pan heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown it, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it’s cooked through remove it from the pan and set it aside.
  3. Add the zucchini and yellow squash to the same pan and cook them until they’ve softened, about five minutes or so. Add the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any browned bits of the bottom of the pan. Add the sausage and salt and give it all a good stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and pesto and stir.
  4. Garnish each serving with a squeeze of lemon, grated Parmesan, and chopped parsley.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 814
  • Sugar: 3.4g
  • Sodium: 1639.2mg
  • Fat: 61.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 19.3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 38.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.6g
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Protein: 29.2g
  • Cholesterol: 116.7mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First published in October 2015.


  1. YUM! I have been on the lookout lately for recipes like this because I am moving out of college soon so will be actually cooking for myself – super exciting but will need lots of quick, healthy recipes like this -and I love how you still made your own pesto. Thanks so much for the inspiration! <3

  2. This looks so filling and perfect for this time of year! I love cheese tortellini and don’t eat them as much as I want to. I think this is going on the menu for this weekend. Thanks!

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