Tortellini with Avocado Pesto

Hey! Can I interest you in a bowl of tortellini with avocado pesto?!

Tortellini with avocado pea pesto on white plate

There’s nothing better than a bowl of fresh tortellini with avocado pesto

I’m wondering how you feel about tortellini?  And spring peas?  And avocado?  And tomatoes?  To me, all those things go together REALLY freakin’ well.  It just screams spring, ya know?  So let’s talk deets about this Tortellini with Avocado-Pea Pesto and Blistered Tomatoes, one delicious ingredient at a time.

1) Tortellini.  How can you go wrong?  It’s quick-cooking, so that’s score #1.  It’s pasta, so that’s score #2.  It’s stuffed with cheese, #3.  Any questions?  I don’t have any.  Plus, I buy the whole grain kind, so I’m getting some belly-loving fiber.  {That’s the Dietitian in me… always trying to find more wholesome fiber to squeeze in my diet.}  Plus I just love the texture of whole grains. Nomnomnomnom.

2) Avocado. Need I say more?  Creamy.  Delicious. Hearty.  {Ehm, super-nutritious.}  Just put it in the pesto and you’ll love yourself for it!

3) Spring peas.  I am totally a fan of frozen peas, so I use that in a lot of my pea-cooking, but they are super-fresh-and-delicious right now, so I recommend that in all of your springtime-colorful-green-cooking.  I know some people have beef with peas, but I think you should revisit them, more specifically, in this amazing Tortellini with Avocado-Pea Pesto and you’ll become a pea-fan! Promise!  {And if you have leftovers, make pea soup.}

4) Tomatoes.  Blistereddddd, friends, until they are charred and bright-red in all their glory.


5) Watercress {or another fun microgreen like pea shoots}.

Have you ever tried watercress?  The variety I found at the market this time around had rather large leaves, but oftentimes they are just tiny cute leaves.  It depends on where they are in their life cycle, I suppose.  It’s a pretty mild-tasting green, but it’s gaining popularity.  I think it’s been on the trending-vegetable-list a few times and will probably show back up on that list, and rightfully so.

What all have you made pesto out of?

You know, I find the whole ‘trendy vegetable’ thing quite amusing.  “Kale is out!  Cauliflower is in!”  “Is celery the new kale?”  As a Dietitian, I love the idea of vegetables being trendy {although I also love the idea of bacon being trendy…}, don’t get me wrong.  But I just think it’s intriguing how every year there is a new vegetable or two ‘of the year’.  Last I checked, most of us pick our veggie-faves by what’s in season, amiright?  So in all actuality, EVERY veggie is trendy at some point or another throughout the year {usually for about a month or two} and then we focus on the next veggie in season.  Either way, if veggies are among the most popular trending foods, I am totally happy — I’m not complainin’, I’m just gigglin’.  And if I can find Brussels sprouts and collard greens at my local bar & grill, I am one happy gurl.

ANYWAY, back to watercress.  It’s the perfect finishing touch because it brings out the green in this delicious pesto and it gives a pop of freshness and crunch.

Tortellini on white plate

We’re bringing it all home.  And if you’re like me, you’ll just stare at this dish for several minutes before eating it because it’s simply GORGE!


Tortellini with Avocado Pesto

Avocado pea pesto tossed with cheese-stuffed tortellini and blistered tomatoes.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10-15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10-15 mins
  • Total Time: 20-30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Stove-Top, No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian


Tortellini with Pesto:

  • 9-ounce package cheese tortellini
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup spring peas
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 23 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nuts {almonds, walnuts, pine nuts}
  • Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Blistered Tomatoes:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Dash coarse salt
  • ¼ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Drain and place in a bowl.
  2. Combine avocado, peas, basil, parsley, garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. While pulsing, drizzle in the olive oil, scraping sides regularly with a spatula, until pesto reaches desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Heat a cast iron grill pan to medium-high. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and season with the remaining salt. Place tomatoes in the hot pan and cook 1-3 minutes, until tomatoes are blistered.
  4. Stir together the pesto and tortellini until coated. Serve hot or cold with blistered tomatoes and garnish with Parmesan cheese.


Storage Tip: Keep tortellini in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 285
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 348mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 13mg

Keywords: easy, healthy, best, homemade, simple, quick, weeknight dinner

Tortellini  on white plate

Oh, and did I mention that you can totally eat this warm OR cold?  It’s just the cherry tomato on top of the tortellini, folks.

2 thoughts on “Tortellini with Avocado Pesto”

  1. I love tortellini! What a beautiful and interesting way to spice it up other than with the usual tomato sauce. I love the use of such fresh ingredients! And the watercress is the perfect touch on top!

    1. Hello Donna! I LOVE watercress! It’s such a bright and beautiful ingredient, and it goes so well with the avocado-pea pesto. And, you can never go wrong with cheese-stuffed tortellini :):)

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