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Easy Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe

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Caprese pasta salad is an easy, delicious dish that’s perfect for the summertime. It’s a delectable combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and pasta – paired with balsamic vinaigrette and you have a flavorful and healthy side dish in no time! Plus, this dish can easily feed four to six people.

A spoonful of caprese pasta salad.

Why You’ll Love This Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe

You’ll love this recipe because it’s the perfect combination of freshness and flavor. The main ingredients are tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and pasta all brought together with a simple balsamic dressing. Each bite is bursting with freshness from the juicy tomatoes, sweetness from the balsamic glaze, and saltiness from the cheese. Plus, it’s so easy to make – all you have to do is boil the pasta, mix the ingredients, and toss it with the dressing.

This dish can also be served warm or cold. If you want to make it ahead of time, simply prepare the salad and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. 

Plates of caprese pasta salad.

What is Caprese Salad?

Caprese salad (also called insalata caprese) is a traditional Italian recipe made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. It’s usually served as an appetizer or side dish and sometimes includes other ingredients like olives or peppers. The flavors work together to create one of the most popular salads in Italy!

This recipe is a fun twist on the traditional caprese salad, as it incorporates cooked pasta. The result is a delicious, side dish or light meal perfect for the summertime! Let’s look at how to make this simple recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make a caprese pasta salad.
  • 8 ounces mini farfalle pasta
  • 12 ounces multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (about 10 large leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls

Once you have all the ingredients, it’s time to put them together and create this mouthwatering salad.

Instructions

Bowl of cooked farfalle pasta.

Cook the pasta. Put a large pot of salted water on the stovetop to boil. When the water reaches a boil, add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. When the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside.

Quartered tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a glass mixing bowl.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the tomato mixture. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes, depending on their size. Finely chop the basil. Mince the garlic. Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small mixing bowl. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Set aside, and allow the flavors to meld for 5-10 minutes.

Balsamic vinaigrette being poured over a bowl of cooked pasta.

When the pasta is cool, add the balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, and mix to combine.

Mozzarella pearls, quartered tomatoes, and basil on top of pasta in a glass mixing bowl.

Add the tomato mixture and mozzarella pearls to the dressed pasta, and stir together well. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

A bowl of caprese pasta salad made with pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls.

Storage

Store leftover caprese pasta salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes and Tips

  • Feel free to substitute Roma or cherry tomatoes for the grape tomatoes in this recipe. Just be sure to scoop out the seeds in larger tomatoes before dicing so the dish doesn’t become too watery.
  • Feel free to substitute your favorite pasta in this recipe. I recommend a small or short pasta like fusilli or elbow macaroni.
Close up view of caprese pasta salad.

Tips for Serving

To ensure that your Caprese pasta salad is served at its best, follow these simple tips.

For best results, chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and make for a more delicious dish.

Consider adding a side of crusty bread or garlic bread to accompany the dish and soak up any leftover dressing.

Now that you know how to serve the Caprese pasta salad like a pro, let’s take a look at some variations on the recipe to switch things up and make it even more interesting.,

Fork getting a bite of caprese pasta salad.

Variations on the Recipe

Feel free to get creative with this classic summer dish. Here are a few variations on the recipe that are sure to impress your guests:

1. Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad: Replace the balsamic dressing with a homemade pesto sauce for a fresh twist on the traditional recipe. Toss in some pine nuts for added texture and flavor.

2. Caprese Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables: Fire up the grill and add smoky flavor to your pasta salad by grilling vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant. Add them to the salad along with the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella for a colorful and tasty dish.

3. Greek Caprese Pasta Salad: Replace the basil with fresh oregano and add some Kalamata olives and feta cheese to give this salad a Mediterranean flair. Drizzle with a lemon and olive oil dressing to tie it all together.

4. Caprese Pasta Salad with Shrimp: Add protein to your salad to make a complete meal by tossing in cooked shrimp. Sprinkle with some red pepper flakes and lemon juice for a little kick.

5. Caprese Pasta Salad Skewers: For a fun and portable twist on the salad, thread cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and pasta onto skewers. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing and serve as an appetizer.

With these variations on the traditional Caprese pasta salad, keep your potluck guests guessing and satisfied all summer long.

Caprese Pasta Salad is the perfect summer potluck dish that is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can create a dish that is not only delicious but also beautiful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and add your personal touch. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family? As the saying goes, “food is love,” and what better way to show it than with a Caprese Pasta Salad.

A spoonful of caprese pasta salad made with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.

Caprese Pasta Salad

Made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and cooked pasta – paired with balsamic vinaigrette – this dish will please everyone! With this salad, you’ll have a delicious and healthy dish that feeds 4-6 people in no time.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 339kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces farfalle pasta
  • 12 ounces grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves about 10 large leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta. Put a large pot of salted water on the stovetop to boil. When the water reaches a boil, add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. When the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, prepare the bruschetta. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes, depending on their size. Finely chop the basil. Mince the garlic. Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a small mixing bowl. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Set aside, and allow the flavors to meld for 5-10 minutes.
  • When the pasta is cooled, add the balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, and mix to combine.
  • Add the bruschetta and mozzarella pearls to the dressed pasta, and stir together well. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Feel free to substitute Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for the grape tomatoes in this recipe. Just be sure to scoop out the seeds in larger tomatoes before dicing so that the dish doesn’t become too watery.
Feel free to substitute your favorite pasta in this recipe. I recommend a small pasta like fusilli or elbow macaroni.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 1mg
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Be sure to come back and tell us how your pasta salad turned out!

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