This Caprese Pasta Salad recipe works for any and all occasions! Filled with juicy cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil and simple olive oil balsamic dressing. This is such an easy dish but so delicious.
Summer is the season of pasta salads and we are here for this caprese salad style.
This recipe is perfect for using up those garden fresh tomatoes and basil.
This is one of those dishes that works great as meal prep or serving a crowd, but could also simply inspire you to use these flavors in a smaller way if you’re just looking for a quick and easy dinner to throw together for yourself.
What’s a Caprese Salad
Traditionally, an Italian caprese salad is a simple salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
We’re taking the heart of the caprese salad, then adding some pasta and a balsamic glaze for the most wonderful summer pasta salad.
Caprese Pasta Salad Ingredients
- pasta – I used campanelle but another short pasta like orecchiette, penne, fusilli (rotini), or even farfalle (bowtie) would work.
- fresh mozzarella – using fresh mozzarella is highly recommended for this recipe. If you can’t find fresh mozzarella, you could sub in crumbled goat cheese or freshly crumbled feta for a saltier flavor.
- cherry tomatoes – you can use red or a mix or red and yellow. Grape tomatoes also work.
- fresh basil – freshly sliced basil is the way to go here. Adds so much flavor.
- extra virgin olive oil – makes for a more flavorful dressing
- garlic – use a fresh garlic clove, minced.
- balsamic vinegar – used in the dressing as well as for the balsamic glaze.
Make this in Less Than 30 Minutes
Pasta salads are the ultimate quick and easy meal. If you have a garden at home (or one that family and friends share with you) making this caprese pasta salad is the perfect way to utilize all of the fresh garden produce. And it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the tomatoes, slice the basil and separate the mozzarella pearls.
You can combine the basil, tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl as you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
Once you’ve drained and rinsed the pasta, add the pasta to the bowl and pour on the simple dressing.
Simple Olive Oil Balsamic Dressing
This dressing could not be simpler – it’s just extra virgin olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, one clove of minced garlic and fine sea salt.
No fancy tools needed – just shake or whisk everything together in a glass jar.
Top it Off With Balsamic Glaze
To add even more flavor to this caprese pasta salad, I highly recommend serving it with a balsamic glaze. You can make your own or it’s easy to find at the grocery store as well.
To make balsamic glaze, in a small pot bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 3 tablespoons of maple syrup to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to half and coats back of spoon.
Ways to Serve
Add avocado chunks for a delicious creamy bite.
Add balsamic grilled chicken for a hearty meal.
Serve with this amazing salmon recipe or shrimp if you’re in the mood for seafood.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 1 lb short pasta, such as campanelle, rotini, orecchiette, cavatappi, etc.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 16 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
- black pepper for garnish
- Cook pasta according to pasta instructions. I recommend cooking al dente for pasta salad.
- Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in half and thinly slice the basil (you want about 1/2 cup sliced basil).
- Prepare the simple dressing by whisking together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and minced garlic.
- Once pasta is done, drain, rinse and transfer to a large bowl. Pour on half of the dressing, add sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Add the remaining dressing and gently toss to coat.
- Garnish with a little pepper and balsamic glaze; serve and enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1/8
- Calories: 484
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 373 mg
- Fat: 25 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 45 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 18 g
- Cholesterol: 30 mg