This simple Caprese Pasta Salad is such an easy recipe and works for any and all occasions! Filled with fresh ingredients juicy 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 style salad made with super simple ingredients.
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 extra-virgin olive oil.
We’re taking the heart of the traditional 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. You can also use a gluten free pasta if you need!
- 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. But truly, the fresh mozzarella cheese is one of my favorite things about the recipe.
- cherry tomatoes – Grape tomatoes also work. If you like the the tomato medleys, you’ll have a beautiful colorful caprese pasta salad
- fresh basil – thinly sliced fresh basil leaves are the way to go here. Adds so much flavor.
- extra virgin olive oil – makes for a more flavorful dressing
- garlic – use one fresh clove of garlic for optimal flavor.
- 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! Here’s a quick
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, making sure to follow directions for al dente pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the tomatoes, slice the basil and separate the fresh mozzarella pearls (or cut a ball of fresh mozzarella into chunks).
Combine the basil, sweet cherry tomatoes 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 with the rest of the ingredients and pour on the simple dressing. Taste test for flavor – feel free to finish off with a little kosher salt if you’d like.
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
This is the perfect side dish to serve alongside any meal. It also works well at cookouts, potlucks, a light lunch – you name it!
Here are some more ways to add flavor and serve:
- Add avocado chunks for a delicious creamy bite.
- Drizzle with basil pesto for additional flavor.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts for a little crunch.
- Add balsamic grilled chicken for a hearty meal.
- For a little kick, add some red pepper flakes.
- Serve with this amazing salmon recipe or shrimp if you’re in the mood for seafood.
You can make this pasta salad in ahead of time (up to one day ahead for best flavor) just be sure to store in an airtight container in the fridge. Best enjoyed within 3-4 days.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and star rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
Caprese Pasta Salad
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.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: sides
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Indian Inspired
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 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
Keywords: caprese salad, summer pasta salad, caprese salad cherry tomatoes