Caprese Pasta Salad


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This Caprese pasta salad is filled with ripe grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and cool mozzarella tossed in a pesto vinaigrette and drizzled with a tangy balsamic glaze. It combines your favorite flavors of a fresh, summertime Caprese salad with the familiar backyard BBQ pasta salad.

Overhead shot of a Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl drizzled with balsamic glaze

You’ll Love This

  • It’s SO quick and easy! No fancy kitchen gadgets or cooking skills required for this recipe. If you can boil water, you can make this pasta salad!
  • It’s a simple recipe with real ingredients! Just a handful of REAL ingredients is all it takes to throw this Caprese pasta salad together. Use whatever ripe, juicy tomatoes are in season (or sun-dried tomatoes when they’re not) and your favorite fresh mozzarella.
  • It has two dressings! There’s a super tasty (and easy to make) basil pesto vinaigrette AND a balsamic reduction. Sometimes more is less, but in this case, more is better – trust me! There are some delicious options for a store-bought balsamic glaze, but if you’ve got the time try your hand at a homemade balsamic reduction. You literally just cook balsamic vinegar down in a saucepan until it reduces and becomes thick.
Close up shot of a Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl drizzled with balsamic glaze

Instructions

Toss cooked pasta in olive oil and sprinkle with a few large pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and set aside to cool to room temperature. 

White marble counter top with bowls of ingredients to make Caprese pasta salad

In a small mason jar, combine pesto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until well combined. 

Add pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to a large serving bowl. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the basil for garnish. 

Large white bowl filled with ingredients to make a Caprese pasta salad

Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Large white bowl filled with ingredients to make a Caprese pasta salad

Drizzle Caprese pasta salad with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh a bit more fresh basil. 

Overhead shot of a Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl drizzled with balsamic glaze

Tips

  • Salt your pasta water. Your pasta water should be as salty as the sea. Salting the pasta water is the first chance you have to season the pasta and is the best time to bring out all the flavors of your delicious noodles. Once you start salting your pasta, you will never stop!
  • Cook pasta just until al dente. There’s nothing worse than soggy noodles in a pasta salad. The noodles will continue to soak up a bit of the dressing as it sits, so cooking the noodles just until al dente will ensure that they don’t end up mushy.
  • If you have a few extra minutes, make your own pesto. If you don’t have the time to make homemade, store-bought pesto is just fine! But, if you’ve got the time – making homemade, fresh pesto will give you the very best flavor. It takes literally minutes to blend it up and you can adjust the garlic and Parmesan to suit your personal taste.
  • If you can’t find cherry size mozzarella balls (also called Ciliegine) or mozzarella pearls you can also use a large ball of mozzarella or a log and just tear it into bite-size pieces.
Overhead shot of a Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl drizzled with balsamic glaze

Favorite Pasta Salads

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Caprese Pasta Salad

This Caprese pasta salad is filled with ripe grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and cool mozzarella tossed in a pesto vinaigrette and drizzled with a tangy balsamic glaze. It combines your favorite flavors of a fresh, summertime Caprese salad with the familiar backyard BBQ pasta salad.

  • Author: Kylie Lato
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian/American

Instructions

  1. Toss cooked pasta in olive oil and sprinkle with a few large pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and set aside to cool to room temperature. 
  2. In a small mason jar, combine pesto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until well combined. 
  3. Add pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to a large serving bowl. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the basil for garnish. 
  4. Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Drizzle salad with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh a bit more fresh basil. 

Notes

Salt your pasta water. Your pasta water should be as salty as the sea. Salting the pasta water is the first chance you have to season the pasta and is the best time to bring out all the flavors of your delicious noodles. Once you start salting your pasta, you will never stop!

Cook pasta just until al dente. There’s nothing worse than soggy noodles in a pasta salad. The noodles will continue to soak up a bit of the dressing as it sits, so cooking the noodles just until al dente will ensure that they don’t end up mushy.

If you have a few extra minutes, make your own pesto. If you don’t have the time to make homemade, store-bought pesto is just fine! But, if you’ve got the time – making homemade, fresh pesto will give you the very best flavor. It takes literally minutes to blend it up and you can adjust the garlic and Parmesan to suit your personal taste.

If you can’t find cherry size mozzarella balls (also called Ciliegine) or mozzarella pearls you can also use a large ball of mozzarella or a log and just tear it into bite-size pieces.

Keywords: tomato mozzarella pasta salad, tomato pasta salad, tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad





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