Bright and colorful caprese pasta salad is the ultimate summer side dish. It's fresh, light, and loaded with vibrant flavors. This simple salad is packed with pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and fresh basil, all tossed in a delicious homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Prep the salad while you cook the pasta and this salad can be ready in just 10 minutes. It's perfect for all your summer needs -- potlucks, picnics, or BBQs.
Why You'll Love Caprese Pasta Salad
- Pasta makes everything better. Caprese Salad gets a major upgrade when you add in some pasta. It takes it from being just a side salad into one that could be a main event with some added protein. But of course, it's still a great side salad for all your summer BBQ and cookout needs.
- Simple ingredients with lost of flavor. You could literally count the number of ingredients on your hand but that doesn't mean that this salad lacks any flavor. Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic dressing bring some bold flavors to this dish.
- Perfect for summer potlucks. This salad is perfect to bring to a summer potluck. Some other items you could bring to complete the meal are: Classic Juicy Hamburgers, Greek Chicken Souvlaki Skewers, Mediterranean Chicken Patties, and Grilled Corn on the Cob.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this simple tomato and mozzarella caprese salad, you will need the following ingredients:
- pasta - use any shape of pasta that you like (except for long noodles). I used shellbows but some other great shapes to use are rotini, shells, and farfalle.
- cherry tomatoes - you can substitute with roma tomatoes, just cut them into ½-inch pieces.
- mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
- fresh basil
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- dried oregano - you can substitute this with Italian seasoning.
- salt and pepper
- balsamic reduction - this is optional, for drizzle on top. Feel free to use a store-bought balsamic glaze of make homemade balsamic glaze in a few minutes.
How to Make the Best Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Combine ingredients. Transfer the drained pasta to a large mixing bowl or serving dish. Add tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano (or Italian seasoning), salt, and pepper on top of the salad.
- Serve. Toss to combine and serve. Top with a drizzle of balsamic reduction (optional).
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How to serve. You can serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. If chilling, assemble the salad and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. This will bring out the flavors even more.
- How to store: Caprese pasta salad is best eaten fresh since the balsamic vinegar will start to soften the pasta and basil. If there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
More Salad Recipes
- 40 Best Salad Recipes
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Salad
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