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Caprese Pasta Salad is made with fresh ingredients and is easy to make. Take this simple pasta salad to your next BBQ for the perfect side dish.
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe:
This Caprese Pasta Salad is a crowd favorite pasta dish. Caprese salad is combined with pasta and mixed with a delicious balsamic glaze to create a delicious side dish. This pasta salad will be on repeat all summer long.
If you are like my family, we make pasta salads for all our summer BBQ’s and potlucks. They are light, fresh and easy to make. You can easily make them in a variety of ways and they pair perfectly with any grilled meats.
If you are looking for a light and refreshing pasta salad to make this summer, make Caprese Pasta Salad. This simple ingredient pasta dish will be your go-to recipe for all your summer gatherings.
What is Caprese Pasta Salad?
A classic Caprese Salad is made with ripe tomatoes and layered with slices of mozzarella cheese. Basil Leaves are also added and it is then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
But we took that recipe to the next level by mixing these ingredients with pasta. Which makes a light and refreshing side dish that is a crowd favorite.
- Rotini Pasta
- Mozzarella Pearls (cut in half)
- Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
- Fresh Basil (thinly sliced)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Minced Garlic
- Black Pepper
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad:
- Step 1 – Cook Pasta – Cook the pasta based on the pasta instructions to al dente. Drain the pasta. Rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool.
- Step 2 – Combine Ingredients – While the pasta is cooling, in a large bowl combine the ingredients. Mix the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, half of the fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until tomatoes and cheese are well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Step 3 – Stir in Pasta – Then stir in the cooled pasta. Stir until well combined.
- Step 3 – Top with Basil – Top with the remaining fresh basil.
- Step 4 – Serve – Serve and enjoy.
How to Make the Balsamic Dressing:
The Balsamic Dressing is a delicious combination of simple ingredients and the best ingredients makes this dressing even better.
- Olive Oil – Start the dressing with an olive oil. We like using Extra Virgin Olive Oil but you can use different types of olive oil.
- Balsamic Vinegar – We used regular balsamic vinegar in this recipe. But you can also use a golden balsamic vinegar which keeps the mixture light in color. Golden Balsamic Vinegar has a slighter sweeter taste, but you can use what you prefer.
Mix the olive and balsamic vinegar together with minced garlic and salt and pepper. Feel free to use fresh garlic clove for the dressing. Use a garlic press or minced the garlic.
Combine these ingredients with the tomatoes and cheese for delicious flavor.
What is the Best Mozzarella to add to Caprese Pasta Salad?
The best mozzarella cheese for this Caprese Pasta Salad is fresh Mozzarella in water. Mozzarella balls are tender and have a mellow flavor. For a classic caprese salad, Mozzarella balls are used.
If you are unable to find these Mozzarella balls, you can also chop a hunk Mozzarella into pieces.
- Cooking Pasta – Prepare pasta according to the pasta package. We recommend to cook the pasta al dente so they do not over cook. Rinse and cool pasta before mixing the ingredients.
- Combining Ingredients – Make sure to when mixing the tomatoes and cheese with the dressing ingredients that everything is full coated. All these ingredients to sit for at least 20 minutes for the best flavor.
- Fresh Basil – We recommend topping with fresh basil for added flavor. Adding fresh basil really combines the flavor perfectly.
How long will Caprese Pasta Salad last:
Pasta salad will last about 3 to 4 days if placed in the refrigerator. When not serving, make sure to keep the pasta in the fridge.
Should you Rinse Pasta when Making Pasta Salad?
Yes, after cooking the pasta make sure to rinse the pasta. This allows the pasta to stop cooking and prevents the pasta from sticking.
Can I Prepared ahead of time?
This caprese pasta salad is perfect to make ahead of time. We recommend preparing the pasta and the salad dressing separately. Store these individually until your are ready to serve.
Then mix the pasta and the dressing ingredients together and serve. I like to sit the past out for about 15 minutes before serving so it will come to room temperature.
What to Serve with Caprese Pasta Salad?
Caprese Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish to serve at your next BBQ. These are some of my favorite Grilled Meats recipes that pair perfectly with this pasta salad.
- Grilled Pork Kabobs – The kabobs are grilled perfectly and have the best flavor from the grill and seasoning. The veggies also make it an effortless way to stretch the meat.
- Grilled Chicken Drumsticks – Our family loves to grill and chicken drumsticks always turn out delicious. In just a few minutes of grilling, this step by step recipe makes dinner a breeze. Not only is this meal very frugal but the flavor is perfect every single time.
- Grilled Teriyaki Steak – This teriyaki steak is delicious and easy to make. The teriyaki marinade gives the steak so much flavor.
- Mozzarella Balls – For a substitute for Mozzarella Cheese, feel free to use feta cheese or goat cheese.
- Short Pasta – We recommend making this recipe with a short pasta option. Spiral, shell, or penne pasta are all good options for this pasta salad.
- Tomatoes – Feel free to use different types of tomatoes. You can use grape tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes. You can use sweet, red or yellow cherry tomatoes.
- Add in Vegetables – You can easily add in other types of fresh vegetables. Avocado, onions, or bell peppers are great options to add to this pasta salad.
- Chicken – If you have leftover grilled chicken, shred it and add it to this pasta salad. This allows it to be a light lunch or dinner during the summer.
- Tuna – Another options to add into this pasta salad is some canned tuna. Mix in some black olives or green olives with the tuna for the perfect combination.
- Extra Spice – If you want to serve this salad with an extra kick. Mix in a teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes.
How to Store Pasta Caprese Salad:
Store the leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This pasta salad is even better the next day as the ingredients marinate together.
Store in individual containers with some grilled chicken for the perfect lunch the next day.
Print Recipe for Caprese Pasta Salad:
Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta based on the pasta instructions to al dente. Drain the pasta. Rinse with water. Set aside to cool.
- While the pasta is cooling, in a large bowl combine the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, half of the fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until tomatoes and cheese are well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Then stir in the cooled pasta. Stir until well combined.
- Top with the remaining fresh basil.
- Serve and enjoy!
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More Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad
- Easy Pasta Salad Recipe
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe