Easy Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
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Easy Caprese Pasta Salad is the perfect, Italian-inspired dish to bring along to any of your fun, warm-weather get togethers.
When the weather turns warmer, pasta salad becomes a staple for all of our potlucks, cookouts and family dinners. I think we all know the great merits of a pasta salad, it is filling but not too heavy, perfect for sharing, it can be made ahead of time, and the leftovers are sublime. This easy Caprese Pasta Salad is a delicious way to mix up our favorite cookout classic. The flavors are so fresh with a zesty Italian spin, you might have a hard time finding any leftovers.
Over the years I’ve made this pasta salad several times, never measuring the ingredients, just combining our favorite Caprese flavors, plus a bit of basil pesto until it tastes just right. I finally got around to measuring the ingredients to share with you, and our daughter, who has become quite the Caprese salad fan, and now, a Caprese Pasta Salad fan.
This Caprese Pasta Salad recipe could not be easier to prepare. All of the ingredients are pretty basic, maybe with the exception of pesto. Although if you have never made pesto, you will find it super simple and will soon be adding it to all kinds of dishes. Of course, you can also buy pre-made pesto from most grocery stores. There are some pre-made pestos that are quite nice without a bunch of preservatives and junk.
Ingredients needed for this Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe:
- orecchiette pasta (or your favorite pasta)
- basil pesto
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- ground black pepper
- grape or cherry tomatoes
- small fresh mozzarella balls (or fresh mozzarella cut into bite-sized pieces)
- fresh basil leaves
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
- Begin by cooking the pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing by whisking together the pesto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.
- When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and add the warm pasta to the bowl of dressing and toss to fully coat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes, before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Once pasta has cooled and bit, stir in the tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and fresh basil.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be kept covered and refrigerated up to 4 days.
See how easy this pasta salad is to make? And as with most pasta salads, this one can be made ahead of time by a couple of days which makes it perfect for entertaining. Or make a batch to have ready for lunch or a snack during the week. Just be sure to keep the pasta salad covered and refrigerated, then it should be good for a few days, if it lasts that long. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we have. Happy cooking!
More easy pasta salad recipes to try:
- BLT Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Strawberry Lemon Basil Pasta Salad Recipe
- Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad Recipe
- Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad
Easy Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta (or substitute your favorite pasta)
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (weight) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls (or fresh mozzarella cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 5 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, make the dressing. In a large bowl whisk together pesto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper.
- When pasta is done, drain pasta, then add warm pasta to dressing and toss to coat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes, before adding remaining ingredients.
- Stir in tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
- Cover and refrigerate* until ready to serve.
*May be kept covered and refrigerated up to 4 days.