This version of a Caprese Salad is super quick, easy to prepare and will definitely become your go-to recipe this summer. It’s perfect served with baked pork chops or rosemary chicken for a delicious meal!
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
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What Is Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad is basically a salad made of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. It originated in Italy and has become a household dish worldwide.
There are many variations to this recipe which include adding balsamic vinegar and a variety of olive oils, which are also quite fabulous.
How To Make Caprese Pasta Salad?
- Add pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend.
- Cook pasta, rinse and drain.
- Chop veggies, add to pasta and pour pesto over everything. Toss.
Even though Caprese Pasta Salad is a huge hit during the summer season when ingredients are at their best, you can actually make it year-round. It is also quite versatile, and you can swap and mix in other ingredients.
PASTA – use other types of pasta that you have available.
VEGGIES – add bell peppers or mushrooms. If you do not have cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes work equally well.
VINEGAR – a splash of balsamic vinegar will give the salad a refreshing and deep flavor.
CHEESE – fresh mozzarella balls are best for this dish, however cubed mozzarella will work in a pinch.
Can Pasta Salad Be Made Ahead Of Time?
Actually, this salad tastes even better if allowed to rest. The flavors have a chance to blend together, giving it an even more distinct taste. This makes it the perfect salad to make when preparing for a party, or if you are heading to a summer bbq or potluck!
If you have any leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
Can you freeze it? You can, however because this version contains pesto sauce, it is not recommend. If you choose to freeze it, do so with the pesto separate and combine once you are ready to serve.
- Fresh ingredients – the secret to a delicious Caprese Pasta Salad is using fresh ingredients. Especially fresh basil leaves for the pesto as well as fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls for the salad.
- Cook pasta al dente – this is important so that the pasta does not become mushy. Follow the package directions closely, as each type of pasta has different cooking times.
- Make lots – since this recipe tastes better with time, make a double batch and enjoy it as leftovers for lunch or as an easy side dish with your weeknight dinner!
Other Delicious Salads To Try!
- BLT Pasta Salad – a complete meal.
- Caesar Pasta Salad – perfect for busy weeknights.
- Spinach and Strawberry Salad – so light and fresh.
- Crunchy Coleslaw Pasta Salad – deliciously different.
- Southwest Pasta Salad – a super easy salad!
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 6 cups fresh basil leaves with stems removed
- 1 cup walnuts or pine nuts
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
For Pasta Salad:
- 12 ounces bow tie pasta measured when dry
- ½ red onion diced
- 1 cup basil pesto refrigerated
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 cups fresh mozzarella pearls
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Basil Leaves
- Pine nuts optional
- Add the basil, garlic cloves, and walnuts to a food processor and blend until finely minced.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add the olive oil, blending until smooth.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese, and pulsate a few times to combine.
- Scoop the pesto into a jar with a lid or use it immediately.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, aiming for al dente.
- Drain it and run under cold water to cool it down. Drain very well.
- Place the pasta in a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients.
- Pour the pesto on top and toss to coat evenly.
- Serve, topped with additional pine nuts and basil.