Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe

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Caprese Pasta Salad is made with bow tie pasta, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese all soaked in a delicious pesto sauce. It’s the ultimate summer dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, salad, or even a main course.

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 in white bowls.

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.

Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl with cherry tomatoes and basil beside.

How To Make Caprese Pasta Salad?

  1. Add pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend.
  2. Cook pasta, rinse and drain.
  3. Chop veggies, add to pasta and pour pesto over everything. Toss.

Recipe Variations

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.

How to make Caprese pasta salad steps in four photos.

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.

 

Caprese pasta salad with tomatoes and pesto sauce.

Recipe Tips:

  • 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!

Caprese pasta salad in a white serving bowl with cherry tomatoes and basil beside.
Print
5 from 2 votes
Servings: 6 servings
Caprese Pasta Salad
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
 
Author: Catalina
Course: Main Course, Pasta, Salad
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad is made with bow tie pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, all soaked in a delicious pesto sauce.

Ingredients
For Pesto:
  • 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
Garnish:
  • Basil Leaves
  • Pine nuts optional
Instructions
For Pesto:
  1. Add the basil, garlic cloves, and walnuts to a food processor and blend until finely minced.
  2. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the olive oil, blending until smooth.
  3. Add the grated parmesan cheese, and pulsate a few times to combine.

  4. Scoop the pesto into a jar with a lid or use it immediately.
For Salad:
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, aiming for al dente.
  2. Drain it and run under cold water to cool it down. Drain very well.
  3. Place the pasta in a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Pour the pesto on top and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Serve, topped with additional pine nuts and basil.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 1083, Fat: 87g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 565mg, Potassium: 491mg, Carbohydrates: 54g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 26g, Vitamin A: 2746%, Vitamin C: 26%, Calcium: 428%, Iron: 3%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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Caprese pasta salad with tomatoes in a white bowl, and Caprese salad with pasta and pesto under the title.

Catalina

Catalina thinks that time in the kitchen should be fun, and we should spend less time cooking and more time eating! As a successful business woman, with a busy career on Wall Street, she develops easy weeknight meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less!. Catalina lives in the NYC metro area with her husband, who is also a great cook, and their 4 year old boy, who gladly helps in the kitchen. Catalina will inspire you to experiment with flavors, try new ingredients and create easy meals with less effort. You can visit her blog Sweet & Savory Meals for more inspiration.

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