Caprese Pasta Salad uses fresh farmers market tomatoes and homegrown basil to make this pasta salad a summertime favorite!
Where are my pasta and carb lovers at?! You're in for a treat today with this recipe.
I was just telling Justin the other day what a difference between the tomatoes we get in our CSA box or at the farmers market and what you can buy at the grocery store all year long.
It is insane! And never ceases to amaze me!
The bright deep red color of local farm-grown tomatoes and the flavor is almost like a different vegetable.
And I think they are DELICIOUS in Caprese salads! I LLLOOOOVVVEEEEEE Caprese salads! Love love love! I started growing basil a couple of years ago just to have on hand for Caprese salads all summer long.
So why not take a summertime fav and through it with some pasta and a light dressing for a summer side dish that we all will love?!
Ingredients Needed for Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cherry Tomatoes - preferably from your local farmers market of possible
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Mozzarella Balls
- Fresh Basil
- Balsamic Glaze *
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- 1 Tablespoon Balsalmic Vinegar
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
We will start by sauteing the tomatoes on the stove. This just gives a little bit more flavor and depth to this dish. You can certainly just serve sliced and raw if you would like or want it to be a little faster and easier.
- Make the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and set on the stove on high heat. Heavily salt and bring to a boil. Add in 1 pound of pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Once finished, drain in a colander and add to a large bowl.
- Saute the tomatoes. In a large skillet add the olive oil and turn on medium-high heat. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the skillet with 2 cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the tomatoes have burst and caramelized about 10-15 minutes. Add to the large bowl with the pasta when finished.
- Make the dressing. In a medium bowl add in the olive oil, zest of 1 lemon, juice of ½ that lemon, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Whisk until everything is incorporated and mixed well together.
- Assemble the pasta salad. To the large bowl with the cooked pasta and tomatoes, add in the fresh mozzarella balls that have been sliced in half, and fresh basil leaves that have been julienned. Pour over the dressing and toss to thoroughly coat everything. The pasta should still be slightly warm at this point and will help mix everything together.
- Finish with glaze. To finish, sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper, salt, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze over the top. Enjoy!
The balsamic glaze is what sends this dish over the edge! (*affiliate link)
This is not heavy or overly dressed. We let the ingredients speak for themselves without drowning in Italian dressing. Adding the glaze on top is just the icing on the cake that brings it all together!
Can I Make Pasta Salad Ahead of Time?
That is the beauty of pasta salads. They are so versatile.
You can enjoy this warm right after making, at room temp, or cold. To make prep ahead, make all the way up till finished but leave out the basil and balsamic glaze. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
Right before serving, toss with fresh basil and drizzle on the balsamic glaze to finish.
How Long Will Pasta Salad Last in the Fridge?
This Caprese pasta salad will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
Just store in an airtight container or covered tightly with plastic wrap.
Do You Rinse Pasta for a Cold Pasta Salad?
Some people do, but I don't for this recipe.
Just cook the pasta till al dente (the package instructions will tell you how long per pasta and shape) and use it immediately. I don't find it necessary to rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
What Goes Good with Pasta Salad?
This is great to bring to any BBQ or potluck since it can be eaten at room temp and does well if needed to be kept out and sitting for a while.
What is the Best Pasta for Pasta Salad?
I always say use whatever pasta shape you like!
Pasta with "nooks and crannies" is usually best for "saucy" things or that have dressings so it can hold all that goodness.
More Pasta and Salad Recipes You Will Love!
- 5 Ingredient Watermelon Orzo Salad
- Orzo Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette
- Easy Israeli Couscous with Parmesan
- Sous Vide Flank Steak Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette Dressing
- BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad with Herb Yogurt Dressing