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Before summer slips away you have to make this Caprese Pasta Salad!
I am majorly obsessed with all things Caprese. You can beat the classic flavor combination of mozzarella, basil and juicy, seasonal tomatoes.
This pasta salad only takes minutes to bring together, is made with simple (yet great) and fresh ingredients and can be made in advance.
It’s all about using high-quality ingredients in simply recipes like Caprese so you can really highlight their flavors. Be sure to grab the best, most excellent ingredients to make the most of this salad!
I like to stop by my local farmers’ market to stock up on all the goodies. If you have one nearby, you won’t regret making the trip!
Why this recipe works
- Made with fresh, simple ingredients
- Only takes 15 minutes to bring together
- Can be made in advance
- Perfect for summer!
- Totally delicious, of course.
For the ingredient measurements and entire recipe, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the blog post where the recipe card is located.
- Tomatoes: if you are in peak season or in the height of tomato season, it’s not hard to find excellent tomatoes. Choose cherry or grape tomatoes, and you can even showcase heirloom tomatoes for a pop of color.
- Fresh Mozzarella: Go for the fresh pearl mozzarella or you can tear a fresh, large mozzarella ball into pieces.
- Fresh basil: choose bright green, non-limp basil. I like to thinly slice the basil, or you can gently tear larger leaves and dot the smaller leaves over the salad then toss.
- Pasta: any small pasta shape works well. I love the radiatore pasta because the dressing gets trapped in the nooks and crannies and it so yummy. Other shapes you can use: rotini, bowtie, orzo, tortellini, rotelle, or cavatappi. Make it gluten free by using your favorite gluten free pasta.
- White balsamic vinegar: I like to make the dressing with white balsamic, as opposed to the classic balsamic because it doesn’t turn the pasta a dark color. It leaves it feeling fresh and vibrant, yet with the same classic taste.
Step by Step Directions
For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the bottom of the blog post to the recipe card.
- Cook the pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Combine ingredients for the dressing.
- Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- Toss with the dressing.
- Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
Expert Tips and Variations
- Be sure to find the best, high quality ingredients you can find for optimal flavor.
- Serve with a protein (like chicken, fish or steak) to make it a balanced meal.
- Add peaches for a fun twist.
- Add avocado to make it more satisfying.
- Try using a combination of fresh basil and fresh mint.
- Drizzle with a balsamic glaze on top for that classic taste.
- Dollop with your favorite pesto.
- Add toasted pine nuts for crunch.
What should I serve with caprese salad?
Grilled chicken, shrimp, grilled veggies, crusty bread, Italian sausage, white fish or steak!
Can I use a different cheese?
Mozzarella is a classic, but burrata works well, too!
How long does Caprese pasta salad last?
Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, it will last 3-4 days.
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
For the salad
- 8 oz. radiatore pasta (or small pasta shape of choice)
- 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 heaping cup fresh basil, chiffonade
- 8 oz. mozzarella balls, pearls or ciliegine
- flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- balsamic glaze (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. crushed garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
- Shake all salad dressing ingredients in a sealed mason jar or bottle until combined. Or whisk until emulsified in a bowl. Taste and adjust.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl along with the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Pour the dressing on top and toss to combine. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired and drizzle with balsamic glaze, if using. Serve and enjoy!
- Storage: sealed in an air-tight container for 3-4 days. The pasta will soak up the dressing so you can make more if desired when serving again.
- Make ahead: If you want to make this in advance and chill prior to serving, either reserve some dressing or make extra. Drizzle the dressing on and toss when ready to serve.