An Easy Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe that is perfect as a side dish! This cold mozzarella pasta salad with tomatoes and basil is so delicious!
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There is such a light, yet rich flavor with the creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, juicy tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves that is just irresistible.
Although this is a simple recipe, it truly is the best caprese pasta salad and it comes together in less than 30 minutes!
why we love this caprese pasta salad:
What’s not to love about a delicious fresh salad? These are the reasons this recipe is one of our favorites:
- Super easy to make – Simply cook pasta, cool it, and toss everything together for the most delicious salad!
- Light & fresh – This is the perfect Spring or Summer salad because it won’t leave you feeling heavy after.
- Minimal ingredients – 5 ingredients and some spices are all this recipe takes!
What is caprese salad? Caprese Salad is traditionally made with mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil. This caprese pasta salad is basically a chopped caprese salad mixed with cooked pasta and a delicious dressing.
Ingredients for Caprese Pasta Salad
To make this caprese salad you’ll need:
- mozzarella pearls
- grape tomatoes
- fresh basil
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded substitutions box.
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta until al dente in salted water.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients until combined.
- When the pasta has cooked, drain then rinse with cold water until the pasta has cooled.
- To assemble the salad, add pasta to a large mixing bowl along with the chopped grape tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and fresh basil.
- Pour over the dressing and toss to coat.
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR EASY PASTA SALAD
Pasta: You can use any pasta in this recipe. We used Cavatappi. You can use fusilli, rotini pasta, penne, ziti, bowtie, or any medium-length pasta. You could also make this with orzo or even tortellini.
Tomatoes: You can use cherry or grape tomatoes, or chopped larger tomatoes. Any fresh tomatoes will work! If you love tomatoes, try our Homemade Bruschetta.
Mozzarella: If you can’t find fresh mozzarella pearls (the tiny mozzarella balls) you can use larger mozzarella balls that have been cut in half or quartered. You can also use cubed mozzarella. Any fresh mozzarella cheese will work!
Fresh Basil/Parsley: This recipe really needs fresh basil leaves or parsley. It will not taste the same with dried basil.
Gluten Free Caprese Pasta Salad: You can make this with gluten free pasta.
Pesto: You can substitute 1/4 cup basil pesto in place of the dressing.
How do you cut cherry tomatoes for pasta salads: Cherry tomatoes for pasta salads should be cut in half.
Other Add ins: Avocado, corn or even cooked chicken would be a delicious mix in for this recipe!
What goes well with Caprese Salad?
Caprese Pasta Salad is perfect for a picnic side dish or even for meal prepping. Here are some of our favorite things to serve with Caprese Salad:
- Baked Chicken Breasts
- Healthy Chicken Tenders
- Grilled Vegetables
- Green Beans Almondine
- Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Balsamic Mushrooms
How many calories are in a caprese pasta salad? This pasta salad has 383 calories for 1.5 cups of pasta salad.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Should I make pasta salad the night before? I think pasta is best when made the day you’re going to enjoy it. The pasta can get soggy if left overnight and veggies may release water which would dilute the flavor of the dish.
How to Store Caprese Salad
This recipe is best enjoyed fresh, but if you do need to store it, we recommend storing this mozzarella pasta salad in the fridge.
Refrigerating: This salad will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It may start to get watery/the pasta get soggy after a few days.
Freezing: You can’t freeze this recipe.
Reheating: This recipe is made to be enjoyed cold. We DON’T recommend heating!
Caprese Pasta Salad
- Add the pasta to a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 9-11 minutes or until al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.
- When the pasta has cooked, add the pasta to a colander, drain then rinse with cold water until the pasta has cooled.
- To assemble the salad, add the cold cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl along with the chopped tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and fresh basil.
- Pour over the dressing and toss thoroughly to combine.