Caprese Pasta Salad is so easy to make and loaded with fresh Mediterranean inspired flavors! 

Take a bounty of fresh tomatoes, onion and basil, add bowtie pasta and cheese, then toss with a lemon balsamic vinaigrette to make this unforgettable summer salad! A drizzle of balsamic glaze on top will finish this salad off in style. Add chicken or salmon to create an entree salad, or serve it as a gourmet level side dish with some steaks or marinated chicken kabobs hot off the grill. This recipe is sure to become a family favorite, and it goes with everything!

close up of plated Caprese Pasta Salad with a spoon

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What is Caprese Pasta Salad?

  • This easy recipe is a cold and refreshing favorite! Prep salad, pasta, and dressing in advance, keep chilled, and mix ingredients together just before serving.
  • Healthy ingredients and robust flavors make Caprese salad a winner on any picnic table!
  • Caprese pasta salad is a delicious meatless meal or it can be topped with grilled chicken breasts, fish, or shrimp to add extra protein.

pasta , pine nuts , balsamic and vegetables to make Caprese Pasta Salad

 

What’s in Caprese Pasta Salad?

TOMATOES: Small, colorful grape or cherry tomatoes are what give this salad its unique look! Experiment with red, yellow, orange, green, and even purple tomatoes!

CHEESE: Bocconcini, which are small balls of mozzarella, are used in this recipe. But diced pieces from a large ball of mozzarella will work as well! Crumbled feta and bleu cheese can also be used.

BASIL: For best results, pluck fresh basil from the garden, buy fresh leaves or keep a small living basil plant in a sunny window! Chopped spinach and kale will add color and flavor to this salad! No basil? Whisk a tablespoon of ready-made basil pesto into the vinaigrette.

PASTA: Bow tie pasta is festive and the perfect size and shape for the vinaigrette to cling to! Other good pasta choices are penne, rotini, medium-sized shells, ziti, and even tortellini! For a low-carb salad, leave out the pasta and replace it with lightly steamed cauliflower florets.

top view of seasonings to make Caprese Pasta Salad

How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad

This salad is so easy to make and tastes excellent served with slices of lemon or avocado.

  1. Cook pasta al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Add pasta to tomatoes, cheese, onion, and basil.
  3. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together, toss with pasta and veggies.
  4. Garnish if desired.

PRO TIP: Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry sauté pan until they are just fragrant. This intensifies the flavor and makes them extra crunchy!

ingredients in a bowl to make Caprese Pasta Salad

What to Serve with Caprese Pasta Salad?

Serve this tangy salad with sourdough crackers, some avocado toast, or a thick slice of crusty no-knead bread. Perfect with a tall and refreshing glass of white wine sangria.

Add a bowl of creamy tomato soup, or a delish main dish such as beef kabobs, creamy lemon chicken, smoked brisket, or tasty smoked pulled pork

close up of Caprese Pasta Salad in a bowl

Storing Caprese Pasta Salad

Keep leftover Caprese pasta salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir before serving. Serve on top of lettuce or tuck into a wrap or pita for an energizing lunch! Don’t freeze it since this salad doesn’t thaw well, but it’s so fast and easy to make fresh!

plated Caprese Pasta Salad

Other Pasta Salad Recipes!

close up of plated Caprese Pasta Salad with a spoon
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Caprese Pasta Salad

Make this easy Caprese salad with pasta, tomatoes, onion, basil, mozzarella cheese balls and a tangy lemon balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Candace

Ingredients  

  • 12 ounces farfalle pasta (bow tie pasta) or other pasta, about 4 cups
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes halved (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1-2 cups bocconcini balls or diced mozzarella cheese, about 7-14 ounces
  • ¼ cup red onion diced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chiffonade or sliced thinly, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts optional for garnish
  • balsamic glaze for garnish

Vinaigrette

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente (don’t overcook!). Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
  • In a large bowl, add cooled pasta, tomatoes, cheese, onion, and basil.
  • In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze, sprinkle with basil and pine nuts if using and serve.

Notes

  • Nutrition calculated with out balsamic glaze.
  • To toast pine nuts:
    • add them to a dry pan on medium high heat.
    • cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
    • remove from the pan immediately.
  • To make Caprese Salad ahead of time:
    • set aside ¼ of the vinaigrette.
    • toss the salad with remaining vinaigrette and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    • just before serving, add remaining dressing and toss.
  • Leftovers:
    • refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for 2-3 days.
    • to refresh leftovers, add a splash of olive oil and vinegar (balsamic or wine vinegar), about 2-3 teaspoons of each, and sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Toss.
    • it is not recommended to freeze this pasta salad.
    • serve leftovers on top of lettuce or tuck into a wrap or pita for a hearty lunch! 
5 from 6 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 305 | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 352IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Lunch, Main Course, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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