Caprese pasta salad

Easy peasy Caprese pasta salad with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and basil is a delicious side dish recipe served with easy lemon vinaigrette. The perfect potluck recipe and great served with grilled chicken or meat.

Caprese pasta salad

Ingredients needed

Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below. 

  • Pasta. I used fusilli but any short pasta shape will work. Macaroni, orecchiette, penne, etc.
  • Tomatoes. Use any in-season, ripe tomatoes. I like using a smaller variety because they are so sweet. Remember to store tomatoes at room temperature. Tomatoes stored in the fridge can easily go floury/mealy.
  • Mozzarella. I used bocconcini. Fior di latte or buffalo mozzarella is also fine, just chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • Fresh basil. 
  • Olive oil. 
  • Fresh lemon juice. 
  • Red wine vinegar. 
  • Salt and pepper.

Pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.

How to make Caprese pasta salad

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta of your choice and cook until al dente. Depending on the shape and size of your pasta, this could be 8-12 minutes. I prefer to cook the pasta a little bit longer than I would if we were to eat it raw because it will firm up once it’s chilled. Drain the pasta then rinse under cold water. This is to remove the starches which are not needed for pasta salad. Place the drained pasta in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Prepare the salad ingredients: Halve or chop the tomatoes (depending on their size) and place in a the bowl with the pasta. Repeat with the mozzarella. Stack the basil leaves and roll then thinly slice (this is called chiffonade). Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Make the dressing: Whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You can also add some finely minced garlic if you prefer. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
  4. Chill and serve: This salad can be eaten at room temperature or stored in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Pasta salad ingredients.

Caprese salad dressing

I prefer using a super simple lemon vinaigrette but you could add Balsamic vinegar, herbs and garlic if you prefer.

Can I make pasta salad ahead?

Yes, absolutely. The undressed salad can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. I would add the basil with the dressing 20 minutes before serving to make sure it doesn’t wilt too much. Leftover pasta salad can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

What to serve with pasta salad

  1. Easy grilled chicken thighs
  2. Grilled sirloin steak with caper herb sauce
  3. Easy BBQ chicken breasts.

Caprese pasta salad

Pasta salad recipes

  1. Mexican street corn macaroni salad
  2. Sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad
  3. Easy creamy curried macaroni salad
Pasta salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil

Caprese pasta salad

Easy peasy Caprese pasta salad with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and basil is a delicious side dish recipe served with easy lemon vinaigrette.
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Caprese pasta salad, Pasta salad, Pasta salad recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 281kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1lb) pasta
  • 300 g (10oz) mozzarella (I used bocconcini)
  • 3 cups tomatoes roughly chopped
  • ½ cup basil thinly sliced

For the dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (Balsamic vinegar is a good substitute)
  • 1-2 tsp salt The dressing needs to be very well seasoned to make sure the pasta isn't bland once mixed.
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta of your choice and cook until al dente. Depending on the shape and size of your pasta, this could be 8-12 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta then rinse under cold water. Place the drained pasta in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Halve or chop the tomatoes (depending on their size) and place in a the bowl with the pasta. Repeat with the mozzarella.
  • Stack the basil leaves and roll then thinly slice thinly. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. This salad can be eaten at room temperature or stored in the fridge for an hour before serving. 

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 369mg | Iron: 1mg

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