Salad | September 1, 2018

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a simple and quick pasta salad, look no further. This Caprese Pasta Salad is bursting with sweet tomatoes, fresh basil, creamy mozzarella, and drizzled with a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Easy to make ahead, or last minute, and a delicious way to please any crowd!

Caprese Pasta Salad

A Classic Favorite

I love a good pasta salad, especially during this time of year. Pasta is so versatile and can accompany almost any main dish. There’s nothing more classic than the combination of tomato, basil, and mozzarella. On pizza, pasta, bruschetta, or even by itself! It’s such a simple, yet perfect blend of flavors. That’s why I love Caprese Pasta Salad. It’s refreshing and seriously easy to make. Just cook the pasta, chop up a few ingredients, and assemble salad. Need to make it ahead? No problem! Just assemble the salad, cover, and store in the fridge. It will taste even better after all of the flavors have infused together. And if you have meat-lovers in your family, add some grilled chicken for a heartier dish. It’s the perfect pasta salad to make any time of year, but since tomatoes are in-season right now, you need to make this RIGHT NOW.

Caprese Pasta Salad

As Simple as it Gets, no stirring, just layer and drizzle!

This is by far the easiest pasta salad you will every make, and most likely, the most delicious! Tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. The Italian’s really nailed it with this one. There’s just something about those three ingredients that say SUMMER to me. It’s a combination that will never go out of style. Put it together with tender pasta and a light balsamic and olive oil dressing. Remember when making this salad the key to a beautiful platter or bowl of salad is to arrange the pasta, then add the fresh tomatoes. mozzarella a basil and drizzle dressing over top. No stirring, just layer and drizzle. Yum! It doesn’t get much better than this. Caprese Pasta Salad is one of those recipes every cook should have on their salad menu rotation.

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad is the Ultimate Side Kick

Caprese Pasta Salad is a dish you’re going to want to make again and again.  It’s wonderful as a side dish to barbecues, potlucks, parties, or any event that involves food. And it’s just as delicious for a light lunch or family dinner. The burst of sweet tomato, fresh basil, and soft mozzarella, and the tang of the balsamic dressing will have everyone coming back for more. SO easy to make, easy to transport, and even easier to please a crowd with. Here’s to long, hot, sunny days, iced drinks, fresh garden fruits and vegetables.
If you love the combination of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, you need to try ABK’s Spaghetti Margherita and Margherita Pizza!

Caprese Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes
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Caprese Pasta Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen

Ingredients

  • salad:
  • 1 lb fresh pasta preferably Ravioli or Tortellini*, cooked al dente
  • 1 ⁄4 cup olive oil + more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons dry italian Seasoning*
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cut into chunks
  • 1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes or chunked tomatoes of any type whole or halved
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves sliced
  • Sliced red onion optional
  • Balsamic dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic red or white
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard optional
  • 1 clove garlic minced or crushed
  • 1 ⁄2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a jar or blender. Dressing may be stored in refrigerator. Remove at least an hour before using.
  2. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Pour off water and toss pasta in a large bowl with 1⁄4 cup olive oil and dry Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool completely. This may be done up to three days before serving salad.
  3. When ready to serve, Place pasta on serving platter or on individual plates.
  4. Add cut mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves and lay on top of pasta on plates or platter.
  5. Drizzle with Balsamic dressing and additional olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
  7. Do not stir!
  8. Serve immediately, or refrigerate on platter until ready to serve*

Recipe Notes

-This salad is best when made with a fresh cheese filled pasta found in the refrigerator section of grocery, such as ravioli or tortellini. You may also use bowtie or another shaped pasta that is not filled. When using a pasta that is not filled with cheese, I purchase dry pasta. If making for a large crowd, I always use dry pasta to keep cost down!
-Good Seasons dry dressing mix is sold in the salad dressing area of grocery store. It is in small packets. Measure out two tablespoons and sprinkle over pasta after cooked.
-If you are making this salad ahead-
-Arrange pasta on platter or in bowl after tossing with dry dressing mix and olive oil. -Or you may place the pasta mixture in a Ziplock bag and store in fridge until ready to assemble.
-Add tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and cut basil just before serving.
-Drizzle with dressing, make sure to shake the dressing jar before pouring on salad!
-Top with additional salt and pepper and another drizzle of olive oil!

14 thoughts on “Caprese Pasta Salad

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  1. I made this tonight and it was seriously so delicious and flavorful. I almost took leftovers to share with a neighbor, (because it’s so good that you want others to enjoy it also) but decided to selfishly hoard the rest for lunch tomorrow. So instead, I forwarded on the recipe (took away some of the guilt for not sharing), plotted the next time I’m making this (this weekend), and decided I should comment so others will make it also! Thank you for posting this Si! Many of your recipes are in my meal rotation. I always trust your recommendations.

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and don’t feel bad for not sharing. It’s so yummy, I’ve rarely had any for leftovers. Thanks for your comment and for reading ABK!
      xo
      Si

  2. I’m unclear on the dry Italian Seasoning. Do you use a packet of Good Seasons Dressing mix to toss with the pasta, minus the 2 Tbsp. to sprinkle over the top?

  3. Yum! Tried this out tonight for me and my husband (halved the recipe) and loved it! So simple, yet so tasty. I’m not a big onion fan, so I finely chopped the red onion. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I agree, Beth, this recipe is so fresh and delicious, perfect for the warmer weather! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,
      xo
      Si

  4. Your Caprese Pasta salad was the blue prize winner at our Relief Society annual summer Salad Social in my back yard (if we had given out prizes)😂
    We served over 45 ladies and those that tried the Caprese salad raved about it and some even came back for more.
    Easy and tasty for sure!

  5. 5 stars
    Simple to make, yet boosting with flavor! I didn’t have any dijon mustard on hand, but look forward to trying it the next time I make this recipe. My husband is dieting and initially mentioned he’d only take one bite, but couldn’t resist taking multiple.

  6. Quick question about the dressing recipe. It says “balsamic red or white”. I’m assuming vinegar. I guess I didn’t realize it came in red or white. The kind I have from costco doesn’t indicate red or white. Do I need a different kind??

    1. Hi Yumi,

      I should clarify that in the recipe! I use red in this recipe, but you may use either. The type purchased at Costco is usually a dark red balsamic, which is perfect. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading ABK,
      xo
      Si