🍅 Best Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe 🍃

The traditional tastes of a Caprese salad combined with the heartiness of pasta create a dish that is bright and fresh, called Caprese Pasta Salad. This salad combines aromatic basil, juicy tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella with a mild balsamic dressing. It’s ideal for light lunches or dinners, potlucks, and summer picnics. 🍅🍃

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces pasta (such as fusilli, penne, or farfalle)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini), halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Cook the Pasta:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  1. Prepare the Dressing:
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  1. Combine Ingredients:
  • Add the halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and torn basil leaves to the pasta.
  1. Toss the Salad:
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Toss gently to combine, ensuring all the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  1. Optional Additions:
  • If using, sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the salad and toss again to combine.
  1. Chill:
  • For the best flavor, refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  1. Serve:
  • Before serving, give the salad a final toss and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy your Caprese Pasta Salad chilled or at room temperature.

Tips for the Best Caprese Pasta Salad

  • Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest ingredients possible, especially the tomatoes and basil, for the best flavor.
  • Pasta Choice: Choose a pasta shape that holds onto the dressing well, such as fusilli, penne, or farfalle.
  • Make Ahead: This salad can be made a few hours in advance. If making ahead, you may want to add the basil and cheese just before serving to keep them fresh.
  • Dressing Variations: For a different flavor profile, try adding a splash of lemon juice to the dressing or a drizzle of honey for a touch of sweetness.

Combining the pleasing texture of pasta with the traditional tastes of a Caprese salad, Caprese Pasta Salad is a pleasant and refreshing dish. This salad is great for any occasion and will definitely be popular with family and friends. Savor each bite’s vibrant, fresh flavors! 🍅🍃