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Caprese Pasta Recipe

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5 from 11 votes

This Caprese Pasta recipe is made with only a handful of fresh ingredients such as pasta, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Coated in an Italian balsamic dressing and can be served warm or cold.

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Caprese pasta recipe.Pin

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you love classic Caprese salad and pasta, you will love this delightful Caprese Pasta recipe! Made with the same ingredients as classic tomato caprese and makes a great side dish or appetizer the whole family will love. 

We marinate the tomato mixture with a homemade dressing for the best flavors before adding the pasta. Caprese pasta salad takes minutes to make and can be served right away or chilled in the refrigerator if you prefer it cold. You can easily make this the day ahead if you wanted to bring it to a potluck, holiday, or party. This makes a fun and festive dish on Christmas because of the vibrant red and green colors :).

​Be sure to try my Melon Caprese Salad, Prosciutto Caprese Salad, Fresh Caprese Salad, and Candy Cane Caprese (fun for Christmas!).

Close up of caprese pasta salad with mozzarella balls and tomatoes. Pin

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Make-ahead: Since this pasta salad is cold, you can make this up to 1 to 3 days ahead and it will store perfectly in the refrigerator.

Caprese flavors: It has all the same flavors of a classic caprese in a pasta form.

It’s easily customizable: You can add your favorite add-ins and protein.

Portable: You can easily bring this dish anywhere by placing the pasta salad in a bowl covered with a tight lid or airtight container. You don’t need to worry about it staying warm or heating it up.

Perfect all year round: Bring this to the next potluck, BBQ, picnic, summer parties, Christmas parties, or anytime you’re craving caprese salad.

Spoonful of caprese pasta.Pin

key ingredients

  • Pasta: Use your favorite pasta for this. I love using a short pasta shape for pasta salads so it’s easier to eat. Use whole wheat pasta for a healthier twist! It’s always best to use al dente pasta.
  • Fresh mozzarella balls: I could eat fresh mozzarella cheese straight up as a snack, it’s so good! I love using the bite-size mozzarella balls but you could also cut the balls in half. Cutting fresh mozzarella into cubes or using fresh mozzarella pearls or marinated herb mozzarella balls would also work perfectly.
  • Grape tomatoes or sweet cherry tomatoes: I love to cut them in half so everything in this salad is bite-sized. Any kind of fresh tomatoes will work.
  • Fresh basil leaves: Fresh is always best as opposed to dried basil. The basil adds fresh flavor, similar to the classic caprese.
  • Homemade dressing: We use extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a garlic clove, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Alternatively, you could use a white balsamic vinegar instead of regular balsamic vinegar. 

how to make caprese pasta recipe

Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions or until al dente.

Make dressing: In the meantime, combine dressing ingredients and whisk together in a medium bowl until combined.

Marinate ingredients: Add tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, basil, and dressing and toss to coat. Let sit until pasta has cooled.

Add pasta, stir, and serve: Add cooled and cooked pasta and toss until pasta is coated in the dressing. Serve or place in the refrigerator to get cold. Enjoy!

How to make caprese pasta salad.Pin

recipe tips & variations

  • Always salt your water: Generously salt pasta water with about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot of boiling water. I usually add 1 tablespoon of salt for every pound of pasta I boil. This will add more flavor to the pasta.
  • Double the recipe: Since this pasta salad lasts well in the refrigerator, I always recommend doubling the recipe because it will go quickly and you could enjoy it for a snack, side dish or lunch.
  • Let your pasta salad rest: Once you’ve made the pasta salad, let it sit in the fridge to get cold and for the flavors to sit in- for about an hour. This will help make the caprese pasta salad extra flavorful and perfectly chilled.
  • Make the night before:You can prep this pasta salad the night before if you want to save time. Be sure to leave out the fresh basil so it doesn’t get soggy and add it in the next day.
  • Add meat: Make this a main course by adding your favorite protein or top the pasta salad with grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
  • Gluten-free: Make this a gluten-free pasta dish by using gluten-free pasta.
  • Add-ins: Cucumbers, avocado, bell peppers, onion, pesto, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, prosciutto, or salami.
  • Add spice: Add more black pepper or red pepper flakes to add heat. 

leftovers & storage

  • To-store: Caprese pasta is even better the next day because the flavors sit together making this even better tasting. Place leftovers in an airtight container or cover the dish with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.
  • To-freeze: Make the recipe as directed then place in an airtight container or heavy duty ziplock bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, refrigerator overnight or leave out on the counter for a few hours until softened.

*If the pasta salad seems dry after sitting in the fridge or after defrosting, drizzle a little olive oil or add more fresh pesto and stir until combined.

Pasta salad in a bowl with fresh basil on top.Pin
Caprese salad pasta in a bowl.Pin

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Caprese Pasta Recipe

This Caprese Pasta recipe is made with only a handful of fresh ingredients such as pasta, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Coated in an Italian balsamic dressing and can be served warm or cold.
5 from 11 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: caprese pasta, caprese pasta salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound pasta of choice
  • 8 ounce fresh mini mozzarella balls
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil shredded

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions or until al dente.
  • In the meantime, combine dressing ingredients and whisk together in a medium bowl until combined.
  • Add tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, basil, and dressing and toss to coat. Let sit until pasta has cooled.
  • Add cooled pasta and toss until pasta is coated in the dressing. Serve or place in the refrigerator to get cold. Enjoy!
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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my, this salad is calling my name. I could make a meal of this. Just add a glass of wine and dinner is ready. Yum!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this a few days ago and it was so delicious. That’s my husband’s favorite pasta, so he was a happy guy!

  3. 5 stars
    My husband and I love caprese salad so what a great idea to add pasta to make it more hearty for a meal. We absolutely enjoyed this pasta salad recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Such a simple yet delicious salad. I love to eat it as a meal not just a side! The dressing marinade is great!

  5. 5 stars
    I love caprese as a pasta salad. It’s a super side dish as well as a light lunch idea. I like the sound of your dressing and will definitely try it. Here in Italy we only use olive oil.

  6. 5 stars
    I just love how quick and easy this was! I needed a quick dinner and my family devoured this in record speed. They asked for it again next week! Thanks.

  7. 5 stars
    This pasta dish turns out so delicious. It is perfect to eat as a meal or a side dish. We loved every bite.