Caprese Pasta Salad
I love the fresh flavors of a Caprese salad: mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic. So “old country.” A pasta salad version couldn’t go wrong.
Did you know? Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil. It is occasionally paired with arugula. The usual presentation is an arrangement on a plate. Like "Pizza Margherita, it features the colours of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish) and may be eaten any time of day. (source: Wikipedia)
I adapted this recipe from one on Delish.com. Their version would feed a small crowd, but I am feeding two so I make a different quantity. I use most ingredients half of the original recipe, with one exception: cheese. I use the same amount of cheese for half the salad. Why? Because (repeat after me) “There is no such thing as too much cheese!”
Looks right to me!
Don't forget the balsamic glaze
In my opinion, what takes this Caprese Pasta Salad from good to great is the balsamic glaze. Yummy! Now, if you’d really like, I could recommend a recipe for making balsamic glaze. But really, who wants to?
Finding this grocery item was life-changing for me. In my opinion, it’s not worth making from scratch unless you cook with it All. The. Time. Which I do not. 😀
How to make Caprese pasta salad
Like most pasta salads, this one comes together very quickly. Use the time while the pasta is cooking to cut up the tomatoes and basil, and whisk together the dressing. Drain and cool the pasta, then everything is combined. Easy-peasy!
Dress up your Caprese Pasta Salad with more basil and balsamic glaze to make it just as pretty as it is delicious.
Interesting fact: Radiatore pasta is so named because they resemble radiators.
More summer menu ideas
This salad goes great with anything from the grill, like a Juicy Lucy or even Grilled Pizza.
Need another pasta salad? Try this Easy Pasta Salad!
And a Balsamic Cucumber Tomato salad or Greek Cucumber Salad will be welcome at any gathering.
Caprese Pasta Salad
For the Pasta Salad
- 2 cups dry pasta radiatore or fusilli
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls pearl size
- 1 pt. grape tomatoes halved
- 2 TB thinly sliced basil plus more for garnish if desired
- Balsamic glaze for drizzling
For the Dressing
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ TB red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a medium bowl, combine pasta, cheese, tomatoes and basil.
- In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until combined.
- Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to combine. Garnish with sliced basil, drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.