This simple Caprese Pasta Salad recipe is easy to make with pantry staples, full of fresh herbs, vegetables and creamy mozzarella cheese.
Tossed with quick balsamic vinaigrette it’s a perfect summer side or potluck dish.
Seasonal summer flavors available year round
The combination of tomatoes with basil and cheese is one of my very most favorite things. I keep a constant supply of fresh basil on my windowsill and if I can keep my daughter from eating all the tomatoes I usually have a good supply on the counter.
Made from common fresh ingredients and pantry staples:
- basil I like to buy live basil and keep on my windowsill
- fresh mozzarella either cut in cubes or purchased in little balls and drained. Ferndale Farmstead Fior di Latte is my favorite
- cherry tomatoes cut in half or smaller grape tomatoes left whole
- noodles I am using regular rotini noodles because, kids. BUT, if it were just me I was cooking for I would choose whole grain or gluten free noodles. Choose whatever you like or have sitting in the pantry.
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- olives – Of course if you’re of the ‘I don’t do olives’ camp just leave them out.
- red pepper flakes
How to make
As easy as boiling noodles, adding a quick vinaigrette and mixing in basil, tomatoes, olives and cheese. Then topping with a generous handful of parmesan.
Make it your own
There’s lots of ways to make this cold pasta salad your own or take it from side dish to simple all in one meal.
- Add in baby spinach leaves for more fresh flavor. Or serve over a pile of spinach like this Baked Chicken Parmesan.
- Add extra protein with a handful of cooked chicken, sliced steak or cold chickpeas.
- Use pesto as the dressing.
- 1 pound uncooked pasta I used rotini
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella I used fior di latte or bocconcini
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 can black olives 16 ounces, drained
- 1/2 cup fresh basil loosely packed and cut into ribbons
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Cook noodles in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse then place in large mixing bowl.
- Prepare balsamic dressing and toss with undrained noodles. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
- Prepare other ingredients. Drain mozzarella and discard brine. If mozzarella balls are large, cut in halves or quarters. Cut tomatoes in similiar sized pieces (or leave whole if using grape tomatoes).
- Toss cooled and dressed pasta with mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, remaining basil and top with parmesan cheese.
- In a small bowl add garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of basil ribbons. Add balsamic vinegar and slowly whisk in olive oil.
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