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Caprese Pasta Salad

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The first time I’d ever eaten a Caprese salad, layered with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, was in a cousin’s house in New Jersey. My grandfather had taken my cousin and me up to Jersey to meet my grandmother’s family, and they had a gorgeous summer garden. The tomatoes were ripe, the basil was bright green, and this Caprese pasta salad is my way of remembering that delicious trip!

What is a Caprese Salad?

Insalata Caprese is the actual name of the Caprese salad and it hails from the island of Capri in the Mediterranean. I wouldn’t mind a trip to Capri just to see where this “Salad of Capri” got its start.

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Caprese salad takes the best tastes of summer, fresh ripe tomatoes and vibrant basil, and pairs it with rich, creamy mozzarella (not the hard block), and tangy balsamic vinegar with olive oil. Everything about this salad screams Mediterranean! For a classic Caprese salad recipe, check out Skinnytaste’s recipe.

So why not take a step onto the sun soaked shores of Capri and try this Carpese Pasta Salad that can be easily made in less than 30 minutes? Your family will thank you.

Ingredients for Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb shell pasta (or your favorite tubular or spiral pasta)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped tomatoes (grape varieties work well here)
  • 1 cup chopped basil (grow your own!)
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella (soft, white variety, not the hard block if possible)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Caprese Recipe

  1. Begin by boiling your pasta according to package directions. Set aside cooked pasta and allow to cool for several minutes. (To keep pasta from sticking, drizzle with a bit of olive oil.)
  2. While pasta cooks and cools, chop tomatoes and basil, and cube mozzarella.

3. Combine tomatoes, cheese, and basil with pasta and mix well.

4. Make dressing by whisking together olive oil, garlic, and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to dressing to taste. Add to pasta salad, and stir to combine.

5. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to give it a little time in the fridge for the dressing to soak into the pasta, but if you’re in a time crunch, no worries!

Pasta Salad Variations

  • Add grilled chicken for a protein-rich addition that will make this a complete meal.
  • Use different shapes and varieties of pasta, such as spiral or rotini, and even try black bean pasta or lentil pasta.
  • Swap out the pasta for a gluten-free type.
  • Double up the tomatoes, cheese, and basil for a pasta salad more reminiscent of a traditional Caprese salad.
  • Use a store bought balsamic vinaigrette (such as Newman’s Own) if you don’t want to make one.

How to store pasta salad

Store pasta salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Any leftover salad should be good for 4-5 days after making. After this point, the basil can begin to brown and be unappetizing.

How to Grow Tomatoes and Basil

Want to grow the fresh ingredients from this pasta salad at home? Check out my tutorials on how to grow tomatoes and basil, so you can have the freshest ingredients possible at your fingertips!

I’d love to know if you give this fresh Caprese pasta salad recipe a try and if you tried any variations yourself! Have a great week and happy gardening!

Yield: 8 servings

Easy Caprese Pasta Salad

caprese pasta salad in white bowl

Whip up this quick and easy Caprese pasta salad recipe tonight. This quick salad can be whipped up any night of the week and is perfect with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. A fresh balsamic vinaigrette finishes it off!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shell pasta (or your favorite tubular or spiral pasta)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped tomatoes (grape varieties work well here)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella (soft, white variety, not the hard block if possible)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Begin by boiling your pasta according to package directions (use salted water). Set aside cooked pasta and allow to cool for several minutes. (To keep pasta from sticking, drizzle with a bit of olive oil.)
    2. While pasta cooks and cools, chop tomatoes and basil, and cube mozzarella.
    3. Combine tomatoes, cheese, and basil with pasta and mix well.
    4. Make dressing by whisking together olive oil, garlic, and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to dressing to taste. Add to pasta salad, and stir to combine.
    5. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to give it a little time in the fridge for the dressing to soak into the pasta, but if you're in a time crunch, no worries!

Notes

Variations:

  • Add grilled chicken for a protein-rich addition that will make this a complete meal.
  • Use different shapes and varieties of pasta, such as spiral or rotini, and even try black bean pasta or lentil pasta.
  • Swap out the pasta for a gluten-free type.
  • Double up the tomatoes, cheese, and basil for a pasta salad more reminiscent of a traditional Caprese salad.
  • Use a store bought balsamic vinaigrette (such as Newman's Own) if you don't want to make one.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
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