Caprese Pasta Salad is a bright, tangy summer salad that is perfect to take to a potluck or picnic. Grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, garlic, and fresh basil are the most delicious additions to a pasta salad recipe!
This caprese pasta salad is a great meatless meal or top it with grilled chicken breasts to add extra protein.
Start with Fresh Ingredients
A caprese salad is a very simple recipe with few ingredients so it’s important to choose great quality.
- Tomatoes: I use cherry or grape tomatoes but any ripe fresh tomatoes will be great in this recipe. I also add some diced sundried tomatoes (oil packed is best).
- Mozzarella: Bocconcini is the perfect creamy addition to this salad. It’s softer and milder than a traditional mozzarella (and available at almost any store).
- Basil: This is one place it’s really worth it to use fresh, the flavor is amazing! Instead of buying a little bunch of basil at the grocery, check if they have basil plants. They’re only a few dollars and will last a long time!
- Pasta: Any medium pasta works, choose one with crevices and curves so it can hold the dressing!
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
This recipe is easy caprese!
- Cook and drain pasta, rinse under cold water (to stop it from cooking).
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and add tomatoes to the dressing. Let marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature for maximum flavor!
- Combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients and drizzle dressing over.
Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate at least two hour before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and cracked black pepper before serving (the basil is best added just before serving)!
Caprese Salad Dressing
A simple combo of olive oil and red wine vinegar is the base of the dressing. If you are using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, add a splash of oil from the jar for great flavor!
Some people like balsamic vinegar on caprese, you can add a splash if you like but it’s a bit more powerful than red wine vinegar so use sparingly. I prefer a small drizzle of balsamic glaze before serving.
Can You Make This in Advance?
Caprese Pasta Salad can be made in advance, but no more than about a day. Be sure to toss well and adjust the salt and pepper before serving!
Pass the Pasta
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad – party favorite!
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad – simple and delicious
- Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad – ready in 20 mins!
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad – fresh and flavorful!
- Italian Pasta Salad – reader favorite.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 pound rotini cooked & cooled
- 3 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese cubed
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup basil chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt & pepper
- Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add tomatoes to dressing mix and allow to marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
- Combine pasta, mozzarella, red onion and sun dried tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with tomato/dressing mixture and season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
- Chop fresh basil. Drizzle salad with balsamic glaze and sprinkle basil on top just before serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)