My Favorite Italian Pasta Salad
I love this Caprese Pasta Salad recipe. It is my favorite Italian pasta salad for three reasons:
Reason 1: It is SO delicious!
The most important reason I love this salad is that it is SO YUMMY. This pasta salad has the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and tangy. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the mozzarella cheese pairs perfectly with the tang of the balsamic vinaigrette. I like eating this salad warm or cold. It tastes just as delicious as leftovers as it does on the day I make it. I sometimes chow down on a bowl of leftover caprese pasta salad early in the morning.
Reason 2: It is quick and easy to prepare.
In addition to making an appearance on my dinner table several times a month, this recipe is one of my standby recipes for pot lucks, picnics, and dinner parties. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare. I am constantly volunteering to bring dishes to events for friends and family members. This pasta salad is always a crowd-pleaser. It requires very basic food preparation skills and time. If you are beginning your culinary adventure in your own kitchen, this is a great recipe to have in your back pocket.
Reason 3: It is a versatile pasta salad and can match just about any food lifestyle with minor adjustments.
This pasta salad is so versatile! It is already a vegetarian salad. Even though it is vegetarian, it satisfies even the most carnivorous eaters.
If you have a vegan at the table, substitute the 8 oz. of mozzarella cheese with 8 oz. of tofu. Voila! The salad is now vegan. (*Chef note: If you are preparing this dish for a vegan, watch out for pasta ingredients! Most store-bought pastas are vegan. However, some have egg in them, so be sure to read the ingredient list on the package).
If you would like for this pasta salad to be more substantial (but no longer vegetarian), add grilled or roasted chicken or shrimp on top.
If you are following a low carb lifestyle, swap the pasta for greens. The tomato, mozzarella and basil mixture tastes amazing over a bed of spinach or arugula. If you are following a keto lifestyle, you can add some healthy fat by slicing an avocado on top.
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All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. The ones that are not come highly rated. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
If you are just starting to furnish your kitchen with tools or if you are looking to expand your kitchen toolkit, be sure to reference Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen for Less Than $200. This guide contains links to all of the equipment items I recommend for a basic kitchen set up.
My essential tools when making this pasta salad include the following:
Below is the recipe for my Caprese Pasta Salad. I invite you to try it out and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments. Enjoy!
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta farfalle recommended
- 1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes halved
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cubed
- ¼ cup fresh basil torn or chopped
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar *Chef note: This recipe is best with good quality balsamic vinegar.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- coarsely ground pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions (for added flavor, add a large pinch of salt to the water to season the pasta).
- Mix tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil together in a large bowl.
- Pour balsamic vinegar into a small bowl and drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the bowl while whisking vigorously (this action should thicken the dressing slightly). Add a pinch of coarsely ground black pepper.
- Pour half of the balsamic vinegar mixture over the tomato, mozzarella, basil mixture. Stir with a spoon.
- Pour the prepared pasta over the tomato, mozzarella, basil mixture. Pour the remaining balsamic vinaigrette mixture over the pasta. Stir with a large spoon.
- For a warm salad, serve right away. For a chilled salad, place in refrigerator and chill for at least an hour before service. Enjoy!