Wanna put a unique spin on a classic Italian Caprese salad with a Caprese pasta dish? This Caprese pasta salad is sure to impress your guests with its traditional Italian flavours and hearty pasta twist.
This easy and delicious Caprese pasta salad combines bright and fresh cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil, all tossed with a bold balsamic salad dressing.
Reasons you’ll love this recipe
- EASY: This recipe is super easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
- UNIQUE: Just like our Caprese butter board, this Caprese pasta salad is inspired by the traditional flavours of a classic Caprese and creates something so unique and just as, if not more, delicious!
- QUICK: There are just a few steps to making this recipe so it will be ready to serve your guests in no time!
- TASTE: This recipe is perfect for the warmer months, like spring and summer. It's bright and fresh and the best to share with friends and family at dinner parties and picnics.
- TOMATOES: The acidity of the tomatoes balances out some of the other ingredients, like mozzarella, in this recipe and adds a very bright and fresh flavour. You will need 4 cups of sliced cherry or grape tomatoes.
- BOCCONCINNI BALLS: This recipe uses creamy bocconcini balls (a form of mozzarella and a traditional ingredient in Caprese), which you can find at any local grocery store. You will need 3 cups of sliced bocconcini balls.
- FRESH BASIL: Another traditional ingredient in Caprese is basil. Basil offers a beautiful fragrance to this dish. You will need half a cup of thinly sliced basil.
- PASTA NOODLES: Well, it wouldn’t be a pasta salad without it! You can choose your favourite pasta noodle, or copy us and use 410 grams (about 1 pound) of farfalle noodles (otherwise known as butterfly pasta and bowtie pasta!)
- OLIVE OIL: The oil is used to coat the cooked pasta noodles to keep them from sticking while you prep the other ingredients and is also used in the salad dressing. You will need 1 tablespoon to coat the noodles and 6 tablespoons for the dressing.
- BALSAMIC VINEGAR: I’m sure you’ve seen that classic balsamic drizzle over any Caprese dish, and that's why we include it in the dressing! You will need 6 teaspoons.
- RED WINE VINEGAR: Also included in the dressing for a bit of sweetness and acidity. You will need 4 tablespoons.
- GARLIC: Probably the best part of the salad dressing..some fresh garlic. You will need to shred or mince 2 large cloves of garlic.
- MAYONAISE: To thicken the dressing a bit, 2 teaspoons of mayo is included (the dressing is pretty thin, though).
- DRIED OREGANO: Oregano gives the salad dressing an earthy touch. Use 2 teaspoons.
- SALT: It may seem like a lot...but this recipe makes a huge salad, and salt will really help elevate the flavors! Use 3 and ½ teaspoons.
- PEPPER: Add ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper.
- LARGE POT: For boiling the pasta.
- STRAINER/COLANDER: For straining the cooked pasta.
- SMALL BOWL: For making the salad dressing.
- LARGE BOWL: For combining the salad ingredients.
- MEASURING SPOONS AND CUPS: For measuring and adding the ingredients.
- Cook: Boil the pasta according to the package instructions in a large pot on high heat. Once cooked, strain and rinse under cold water. Add the pasta to a large bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- Make: In a small bowl, combine and mix the salad dressing ingredients.
- Combine: Add the tomatoes, bocconcini balls, basil, and ¾ of the salad dressing to the bowl of pasta.
- Serve: Mix the salad thoroughly and serve. The remaining ¼ of the salad dressing can be reserved to top up the salad the next day if you have leftovers.
- Cook the pasta to al dente. If you’re wondering, “What does al dente mean”?, it means “to the tooth” in Italian, meaning there should be a bit of a bite to it. Most pasta packages will provide a range for cooking time, and our method is to cook the pasta for the lesser amount. For example, if the package says 8–9 minutes, we’ll cook it for 8 minutes.
- Reserve some dressing. If you plan on having leftovers, you’ll want to save some salad dressing to freshen the pasta salad up the next day, as the pasta and cheese tend to soak most of it up overnight.
- Make this ahead of time. This is a super easy make ahead recipe. Just note that you’ll want to reserve some salad dressing to top up the salad the next day.
Really any main dish will go great with a Caprese pasta salad (especially in the summer), like oven-baked chicken, barbeque sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, etc.
There are four main ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil and fresh basil.
Heirloom is a popular choice when it comes to Caprese, however, in this recipe, we use cherry tomatoes because they hold their shape well and are the perfect bite size for a salad recipe!
Two of the most common cheese used in Caprese are fresh mozzarella cheese (bocconcini balls are a small ball shape form of this) and burrata. Both are soft and creamy and soak up the dressing flavours.
Absolutely! Some say it's even better the next day once the flavours have had time to marinate. You should also reserve about ¼ of the salad dressing to top up the salad the next day.
The starch and heat cause pasta noodles to stick, so be sure to run the cooked pasta under cold water and mix in some olive oil to avoid that!
This happens because the noodles and cheese soak up much of the dressing. It still looks great, and there’s a ton more flavour from the ingredients soaking up the dressing the next day.
Store in the fridge covered for up to 5 days. Top it up with reserved salad dressing as needed.
- CHEESE: Mozzarella cheese, Buratta cheese
- TOMATOES: Grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, Heirloom tomatoes, Big beef tomatoes
- PASTA: Penne, Rigatoni, Macaroni, Fusilli, Rotini
- White wine vinegar