This balsamic Caprese pasta salad is a light, quick, and simple vegetarian side dish that’s perfect for picnics or BBQs.
This pasta salad has the delicious classic Caprese flavor combination of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella, with balsamic vinegar and olive oil making up the dressing.
It’s a nice alternative to the many mayo-soaked pasta salads that typically make the rounds at summer events.
I added some red onions and parsley in here for an extra burst of flavor, but other than that, this pasta salad is true to the traditional Caprese flavors.
It’s deliciously simple and does not need a ton of ingredients.
With that said, please DO adjust the dressing ingredients to your specifications – some will prefer more dressing, but I wrote this recipe with moderation in mind.
The pasta does mute the flavors somewhat, so I found that giving this salad a little “bite” with the onion and balsamic vinegar definitely lifted it a notch.
I’m all about quick and fresh warm-weather meals these days. We’re finally starting to see some warmer temperatures here! Hallelujah!
Fussing around in the kitchen is best done when it’s too cold to go outside – not when the patio is waiting! 😉
I call this pasta salad a side dish, but it would also work as an vegetarian main course too.
I have plenty more fresh spring/summer recipes coming in the next few months. In the meantime, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors again! 🙂
Have you made this tomato mozzarella basil pasta salad? I think you’ll like it!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about this Caprese pasta salad recipe!
Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad
A light and refreshing pasta salad with the classic Caprese flavors of basil, fresh mozza, and tomato. Tossed with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
- 4 cups uncooked penne
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella or Bocconcini (see note)
- 1/4 medium red onion (about 3 tbsp), chopped
- Handful grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
- Large handful fresh basil, torn
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to taste
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse it under cold water. Ensure it's properly drained again before adding it to a large bowl.
- Add the mozzarella, onion, tomatoes, vinegar, oil, basil, parsley, and salt & pepper to the bowl. Gently toss it. Adjust vinegar, oil, and seasonings as needed depending on how much dressing you like. Chill for an hour or serve immediately.
Serves 4+ as a side dish.
I bought an 8 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella and broke it into bite-sized pieces for the photos. You could also try those mini Bocconcini. I love the ones packed in oil & herbs.
When I make this salad, I add extra balsamic vinegar and plenty of salt & pepper. I wrote this recipe with customization in mind. You have to play with the dressing to make it taste the way you like e.g. if you prefer more/stronger dressing.
Love easy summer pasta salad recipes? You may also like my simple grilled chicken pasta salad.