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. I call this pasta salad a side dish, but it would also work as an vegetarian main course too.
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 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! 🙂
More Caprese recipes you can try:
- Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe
- Healthy Caprese Skillet Lasagna
- The Best Caprese Crostini
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
- 4 cups uncooked penne
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella or Bocconcini (see note)
- 1/2 small red onion 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 6+ 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.