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This balsamic caprese pasta salad is a fresh, quick, and simple vegetarian side dish that's perfect for picnics or BBQs.

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.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword balsamic caprese pasta salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 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.