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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
Author Natasha Bull


  • 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


  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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.