Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, the tang of basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Who doesn’t like a wonderfully fresh Caprese Salad?
And when you add pasta…well, then it becomes a meal. Satisfying, rich and perfectly wonderful, Easy Caprese Pasta Salad is a salad you’ll want to make again and again.
This great pasta salad is not only quick and easy to make, but it keeps happily in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it for a fun lunch or dinner…or even better…until you pack it up for a picnic.
So, let’s make it.
Ingredients for Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Mozzarella cheese
- Basil Pesto
- Olive oil
- Farfalle pasta, the bow tie pasta
How to Make Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
The pasta you use is really up to you. I chose farfalle, because I think those little bow tie shapes are cute. And in this salad they are actually even cuter because I found a miniature version of them.
But you absolutely have other options too…. like corkscrew shaped fusilli, or penne – both of which hold the sauce well. Then there’s bell shaped campanelle, little cup shaped pasta-like conchiglie, or always a favorite, macaroni.
Whichever type of pasta you use, begin by cooking it by package directions in salted water. Test it a minute before it’s done. You’ll want it to be more al dente – to the bite – to give the pasta some texture.
At this point add some olive oil and stir to coat. This prevents the pasta from sticking together. I’ve made the mistake before of not adding the oil and what a mess! Let’s just say it wasn’t salvageable. Ah, you learn by your mistakes.
Then the main attraction comes. The Caprese part of the salad – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
I found presliced Mozzarella at the store, so all I had to do was cut the rounds in half.
But a Mozzarella ball will work fine too. Just cut it in easy to eat slices. Add diced tomatoes and finally for the basil part of the salad, finish with some premade pesto sauce.
If you have more time to make homemade pesto, check out this recipe for Rosie Daley’s Pesto. This has been my go to recipe for Pesto.
It has more lemon juice and less oil than regular pesto sauce, so it’s much healthier. And it tastes great.
I always keep some frozen and ready to go when I want it. I just make a batch and spoon it into a cupcake pan. Then put the pan in the freezer.
When it’s frozen just pop out the individual pesto portions and freeze them in a zip lock bag. So simple and they last for months.
And that’s it. Easy Caprese Pasta Salad. A special bonus if you’re into healthy recipes is that each serving of this delicious salad is only 335 calories and only 5 grams of fat. Easy, delicious and healthy.
Check out these other great salad recipes:
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Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
- 2 Cups Farfalle Bow tie pasta
- 1/4 Tsp Salt Prefer Himalayan Pink
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Large Tomato Seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp Scallions Green ends, diced
- 3 Oz Mozzarella Cheese Sliced thin
- 3 Tbsp Pesto Sauce
- 1 Small Lemon Zested and Juiced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook according to package directions to an al dente stage. Drain in a colander and then chill it down under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Add it to a serving bowl along with 1 tsp of olive oil. Mix lightly. This keeps the pasta from sticking together.
- Add tomatoes and scallions to the pasta. Arrange mozzarella over the top.
- In a small bowl add pesto, lemon juice, lemon zest and the remaining olive oil and mix well Spoon pesto sauce over top of pasta, tomatoes, scallions and mozzarella cheese.