This Caprese Pasta Salad is packed full of fresh flavors and is perfect for any occasion! Whether you are serving it as a side dish or the main event, this mix of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and pasta is a great way to enjoy the fresh taste of summer.
You're going to love this refreshing cold Caprese Pasta Salad as a side dish or vegetarian main.
Traditionally, Caprese salad is a simple Italian dish made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. The salad gets its name from the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil). This flavor combination is a classic for a reason - it is refreshing and delicious!
Caprese pasta salad is a great option if you're looking for a heartier dish. This salad combines all of the fresh flavors of traditional Caprese salad with the addition of pasta.
It's perfect for a picnic or potluck and can easily be made ahead of time. Simply cook the pasta, mix everything together, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve!
Looking for more salads? Try Broad Bean Salad, Kohlrabi Salad, Roasted Red Kuri Squash Salad, or Kohlrabi Slaw!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Caprese pasta salad is a great way to use in-season tomatoes and basil during the summer months.
It can easily be made ahead, saving you time.
This pasta salad is served cold, making it a refreshing option for the warmer weather.
You can serve it as a side dish or add your favorite protein to make it a tasty entree.
- Dried Pasta - Pasta salad works well with various dry pasta. You can use rotini, shells, or even fusilli.
- Small Tomatoes - The star of the salad, make sure to use fresh tomatoes for the best results. Use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
- Mozzarella Cheese - A key ingredient in any Caprese salad that adds a soft and creamy texture. Use mozzarella pearls or cube your favorite mozzarella cheese into bite-sized pieces.
- Fresh Basil - This popular Italian herb adds a bright and garden-fresh flavor to the salad.
- Salt and Pepper - Helps bring out the natural flavor in the ingredients and is used to taste.
For the oregano balsamic dressing:
- Olive Oil - Gives the dressing a rich taste that coats the pasta salad and absorbs all of the flavors.
- Balsamic Vinegar - Adds a tangy acidic note to the dressing along with natural sweetness.
- Dried Oregano - Gives the salad a hint of oregano flavor that pairs well with the flavor of fresh basil.
- Salt & Pepper - Balances the dressing by enhancing the flavor.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this Caprese Pasta Salad recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Cook the pasta: Add your dried pasta to boiling water and cook it according to the package directions. Once it's cooked, rinse it under cold water to cool it and stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Assemble the dressing: Add the oil, vinegar, and dried spices to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine fully.
Prepare the cheese and vegetables: Rinse the tomatoes and chop them in half. Cut the basil leaves into small slices and cube the mozzarella if you're not using small pearls.
Toss the salad: Add the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Toss gently to coat everything with the dressing and place in the fridge to chill and develop flavors. Serve cold and enjoy!
The best pasta to use for pasta salad is one that is small and textured to soak up and hold onto all of the flavors of the balsamic oregano dressing.
When cooking the pasta, you may want to undercook it or cook it al dente slightly. This will help ensure that your pasta doesn't become soggy over time.
If you are using mozzarella pearls, there is no need to cube the cheese. Simply add them to the salad as is.
If you have larger grape or cherry tomatoes, quarter them so they stay bite-sized to help keep the salad uniform.
Caprese salad is best when it's had time to chill in the fridge. This will ensure that all of the flavors have melded together.
Serve this salad cold for the best taste and flavor.
Serve with Italian Lemon Drop Cookies for dessert.
Enjoy outside along with a refreshing glass of sparkling Rose Lemonade.
Pair with a Vegan Grilled Caesar Salad for a well-rounded lunch.
Add Air Fryer Croutons to the top for a crunchy garnish.
If you love the flavors of caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil) try these other Caprese Recipes.
Make this a delicious vegetarian entree by adding some cooked tofu, white beans, or canned chickpeas.
Change up the flavor of the dressing by using other herbs such as thyme or rosemary instead of oregano.
Add some chopped cucumber, avocado, or red onion for extra flavor and crunch.
Instead of mozzarella, try using other soft cheese such as ricotta, feta, or goat cheese.
Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days. Freezing is not recommended as the pasta and vegetables will change in texture when thawed.
Caprese salad is a dish made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and olive oil. Bruschetta is a dish made with grilled bread that is topped with diced tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
You can use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar. The flavor will change depending on which vinegar you use.
Caprese is a region in Italy where this salad originated. It's also the name of the salad which means "in the style of Capri".
More Pasta Recipes
Caprese Pasta Salad
- ½ pound pasta 225g
- 12 oz grape tomatoes
- 6 oz mozzarella 170g pearls/balls (or cut mozzarella into cubes)
- ¼ cup basil fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the oregano balsamic dressing
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool it. Set aside.
- For the vinaigrette, simply whisk all ingredients together.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, and finely slice the basil leaves.
- Add the pasta to a large bowl, along with the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper.
- Pour in a little of the dressing and toss it all gently. If desired, add more dressing.
- Store in the fridge and serve cold.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
This is so good!!! Everyone at my house seriously loved it, even my kids!
My favorite Italian flavors in a yummy salad. Yes please! I added some chicken to make a hearty meal and the whole family loved it.
Such a simple yet tasty recipe. Great for a potluck!
Such a great and simple salad. Love how fresh it is and that it is vegetarian. Went perfectly with my end of summer bbq.
I love this salad so much! It's so refreshing and a little more filling than a regular caprese salad. Perfect for summer potlucks!