Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for a fresh and delicious pasta salad recipe, then look no further than the Caprese Pasta Salad. This classic Italian dish combines the flavors of ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil to create a light and refreshing summer meal. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or packing a picnic lunch, this salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

There are many variations of the Caprese Pasta Salad recipe, each with its own unique twist. Some recipes call for a tangy balsamic vinaigrette, while others use a simple olive oil and lemon dressing. Some recipes use penne pasta, while others use fusilli or farfalle. Regardless of the specific ingredients, the key to a great Caprese Pasta Salad is to use the freshest, highest quality ingredients possible.


  • 8 ounces pasta (such as penne or fusilli)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, drained and halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling (optional)


1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil.
3. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Gently toss the salad until well combined.
5. Transfer the salad to a serving dish.
6. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, if desired, before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes | Servings: Makes 4 servings

Variations and Substitutions

Looking to switch things up with your Caprese Pasta Salad? Here are some variations and substitutions to consider.

Gluten-Free Options

If you’re looking to make this recipe gluten-free, there are a few simple swaps you can make. First, be sure to use gluten-free pasta. There are many varieties available at most grocery stores, so you should have no trouble finding one that works for you. You can also substitute the balsamic vinegar for a gluten-free alternative, such as apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Adding Proteins

While this salad is delicious on its own, you can also add some protein to make it a more filling meal. Grilled chicken or shrimp are both great options, as are slices of prosciutto or salami. You could also add some chickpeas or cannellini beans for a vegetarian option.

Alternative Dressings

While the balsamic vinaigrette in this recipe is delicious, there are plenty of other dressings you can use to switch things up. Try a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing, or a creamy pesto dressing. You could also use a different type of vinegar, such as red wine or rice vinegar, for a different flavor profile.

Overall, there are plenty of ways to customize this Caprese Pasta Salad to suit your tastes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and dressings until you find the perfect combination for you.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving Caprese Pasta Salad, there are a few things you can do to make it a standout dish. Here are some serving suggestions to help you make the most of this delicious recipe.


Caprese Pasta Salad is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of accompaniments. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Grilled chicken: Adding grilled chicken to your Caprese Pasta Salad can make it a more substantial meal. Simply grill some chicken breasts and slice them into strips before adding them to the salad.
  • Garlic bread: Garlic bread is a classic accompaniment to pasta dishes, and Caprese Pasta Salad is no exception. Serve some warm garlic bread on the side to soak up the delicious dressing.
  • Wine: A crisp white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, pairs well with the fresh flavors in Caprese Pasta Salad.

Plating Tips

The presentation of your Caprese Pasta Salad can make a big difference in how it is perceived by your guests. Here are some plating tips to help you create a beautiful dish:

  • Use a white platter: A white platter will make the colors in the salad pop and create a clean, fresh look.
  • Arrange ingredients in layers: Arrange the pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella in layers to create a beautiful, colorful dish.
  • Garnish with fresh basil: Top your Caprese Pasta Salad with some fresh basil leaves to add a pop of color and flavor.

By following these serving suggestions and plating tips, you can take your Caprese Pasta Salad from a simple side dish to a showstopper that will impress your guests.

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

When it comes to Caprese Pasta Salad, it’s always a good idea to make a little extra. Not only is it a delicious side dish, but it’s also perfect for meal prep. Here are some storage and make-ahead tips to ensure you always have a tasty and fresh Caprese Pasta Salad on hand.


Caprese Pasta Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To store, place the salad in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, give it a quick stir and add additional dressing if needed.

Freezing Options

Caprese Pasta Salad is not the best candidate for freezing. The fresh ingredients, especially the tomatoes, will not hold up well in the freezer. However, if you must freeze it, here are some tips:

  • Freeze the pasta and dressing separately. This will prevent the tomatoes and mozzarella from getting mushy.
  • Use a freezer-safe container or bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • Thaw the pasta and dressing in the refrigerator overnight. Give it a good stir before serving.

Remember, while Caprese Pasta Salad is best enjoyed fresh, with the right storage and make-ahead tips, you can always have a delicious and satisfying meal at your fingertips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients are needed for a traditional Caprese pasta salad?

To make a traditional Caprese pasta salad, you will need some basic ingredients such as pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

How do you make a creamy Caprese pasta salad?

To make a creamy Caprese pasta salad, you can add some creamy ingredients such as mayonnaise, sour cream, or Greek yogurt to your dressing. You can also use a creamy cheese such as burrata instead of fresh mozzarella.

Can you use Italian dressing in a Caprese pasta salad, and if so, how?

Yes, you can use Italian dressing in a Caprese pasta salad. Simply mix together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper to make your own Italian dressing. Toss the pasta salad with the dressing and enjoy.

What’s the best way to incorporate balsamic vinaigrette into Caprese pasta salad?

To incorporate balsamic vinaigrette into Caprese pasta salad, you can add it to the dressing. Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Toss the pasta salad with the dressing and enjoy.

How can I add a twist to my Caprese pasta salad with sundried tomatoes?

To add a twist to your Caprese pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, you can add some chopped sundried tomatoes to the salad. You can also use sundried tomato pesto instead of regular pesto.

What are some tips for including spinach in a Caprese pasta salad?

To include spinach in a Caprese pasta salad, you can mix it in with the other ingredients. You can also use baby spinach leaves instead of basil leaves. Another option is to sauté the spinach with garlic and add it to the pasta salad.