Caprese Pasta Salad

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

[Updated from the archives with new photos and writing. Originally posted September 2011]

Memorial day is coming, and that means:

  1. A whole new summer is ahead of us!
  2. It’s time for sandals and dresses!
  3. It’s time for potluck-style salads GALORE!

#3 may just be my favorite. And I have the recipes in my recipe index to prove it.

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

This pasta salad is very simple, but the caprese combination shouldn’t really be messed with. Tomato + fresh mozzarella + basil might just be one of the best flavor combinations on earth, and I’m sure many would agree with me.

This is a pasta salad I make a lot, and sometimes I’ll dress it in pesto instead of the vinaigrette, and sometimes I’ll add crispy bacon, but that’s as far as my variations go. Sometimes classics should stay classic.

To get started, make the vinaigrette by combining a good, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

This is definitely a dish where the deliciousness is majorly impacted by the quality of ingredients used.

Next, gather up some good tomatoes. I like the heirloom grape and cherry tomatoes:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Cut them all in half:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Next, cook some bowtie pasta according to package directions, then rinse under cold running water. We actually want to rinse the excess starch off the pasta, and it will also help the pasta cool down:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Next get some fresh basil leaves:

CThis Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Chop them up, then add the basil, tomatoes, and some fresh cieligini mozzarella balls:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

I buy the ones that are already marinated for some extra flavor, but plain mozzarella balls will work too.

Toss it all together:

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Caprese Pasta Salad

This Caprese Pasta Salad has a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, tied together with a simple vinaigrette. Perfect for summer potlucks and picnics!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bowtie pasta
  • 2 tbsp apple cider or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella cieligini*
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then salt it generously. Taste the water to make sure it tastes like seawater. Cook your pasta to al dente, then drain and rinse the pasta.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Add the basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, and pasta to the bowl, and toss well. Make your final seasoning adjustments and serve. Enjoy!

*I buy marinated ciliegini, for the extra flavor!