This Caprese Pasta Salad is simple, full of good nutritious ingredients, and tastes even better than it looks! The flavors meld together into a refreshing and pure pasta salad. It keeps very well chilled in fridge.
For the Basil Pesto:
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups flat parsley leaves
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
For the Pasta Salad:
- 1 lb dry fusilli or rotini pasta
- 8 oz fresh mini mozzarella balls or “pearl” mozzarella balls, halved
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, seeded and halved
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped green olives with pimientos
- Basil Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. Add more kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Set aside or wrap tightly and chill until ready to use.
- Boil Pasta: In a large heavy pot, bring well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta just until al dente, according to instructions, taking care not to cook past that. Drain fully but do not rinse. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, tossing so pasta is thinly coated. Let pasta cool to room temperature.
- Toss: When ready to serve, toss in the mozzarella halves, tomato halves, and optional olives, if using them. Continue to lightly toss until well combined. Leftovers may be covered and chilled up to 3 days.
If making this dish in advance, we suggest keeping pasta and sauce in separate containers until ready to toss and serve. Note that the basil pesto may dull somewhat in color after 24 hours, but flavor remains the same.
For gluten-free version, use your favorite gluten-free rotini style pasta.
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- Category: side, salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian American
Keywords: caprese, caprese salad, pesto, caprese salad with pesto, tomato caprese