This Caprese pasta salad is bursting with fresh flavors from the cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and oil based dressing. It comes together in 20 minutes, and can be made gluten-free. It’s made with very few ingredients and is a perfect side dish to pair with grilled chicken in the summertime or just for meal prep any other time! It’s a meatless pasta salad that is a family friendly recipe everyone will fall in love with!
Caprese Pasta Salad Ingredients
There are only 6 ingredients in this pasta salad recipe, not including the spices which are just garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. The 6 ingredients you need to make your Caprese pasta salad are extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar for the dressing, basil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls, and then your pasta noodles.
The basil will need to be sliced in a chiffonade cut, which is done by stacking the basil leaves on top of each other and then rolling tightly by working your way down from the top of the leaves to the bottom. Then you will begin to cut thin strips off of the roll, which will result in the basil leaves being chopped into thin, uniform ribbons.
Your cherry tomatoes will be all sliced in half, as well as the mozzarella pearls. Cutting both the tomatoes and mozzarella helps to make each piece perfectly sized to ensure that every bite of this pasta salad is bursting with flavor.
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Making Caprese Pasta Salad Gluten-Free
This recipe is really, really easy to make gluten-free! You can use any pasta brand you’d like or have a preference for. There are many brands that offer gluten-free options, and pretty much at all major retailers, too! Most of those retailers even carry their own store brand, such as Target, Whole Foods, HyVee, and Trader Joes. Barilla and Jovial are also very easy to come by.
The only exception to this is if you’re using gluten-free chickpea pasta. That type of pasta noodle isn’t a great option for a cold pasta salad like this recipe, and it will definitely change the flavor profile quite a bit.
How to Prep and Assemble
First you’ll want to bring a pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and then add the pasta in. You’ll cook the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente. While the pasta is boiling, you should use that time to chop and prep the basil, tomatoes and cheese.
As your prepping each ingredient, you can go ahead and add them to a large mixing or serving bowl. Then, in a small dish, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and the spices. This will be your dressing that will be added last.
Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, transfer it to a strainer and begin to run cold water over the noodles. You’ll do this so that the cold water stops the pasta from cooking any further. Run it under the water until the noodles are no longer warm to the touch.
Finally, add the pasta to the mixing bowl and pour the dressing over top of all of the pasta salad ingredients. Toss the Caprese pasta salad around so everything is evenly coated. Give it a taste at this point and add any salt or pepper as needed. You can also add a bit more oil if you want a wetter dressing, or more vinegar if you’d like it a bit more tangy.
Serving and Storing Instructions
This pasta salad is best once it has been refrigerated for 30 minutes to an hour prior to serving. This gives the flavors time to marinate and come together. Prior to eating, give it a stir again to redistribute the dressing that’s settled over all of the noodles.
This recipe is a great side dish that goes along with almost every type of protein, particularly grilled chicken and grilled fish. You can also mix in the chicken to make it more of a complete meal if you want to meal prep it into individual containers. The pasta salad is good in the fridge for about 4 days.
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PS. If you’ve made this recipe, don’t forget to rate this recipe and let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- 1 pound short pasta , such as cavatappi, penne or conchiglie
- 12–16 ounces mozzarella pearls, sliced in halves
- 2.5 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped in halves
- 1/2 cup packed basil, chopped in a chiffonade cut
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a few pinches of salt to the water, and then add in the pasta. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (don’t let it get too mushy)
- While the pasta is cooking, assemble the rest of the salad by slicing your mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and adding them to a large bowl, and in a small dish, whisk together the oil, vinegar and spices
- Once the pasta is done, drain it and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta so it is no longer hot. Add the pasta into the bowl with the vegetables
Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta and vegetables. Toss to coat and taste. Add more salt if needed. You can also add more oil if you’d like a wetter dressing, or more vinegar if you’d like it more tangy
Refrigerate the salad for 30 minutes to an hour prior to serving to let all of the flavors come together. Give it a good stir just prior to serving to redistribute the dressing
- Gluten-Free pasta of your choice can be used in place of regular pasta
Keywords: pasta salad, caprese pasta salad, gluten free pasta salad, meatless recipes, side dish
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