Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing

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This caprese pasta salad has all the classic flavours of an Italian caprese salad but with the addition of pasta and pine nuts. It’s the perfect summer dish.

I am declaring this the summer of pasta salads. I’ve always loved a good pasta salad but this summer it’s all I can think about eating.

I’ve made a simple pasta salad with balsamic, Greek orzo salad with lemon dressing and now I’ve taken a classic caprese salad and turned it into possibly my favourite pasta salad yet.

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Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad on a grey background with a cloth and basil dressing

Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad with a cloth on a blue background

I am loving summer this year. We actually seem to be having pretty good weather and I’ve got everything crossed that it continues. Especially because I have loads more summer outfits that I haven’t had chance to wear yet.

I absolutely LOVE my summer wardrobe. I’m not super into clothes, mainly because I’ve never had much money to spend on them, but on the whole I love wearing summer clothes so much more and all my summer clothes make me feel much happier and better about how I look.

Close up of tomatoes in caprese pasta salad

Basil dressing pouring onto caprese pasta salad

The second thing I’m loving about summer is all the summer food. Every year I fall in love with summer food all over again.

This year I’ve decided I’m all about the bbq side dishes and picnic food. Hearty salads like this are my number one outdoor eat and I’ve decided that this year I’m going to expand my repertoire of them so that I’ve got something to take to every bbq and picnic I attend.

Why we love this caprese penne salad:

  • It’s so quick to put together with just a few ingredients needed which makes it the perfect summer dinner
  • It’s perfect for a barbecue side dish or a summer main dish 
  • You can easily make this pasta salad ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to serve
  • It takes just 20 minutes to make! (Try these other 20 minute dinner recipes too!)

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:

  • Pasta – I used wholeweat penne, use any short cut you like
  • Mini Mozzarella Balls – I love these, if you can’t get them then go ahead and use a chopped up regular mozzarella ball
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Quick! Use all the yummy summer tomatoes while you still can and add leftovers to this one pot cheesy pearl barley
  • Pine Nuts – Toasted quickly in a pan
  • Chives

Equipment you need to make this recipe…

Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad with cloth, salad servers and basil dressing

When we were in Italy we were perpetually hunting out a good caprese salad. Before Italy I don’t think I’d ever had a truly good tomato but then I tasted those beautiful summer tomatoes with that fresh mozzarella and my life was changed forever.

Now I know that tomatoes are one of the few things that I deem it worth splashing out on to make sure you get some flavour in those bad boys.

Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad with salad servers

Bowlful of caprese pasta salad with a fork

Anyway, back to Italy. We obviously had some incredible caprese salads while we were in Italy but the one that sticks out in my mind was actually the worst one we had.

We were in Rome and it was boiling hot, we’d spent the day traipsing around, sightseeing, and I was getting pretty hangry.

We were trying to find somewhere to eat and ended up settling on a miserable tourist trap where we had a caprese salad made up of bland mozzarella, watery tomatoes and a few tiny basil leaves.

Ingredients for caprese pasta salad

Basil dressing for caprese pasta salad

Having tasted how bad a caprese can be I know when I’m eating a really really good one. And as much as I love a classic caprese salad this caprese pasta salad is really really good AND steps up on the carbs which can only ever be a good thing.

Instead of sticking with straight basil leaves I decided to coat the pasta salad in an amazing basil dressing which gives that caprese flavour in every bite.

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS BASIL DRESSING:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Basil – Add any extra to this Italian shakshuka
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Lemon
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Garlic

Keep scrolling to get the full recipe…

Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad ingredients with cloth, basil dressing and salad servers

TIPS FOR MAKING CAPRESE PASTA SALAD WITH BASIL DRESSING:

  • This is definitely one of those salads that can benefit for a little bit of chilltime in the fridge to get those flavours infused so feel free to make the day before you need it if you have the time
  • I add dill and chives to my basil dressing but you could leave one or both out if you’re not keen on them or switch for another herb

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE IN 3 EASY STEPS:

  1. Cook the pasta (or use leftover cooked pasta) and drizzle with a little olive oil
  2. Blend together all the dressing ingredients
  3. Mix the pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes, pine nuts, chives and dressing together and serve

Equipment you need to make this recipe…

Get the full printable recipe below…

Ingredients for caprese pasta salad

Bowl of caprese pasta salad with fork

Want more? Get all my other pasta recipes before you go or try the ones below!

Overhead shot of caprese pasta salad on a grey background with a cloth and basil dressing

Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing

This caprese pasta salad has all the classic flavours of an Italian caprese salad but with the addition of pasta and pine nuts. It's the perfect summer dish
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings as a main
Calories: 569kcal
Author: Amy Fulwood

Ingredients

  • 400 g Pasta I used wholewheat penne
  • 150 g Mini Mozzarella Balls halved
  • 220 g Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 20 g Pine Nuts toasted
  • Chives chopped, to serve

For the Basil Dressing

  • 120 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Bunch Fresh Basil
  • 10 Chives
  • 2 sprigs Dill
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and drizzle with a little olive oil in a large bowl. Alternatively you could use leftover cooked pasta.
  • Place all the dressing ingredients in a blend and blitz until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Add the mozzarella, tomatoes, pine nuts and a sprinkling of chopped chives to the pasta. Pour over the dressing and toss everything together thoroughly. Serve. 
Nutrition Facts
Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 569 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 40mg2%
Potassium 454mg13%
Carbohydrates 81g27%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 380IU8%
Vitamin C 28.5mg35%
Calcium 168mg17%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @amycookreport on Instagram and hashtag it #thecookreport!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    20/06/2018 at 9:11 AM

    5 stars
    I love this kind of pasta salad, so easy to pull together and yet it tastes amazing! Fresh and light and so perfect for hot days.

    • Reply
      Amy
      20/06/2018 at 10:18 AM

      Thanks so much Michelle!

  • Reply
    Kate | The Veg Space
    20/06/2018 at 11:02 AM

    What a beautiful looking pasta salad – one of those dishes that looks effortlessly simple but is actually packed with different textures, flavours and colours. Yum!

    • Reply
      Amy
      21/06/2018 at 12:53 PM

      Thank so much Kate!

  • Reply
    Kate
    20/06/2018 at 12:39 PM

    5 stars
    This salad looks so tasty! A lovely summery way to enjoy Italian flavours.

    • Reply
      Amy
      21/06/2018 at 12:52 PM

      Thank you Kate 🙂

  • Reply
    Felesha Bell
    20/06/2018 at 12:47 PM

    5 stars
    This beauty of a dish looks so bright and fresh. I could just dig right in!!

    • Reply
      Amy
      21/06/2018 at 12:52 PM

      Thanks Felesha!

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