Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad is a fresh and easy 15 minute recipe full of tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella, basil and a fresh balsamic dressing!
Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad
Summer is winding down but there are still plenty of opportunities to get outside to the lake, go for a picnic or just enjoy a backyard BBQ. Pasta salads are the perfect side dish for your grilled steaks, burgers and so much more. Whether you like something a little sweeter like Poppy Seed Grape Pasta Salad, something spicy like Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad, or something fresh like this Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad, they are all great options when grilling out!
All of the great flavors of Caprese salad are turned into this easy pasta salad which makes for an easy recipe that transports much better than the traditional vegetable and cheese dish. Al dente pasta is tossed with an easy homemade balsamic and lemon dressing to keep things light and fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and cucumbers are folded in to make this amazing Balsamic Caprese Salad.
I love my local small town grocery store, but for obvious reasons they don’t carry fresh herbs. When you are serving a community of only 600 people, you keep the essentials in stock, not lots of fresh produce that will go bad. Thankfully in the summer it is so easy to grow fresh sweet basil at home though. If I can keep a plant alive all summer, just about anyone can. I have the biggest black thumb there ever was. It might have to do with the fact that I rarely remember to water and weed my plants though…
The fresh basil along with the lemon really bring the fresh flavors to life in this dish. The flavors are subtle and light, as they are with a Caprese salad, but they are delicious and perfect for a lighter pasta salad. You could easily use whole grain pasta if you are wanting to make it a healthier dish as well.
- 8 oz. dry Cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente
- ½ c. + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ⅓ c. Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- juice of one lemon
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz. fresh mozzerella pearls, halved
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- ¼ c. fresh basil chiffonade
- Run the cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Meanwhile, in a blender or small cup with immersion blender, blend together the ½ c. olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, Dijon, salt, honey and lemon juice. Pour the mixture over the pasta and mix well.
- Toss the pasta with the remaining ingredients and serve fresh or store refrigerated.