Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad is a light dish with a bold flavor, making it perfect for potlucks, parties, BBQ’s, and get togethers!
Marinate your favorite steak cut or chicken, heat up the grill, and enjoy it with this yummy Caprese pesto pasta salad. Finish it off with a decadent dessert, quite the party!
Favorite Caprese Pasta Salad
We love all the recipes associated with summer time, and one of those is PASTA SALADS!! We find ourselves making a pasta salad at least once a week with all the pool parties, BBQ’s, and family gatherings going on.
Over the years, we have relied on our classic pasta salad recipe, but lately we have branched out and tried new recipes. Some of our favorites include this Greek Pasta Salad and this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad.
We also have a new favorite – this Pesto Pasta Salad! We have always enjoyed the Caprese flavors of tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette, but when you add pesto to the mix, you get one of the most flavorful pasta salads you will ever try!!
How to Make Pesto Pasta Salad
PASTA. Boil water in a large pot and cook rotini according to box directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
SAUCE. In a large bowl, mix pesto, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper.
COMBINE. Add cooked rotini and toss to coat. Add tomato halves, mozzarella balls and fresh basil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
GARNISH + SERVE. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette reduction right before serving. ENJOY!
If you’re not a fan of balsamic vinaigrette, you can definitely have it without! It adds a nice burst of flavor, but the pesto and other seasonings make it plenty flavorful on their own. Great taste isn’t the only thing this pasta has going for it – it comes together SO quickly, and honestly the most difficult part is cooking the pasta. Next time you’re in charge of a salad dish for your neighborhood potluck, give this Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad a try!
Tips, Variations + SToring Info
Basil: We have a really great homemade Basil Pesto Recipe that you can make to usein this salad. You can also grab your favorite brand of pesto at the grocery store.
Pasta: Penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or bowtie pasta all work really well in this dish. No matter what type of pasta you use, it’s better to cook it al dente.
Tomato: Grape or cherry tomatoes work best with this recipe. You can keep them whole or slice them in half.
Mozzarella: It is a little more expensive, but use fresh mozzarella and not the kind that comes in a block of cheese. Mozzarella balls are the easiest to open and toss in the salad, but you can also chop up a cube of fresh mozzarella.
- Add more pesto to make that a more prominent part of the recipe
- Make it healthier by using whole wheat pasta!
- Add grilled chicken
- Gluten free pasta works well
To make ahead: Make this salad a 2-3hours before you plan to serve it. Longer than that, I would suggest preparing the different ingredients and storing them separately until it’s time to toss it all together.
STORE leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. The pasta may soak up some of the liquid, so just mix in a little more pesto and a bit of vinaigrette.
For more yummy pasta salad recipes, check out these:
Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad recipe
- 12 oz uncooked rotini pasta
- 4 tbsp pesto
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt (or more if needed)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup small fresh mozzarella balls
- 2 fresh basil leaves chopped
- Drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette reduction
- Boil water in a large pot and cook rotini according to box directions.
- Drain pasta and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix pesto, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Add cooked rotini and toss to coat. Add tomato halves, mozzarella balls and fresh basil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette reduction right before serving. ENJOY!
Tri-color pasta is such a simple addition that transforms the meal. Nice recipe!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
I want to make the caprese pasta but I’m confused on the amt. of pasta. 1 1/2 cups is not very much pasta. Why such a little amt? Thanks, Sandy
It’s 12 ounces, which is a box of rotini. It comes in 16 or 12 ounces & you could totally use more, this is just a suggestion. If you add more pasta, you may want to add a little more of the other ingredients, but totally up to you 🙂 Hope that helps!
I love the simplicity of your recipes and look forward to good eatin’ in the weeks ahead!
Thank you!! I love quick & easy recipes 🙂 Let me know what you think of the ones you try!
Yum! Can’t wait to make this!