Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad

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!

Caprese Pasta Salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar

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!!

Pesto Pasta Salad topped with tomato halves and mozzarella balls

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. 

Variations:

  • 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.

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad served in a blue bowl

For more yummy pasta salad recipes, check out these:

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad recipe

5 from 1 vote
Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad is a light dish with a bold flavor, making it perfect for potlucks, parties, BBQ's, and get togethers!
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 88 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 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
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 2 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette reduction

Instructions
 

  • 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!

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 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

    1. 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!