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spoonful of Caprese pasta salad

Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x


Pesto Caprese pasta salad is an easy cold side dish to serve for a crowd.  This vegetarian Mediterranean recipe combines pesto, farfalle, basil, mozzarella and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing.  It's a hit with kids, and is simple to make ahead for your next party.



For the Salad

  • 1 pound dried farfalle pasta (453g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 18 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise (510g)
  • 8 ounce package of mozzarella pearls (226g)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon spring onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 1 cup basil pesto (382g)
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

For Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil


  1. Make the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, capers, and green onion.  Toss it with the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella pearls, then let it marinade for 15 minutes.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package.  Rinse with cold water.  Drain and stir in a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
  3. Pour it into a large bowl and mix in the pesto and white balsamic vinegar.  Gently stir in the marinated tomatoes and mozzarella pearls, then cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Cut the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling it into a log, and slicing it with a sharp knife.  Separate the ribbons with your fingers, then stir the ribbons into the salad.
  5. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings.  Sprinkle in additional salt and black pepper, vinegar, oil, or lemon juice as desired.  The pasta will absorb a lot of the dressing as it cools.
  6. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh basil.  Serve cold.


  • Make this salad heartier by adding grilled chicken, salami, marinated artichoke hearts, or sliced avocado.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: pasta salad, BBQ



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