Caprese Pasta Salad

When it comes to summer grilling, there are a few dishes that always have a place at the table and pasta salad is one of them.  I made this caprese version of it way back in the beginning of the summer for a small BBQ we were hosting with family on the 4th of July.  This pasta salad got a lot of compliments and I loved how quick and easy it was to assemble and it’s perfect for any summer cook-outs, picnics, BBQs & potlucks.

What I love most about this pasta salad was that it is full of fresh ingredients and exciting flavors – delicious and beautiful enough for any occasion.  It is also so simple to make due to its short ingredient list, it comes together in no time, and can easily feed a crowd.  Leftovers taste pretty spectacular, too.  I actually thought it tasted even better the next day, so next time I think I will make it a day in advance.

I really love this recipe and the addition of garlic-infused oil. I am a huge garlic lover and I feel that just adds SO much to this recipe.  Garlic power!

What about your plans for the long weekend?

Caprese Pasta Salad that is great for any BBQ or party where you need to feed a crowd.  Easy!

INGREDIENTS:

*Serves 10-12 people as a side dish. This recipe also doubles and triples nicely if you’re feeding a large crowd.*

1 lb. pasta shapes (I used shells)
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cubed (or buy the mozzarella balls)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste


DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water.  In the meantime, add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a small skillet. Over medium-low heat, allow the oil to infuse with the flavors for about 5-10 minutes. Be careful that the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Combine the cooked pasta, olive oil mixture, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Recipe source: adapted from annies-eats.com

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Author:Ashley

These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, storms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has always been baseball. Go Yankees!

25 Responses to “Caprese Pasta Salad”

  1. August 29, 2013 at 12:25 AM #

    Pasta salads are one of my favorite summer meals. They’re fresh and pretty with all the reds and greens you can throw in!

    • August 29, 2013 at 12:26 AM #

      Mine too! I love summer side dishes more than the main dishes :)

  2. August 29, 2013 at 12:37 AM #

    I love caprese salad so I know I’ll love this! I love the garlic, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes in here. Lots great flavors and it looks delicious! :) Great recipe Ashley!

  3. August 29, 2013 at 2:28 AM #

    I love summer pasta with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and garlic infused oil. YUM! I can almost smell the garlic :).

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

      Summer pasta dishes like this are awesome in my book!

  4. August 29, 2013 at 3:05 AM #

    Clever little caprese variation—and very portable, too :)

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

      Thanks – yes, it is!

  5. August 29, 2013 at 5:08 AM #

    we love the Caprese combination in anything and everything savory,but never thought of this scrumptious idea of using it for a beautiful summery salad,lovely dish :-)

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM #

      I love it in all forms but as a pasta salad was just amazing!

  6. August 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM #

    Cannot go wrong with caprese anything in my book! This sounds delish!

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM #

      I just said the same thing to someone else! It’s true!

  7. Joe DiBella
    August 29, 2013 at 9:24 AM #

    keeping it light and caprese. nice.

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM #

      Yes – your stomach might be able to tolerate this one!

  8. August 29, 2013 at 9:49 AM #

    My long weekend is going to be spent getting the kids back into school mode as we start Tuesday! Not so exciting but it doesn’t mean we can’t have good food!!

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

      Good food is a must!

  9. August 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM #

    I love caprese pasta salads and yours looks and sounds wonderful. I end up making pesto to put in mine rather than chopping basil and sprinkling it over the salad which is what I’m guessing you did – although I didn’t see mention of it. At any rate I like this nice simple, refreshing and satisfying version – it will be perfect for a Labor Day BBQ.

    • August 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

      I’ll have to put pesto in mine sometime! I love that idea…

  10. August 29, 2013 at 2:03 PM #

    We love pasta, weather it is a cold salad or hot there is always a place for it at our table!

  11. August 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM #

    Love a good salad like this one! It looks so refreshing. :) Fresh mozarella is definitely the best way to go!

  12. August 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM #

    This is a great way to get my teenagers to eat the traditional caprese salad they are not real happy about the traditional caprese salad with big pieces of fresh basil, and tomatoes, but this one with mostly pasta would fill them up. Have a super weekend. BAM

    • August 29, 2013 at 11:01 PM #

      I like this much better than the traditional caprese!

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