I'm a huge pesto fan, and of course, a pasta fan. So when these two favorites combine into one delicious pasta salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto, you know it's going to be good. This incredibly easy and quick pesto caprese pasta salad is just that: easy, quick, and excellent for just about any party, dinner, and everything in between.
What's so amazing about this pasta salad is that it's great for just about every event you plan to host, or even attend. Make a big batch and bring it to your next BBQ, luncheon, or prepare it just for yourself. It's amazing all year long.
What are the ingredients for this recipe?
Four ingredients. That's all it takes, if you're using jarred pesto (which I did for this recipe as I was making it for meal prep and didn't have any basil on hand), but you can easily make your own pesto by following my recipe! Let's see what you'll need:
- Pasta - I prefer short, corkscrew pasta like rotini, fusilli, or even cavatappi for this as these shapes hold on to sauce really well.
- Pesto - if you use jarred, I prefer Barilla's rustic version, Delallo's pesto, or Cento's!
- Tomatoes - I use grape tomatoes
- Mozzarella - I buy the smaller mozzarella balls, called Ciliegine, which you can find at most grocery stores.
See the recipe card below for specific information about quantities.
How do I make this recipe?
The only actual cooking you'll do here is boiling and cooking the pasta, then straining and adding to a large bowl. Let's see how we make this recipe:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in the pasta. Cook until al dente, strain, then add to a large serving bowl.
Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the pasta. Then, add the mozzarella balls.
Dollop 2-3 tablespoons of pesto into the center of the pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Using two large spoons, toss and combine the pesto until the pasta is fully coated.
Top with additional pesto and serve.
Hint: Do not rinse the pasta when you strain it. It is also entirely fine to add the warm, strained pasta as all of the other ingredients will help bring the pasta temperature down to room temp.
Recipe Swaps and Substitutions
Gluten Free? Dairy Free? Low-carb? If you're looking to make this recipe to fit any dietary need you or someone you're making this for, I've got a few tried and true swaps for you!
- Pasta - Barilla has a whole line of chickpea or lentil pasta, and another gluten free pasta I love is Jovial Foods.
- Cheese - you can omit the mozzarella entirely, and opt for a vegan pesto like Trader Joe's Vegan version.
- Low-Carb -opt for a higher protein pasta like GoodWheat or Barilla's protein pasta line. Both delicious!
Recipe Variations and Serving Suggestions
This recipe is the best for a variety of reasons. You can pair it with many different things, and add in whatever you like!
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes while mixing in the pesto for a spicy kick.
- Avocado - add in chunks of avocado for a fun added texture, creaminess, and green color.
- Pair with Chicken
- Pair with BBQ Foods like hot dogs or hamburgers.
- Meal prep: you can make this on a Sunday evening and have it for lunch up to 2-3 days!
Kitchen Equipment and Tools
For this recipe, we'll need pretty standard tools and kitchen equipment when it comes to making the dish itself.
- Strainer - if you're not using the spider skimmer/spatula
- Large pot
- Large serving bowl
- Two large serving spoons
- Cutting board -to slice the tomatoes
How do I store this recipe?
All leftovers can be placed in a tightly sealed tupperware and placed directly in the fridge. I would suggest warming the pasta up just a little bit before serving so that everything comes back to room temperature, or you can simply leave it on the counter for 20-30 minutes.
Add some grated parmesan on tip for added cheesy flavor.
Hungry for More?
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Easy and Quick Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 large pot
- 1 strainer
- 1 large serving bowl
- 2 serving spoons
- 1 cutting board
- 1 lb corkscrew pasta
- 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 2 cups Ciliegine mozzarella
- ¼ cup pesto
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in the pasta. Cook until al dente, strain, then add to a large serving bowl.1 lb corkscrew pasta
- Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the pasta. Then, add the mozzarella balls.1 cup grape tomatoes, 2 cups Ciliegine mozzarella
- Dollop 2-3 tablespoons of pesto into the center of the pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Using two large spoons, toss and combine the pesto until the pasta is fully coated.¼ cup pesto
- Top with additional pesto and serve.