A fresh pasta salad is always a winner when it comes to versatility as a side dish. Fresh ingredients and subtle flavours make it perfect for a summer barbecue or a big brunch with your family out in the open! It is the perfect dish combining the American staple pasta and famous Italian Caprese herbs. And the best part about this recipe is that it’s incredibly flexible and can fit every taste pallet.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- The basic structure of a Caprese Pasta Salad is pasta, protein, vegetables and dressing. A traditional Caprese Salad consists of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. The choice of dressing is generally a balsamic vinaigrette or reduction and it takes the dish up a notch.
- You can choose your favourite kind of pasta (generally shorter pasta cuts are used like farfalle, rotini, orecchiette, and others).
- Cook your desired pasta to al-dente, and drain the excess water. Mix in some olive oil and stir till the pasta cools down to avoid sticking.
- Add some fresh summer veggies (tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumber, olives, etc) and some fresh mozzarella.
- You can also add other forms of protein, like diced ham, pepperoni, seasoned chicken and egg.
- Apart from the traditional balsamic dressing, you can also prepare a Greek/Italian vinaigrette, mayo-based dressing or seasoned olive oil.
- For a recipe that serves four, boil 6 ounces of any small-cut pasta till it’s al-dente and set aside.
- In a non-stick skillet, mix 1/3rd cup of olive oil, sea salt and tomatoes over a medium heat and cover it for 6-12 minutes till the tomatoes become soft (this step is optional in case you want a fresher tasting salad, then leave the tomatoes raw).
- Remove the skillet from the heat and mix in the pasta.
- Add mozzarella pearls and your dressing according to taste and cover the salad.
- Allow the ingredients to combine and intensify in taste and flavour for about 20 minutes before serving.
Tips & Tricks
- Since there aren’t a lot of ingredients to make this recipe, make sure to buy and use all the freshest and quality ingredients. The vegetables should be fresh, ripe and juicy and herbs shouldn’t be grey.
- To enhance the flavour of the pasta salad, make it a few hours before serving. Just add a few spoonsful of the vinaigrette (or dressing of your choice) right before serving to give it a fresh taste.
- Cooking the tomatoes on the grill for a few minutes gives them that smoky and rich flavour and leaving them raw gives more of a summery feel, so treat them accordingly.
- You can make this recipe gluten free by using your favourite gluten free noodles and make it vegan by eliminating the mozzarella cheese. It will still be just as spectacular!
One serving contains 261 calories; it provides a high amount of vitamin C from the tomatoes and a good amount of carbohydrates from the pasta.