If you’re looking for an easy and filling summer salad, this Caprese Pasta Salad is one to make. In this recipe, pasta is mixed with homemade pesto, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, and mozzarella, and is a delicious light lunch or side dish option.
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Caprese Pasta Salad
Whether you’re hosting a summer picnic, attending a potluck, or just need a casual dinner idea, this Caprese Pasta Salad is a versatile and satisfying option that pairs well with grilled meats and seafood or as a standalone vegetarian dish.
Combining the delicious elements of a traditional Caprese salad with the heartiness of pasta, this crowd-pleasing dish brings together tomatoes, mozzarella, homemade basil pesto, and sweet corn kernels.
Try this Pesto without Pine Nuts recipe if you have allergies or do not like pine nuts.
This Caprese salad’s vibrant colors and flavors with pasta will transport your taste buds to the sunny Mediterranean, making it an excellent choice for outdoor gatherings or summer dinner parties.
Reasons Why You’ll Love This Caprese Pasta Salad!
- Fresh and Flavorful: This pasta salad is bursting with the fresh flavors of ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, and creamy mozzarella, making it a delightful and refreshing dish.
- Homemade Pesto: The homemade basil pesto adds a vibrant and aromatic touch to the salad, elevating it to a whole new level of taste and making it truly special.
- Versatile and Crowd-Pleasing: Caprese Pasta Salad is a versatile dish that appeals to a wide range of palates, making it a hit at potlucks, picnics, or any gathering where you want to impress your guests.
- Easy to Make: With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, this pasta salad comes together quickly, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, ingredients, and equipment needed for this recipe have been linked to Amazon, Amazon Fresh, or other stores if available online.
Ingredients Needed For Caprese Pasta Salad
- Fresh Produce – Corn Kernels (Fresh, Canned, or Frozen), Lemon, Basil, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic,
- Dairy – Ciliegine (Pearl) Mozzarella (see our recipe tips), Parmesan
- Other Fresh Ingredients –
- Pantry – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper
- Pasta – you can use any shaped pasta that you like, we used farfalle (bowtie) pasta.
- Pesto – we have included a homemade pesto recipe here, but you can buy it ready-made if you prefer.
- Pine Nuts – these are toasted and go into the pesto.
- Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – this is also for making the pesto. Buy the kind that is suitable for dressing rather than for cooking.
The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found on the recipe card at the end of this post.
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Equipment Needed For This Recipe
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping/Cutting Board
- Food Processor or Blender – for making the pesto.
- Medium Saucepan – for cooking the pasta.
- Large Mixing Bowl – for combining the salad ingredients
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use cups and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American US customary, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, that you can mix cup measurements with weighted measures, but never mix US customary/imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, liters, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Pasta
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is pasta, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Pasta Sauce Recipe
- Comforting Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole with Mushrooms & Peas
- Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Linguine (35-Minute) Recipe
How Do I Make Caprese Pasta Salad?
The printable recipe card with the full ingredients list and instructions can be found at the end of this post.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes
If you are using store-bought pesto in this recipe, you can skip steps 1 and 2.
Step 1 – Prepare Pesto Ingredients: To make pesto, remove the basil leaves from the stems, then wash the leaves, and pat them dry.
Place the basil leaves, pine nuts, peeled garlic cloves, and Parmesan in a food processor or blender.
Step 2 – Make Pesto: Quickly pulse the ingredients until barely combined, then add one-third cup of extra virgin olive oil and blend thoroughly.
Add the remaining olive oil and additional grated Parmesan to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Step 3 – Cook Pasta: Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding corn kernels during the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
Step 4 – Dress Pasta: Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
Add pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh basil to the past and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Chill Salad: Add the tomato and mozzarella balls to the pasta. Gently stir to combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes for flavors to marry before serving.
Step 6 – Garnish & Serve: When ready to serve, garnish with additional fresh basil and enjoy!
More Salad Recipes
Looking for more salads to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Tortellini Antipasto Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Chicken Paillard Salad with Arugula and Parmesan
- Watermelon Feta Salad with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Fresh mozzarella comes in many sizes.
- Ciliegine (which means “cherry” in Italian) was used in this recipe which is approximately the size of a cherry tomato.
- If fresh mozzarella balls such as Ciliegine or Pearls are not unavailable in your area, simply cut your mozzarella into ½”/2.5cm pieces.
Storing Leftovers & Freezing
- Storing Leftovers:
- Store any leftover Caprese Pasta Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Before serving the leftovers, check the consistency and add a little extra pesto or olive oil if needed to freshen it up.
- Freezing Instructions:
- This pasta salad is not suitable for freezing.
- With all leftovers, ensure the food looks and smells okay before consuming.
- You can always consult the Food Standards Agency in your country for the most up-to-date advice on storing and freezing foods: Food Standards Agency (UK) | Food Safety (USA).
Printable Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe Card
To save ink, any demonstration photos on the recipe card do not print.
For the Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled (amount based on personal taste)
- ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- ⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp really good extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad
- 8 oz (225g) bowtie pasta
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 3 Tbsp pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ large lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz (225g) Ciliegine or Pearl fresh mozzarella
- To make pesto, remove the basil leaves from the stems, then wash the leaves, and pat them dry. Place the basil leaves, pine nuts, peeled garlic cloves, and Parmesan in a food processor or blender.
- Quickly pulse the ingredients until barely combined, then add one-third cup of extra virgin olive oil and blend thoroughly. Add the remaining olive oil and additional grated Parmesan to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding corn kernels during the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
- Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh basil to the past and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato and mozzarella balls to the pasta. Gently stir to combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes for flavors to marry before serving.
- When ready to serve, garnish with additional fresh basil and enjoy!
If you are using store-bought pesto in this recipe, you can skip steps 1-2.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 747Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 555mgCarbohydrates: 94gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 26g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Dinner Party Menu Suggestions
You’ve made the salad, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to create a menu for a dinner party or special meal:
- Appetizer: Whipped Feta Dip with Black Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
- Soup: Gazpacho
- Main Dish: Instant Pot Chicken Lazone with Baby Portobello Mushrooms
- Side Dish: Baked Zucchini Fries
- Beverage: Watermelon Mint Lemonade
- Dessert: Lemon Raspberry Loaf
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.