Caprese Pasta Salad

overhead shot of mixed pasta salad in bowl with 2 wooden spoons in bowl

This Caprese Pasta Salad is the BEST! It’s loaded with fresh seasonal ingredients and sure to be a HIT at your next Summer BBQ! 

Ladies and gents, it’s pasta salad season! Ohhhh yeah. 

I am 100% not a fan of the Summer heat, especially here in the South but, I do love a good cookout…and with a cookout comes the SIDES! 

And to me, there is nothing better than a delicious huge bowl of chilled pasta salad just waiting to be devoured. 

overhead shot of mixed pasta salad in bowl on green linen with balsamic glaze in white bowl in background

Over the years I have posted many pasta salad recipes here on OBB, but I really and truly love this one! 

Why You’ll Love This Pasta Salad: 

  1. This pasta salad is filled with FRESH ingredients that are perfect to eat all Summer long. You have juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh herbaceous basil…the best combo! 
  2. The texture of this pasta salad is incredible. From the perfectly cooked pasta, the pop of the cherry tomatoes and the creaminess of the mozzarella balls. 
  3. The homemade balsamic glaze is a home run! It’s so simple to whip up yourself (and so much cheaper than the store-bought version) and adds SO much flavor. 
  4. It’s unique! Yes I love a good Italian or Southwestern pasta salad but this is a showstopper that all of your friends will love! 
  5. It’s great for meal prep! You can make this at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch all week. 
  6. Lastly, you can make this a side dish or add a protein (grilled chicken would be amazing!) to make it more of a full meal. 

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Pasta of choice (I used Cavatappi) but you can use Rotini or Penne as well! 
  • Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Fresh Basil 
  • Balsamic Glaze (homemade or store bought) 
  • Mozzarella Balls 
  • Salt 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Olive oil 

How to Make Pasta Salad:

If you choose to make a homemade balsamic glaze, do that now! It will need time to cool and thicken. I used THIS recipe to make mine and it turned out great. 

extreme close up of mixed pasta salad

Next, it’s time to make the pasta! Follow the cooking instructions on the box of pasta or cook until al dente. Drain and let the pasta cool. Pour into a large bowl – it needs to be big enough to be mixed in and set aside. 

And now, the easy part! 

Slice up a pint of cherry tomatoes – I sliced mine in half. Add to the bowl. 

Add the mozzarella balls (or also known as mozzarella pearls) and add to the bowl. If you can’t find mozzarella balls or pearls, feel free to grab a log of fresh mozzarella and slice it into bite size chunks. 

Mince fresh basil and add. 

Lastly, add a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze and MIX together using large utensils. 

side by side photos of pasta salad ingredients in bowl - one with balsamic glaze, one without

Taste and then if needed, add a splash of olive oil. At this point I also added a generous pinch of salt as well as garlic powder to mine. 

Mix again and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. 

And you’re all set! Eat up!

Best Pasta Salad Tips:

Once the pasta salad has cooled and you are ready to serve it, I loved to garnish mine with extra large basil leaves for a pop of color. You can also add more balsamic glaze drizzle on top for an extra “pop”! 

individual serving of pasta salad in bowl with fork in bowl

Be sure to TASTE as you go! Like I said above, adding salt, a little olive oil and garlic powder was a game changer for my pasta salad. I recommend you do the same! Each person’s palette is different so it’s important to taste! 

Make sure that the pasta salad has cooled before you serve it. 

side view shot of pasta salad in bowl with wooden spoons

To make this pasta gluten free, simply use your favorite gluten free pasta. I love Banza chickpea pasta! 

Feel free to store leftovers up to 4 days or so – but just know you might have to add a little extra seasoning or more balsamic glaze (which you can also store in the fridge)!

I hope you enjoy every single bite! 

Did you like this recipe? Here are a few others you might like: 

Loaded Burger Pasta Salad 

Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad 

Southwestern Pasta Salad 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Caprese Pasta Salad

This Caprese Pasta Salad is the BEST! It’s loaded with fresh seasonal ingredients and sure to be a HIT at your next Summer BBQ! 

Course Side, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword caprese pasta salad, easy pasta dish, easy pasta salad, easy pasta side, pasta salad recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 people

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Cavatappi pasta (or rotini or penne pasta)
  • 8 oz mozzarella balls (or pearls)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • fresh basil, minced (I did about 6 large leaves) - save some for garnish also
  • 2-3 tbsp of balsamic glaze (homemade or store-bought, see NOTES for recipe I used)
  • salt and garlic powder to taste
  • splash of olive oil

Instructions

  1. If you are making your own balsamic glaze, go ahead and do that now so it can be cooling. See notes below for recipe I used.

  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions - drain and then pour it into a LARGE mixing bowl.

  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes and add to the mixing bowl. Add the mozzarella pearls and the chopped basil.

  4. Lastly, drizzle a generous amount of the balsamic glaze on top - about 2-3 tbsp depending on how much you want.

  5. Mix all of this together using large utensils. Add a generous pinch of salt, a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Mix together and taste - adjust seasoning if needed (i.e. add more balsamic glaze, more salt, more oil, more garlic powder to your liking)

  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to let it chill.

  7. When serving, I like to add fresh basil leaves as well as an extra drizzle of the balsamic glaze on top. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Balsamic Glaze Recipe that I used (can be found in the blog post as well or just by googling "homemade balsamic glaze") 

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