Caprese Pasta Salad with Balsamic Dressing is a Make in Advance cold pasta salad for any day, any party and any season.
This easy caprese pasta salad with balsamic dressing can be made any time of the year. It’s a ‘go-to’ salad you can serve as a side dish with dinner or add to any buffet table for your gathering.
Here is a little FYI on the infamous Insalata Caprese – Insalata Caprese translates to what we know as Caprese Salad. This salad is said to have originated on the Italian Island of Capri and represents the red, white, and green colors of the Italian flag. I have no idea how true this is but it’s a lovely legend.
It is also a delicious salad which we know as a platter layered with garden fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. A simple salad you can find today on almost every Italian restaurant appetizer menu.
Adding a cold pasta salad for any gathering or a buffet can easily be prepared in advance – definitely a hit with the crowd and the cook as well. It’s a great side dish and a vegetarian option to which you can also add other fresh vegetables – shredded carrots, fresh spinach or sliced zucchini can be served uncooked and cold for a delicious vegetarian option.
This ‘make in advance’ caprese pasta salad with balsamic dressing is a play on the Italian Caprese Salad. Adding the mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil to the cold pasta dressed with a balsamic dressing is a salad for any gathering , dinner party or family dinner. The more dishes we can prepare in advance the better the party, you can then sit back, relax and enjoy!
While the pasta water is boiling you can gather your salad ingredients, add the pasta to the boiling water, cook according to package directions and prepare the remainder of the ingredients. In less than 25 minutes your salad is ready to be chilled until serving time. Make the dressing and chill, dress the salad just before serving.
- 1 pkg. Farfale (bow tie) pasta (you can use whatever shape pasta you prefer)
- 2 cups grape tomatoes (sliced in half if you wish)
- 1 lb. mozzarella cut in cubes (you can also use fresh bococcini and cut each in half)
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (use as much or as little as you prefer)
- 1 cup oil cured olives pitted & cut in half (optional)
- ¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar (you can use red vinegar if you prefer)
- 1 tbls. chopped shallots
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. honey (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to directions. Rinse under cold water, drain well and add to a large bowl.
- Slice the grape tomatoes in half, cut up the mozzarella into 1 inch cubes and cut the olives if you choose to use them. Set aside.
- Place the oil, vinegar and the remainder of the ingredients into a jar and shake or stir well to combine ingredients. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
- Taste the dressing to see if you need to add more of an ingredient based on your preference.
- Drizzle over the salad and toss. Serve Cold.
With just a few ingredients this easy caprese pasta salad with balsamic dressing takes less than 25 minutes to prepare. In the summer you can use your fresh garden tomatoes and basil. No worries though if you do not have a garden, you can always get fresh tomatoes and basil in the supermarket.