Smoked Mozzarella Caprese Pasta Salad
Let’s talk caprese pasta salad, with a twist! Easy, quick and who are we kidding, you just cannot go wrong with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I mean, you just can’t.
Plus, we all know that caprese anything = one of the best parts about summer.
I feel like I have been saying that about everything lately. Corn. Watermelon. Cherries. Well, apparently just everything food related. Because the heat? Yeah, I’d be fine if that went away now. It’s been just so darn humid by us.
So I try to remind myself that there are good things about summer – i.e. the food. At least I can complain about the weather while eating boatloads of delicious produce?
Yes, we’ll go with that.
I had every intention of getting this pasta salad up for you before July 4th. Yet here we are over a week later. Too many recipes, too little time. Let’s just pretend that we are planning well in advance for next year! I like it (says the insanely obsessive planner).
Or you can just make this for one of the many other potlucks, picnics, BBQs or gatherings that will still be happening during the rest of this summer. I suppose that works too.
So. Let’s talk pasta salad. And really, this couldn’t be any simpler.
We have some whole wheat pasta shells (or whatever shape you like). Some halved cherry tomatoes. Some fresh basil.
Some smoked mozzarella! You know, instead of regular mozzarella. I kind of totally dig that slight smokiness and sort of fun twist it gives the pasta salad. Just a little something to make it a bit different and exciting.
Finally, we toss it all in a simple balsamic dressing. Done and done.
And it tastes exactly like summer. Cue happy dance.
Yield: about 6 to 8 servings, as a side
Smoked Mozzarella Caprese Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Recipe for a quick & easy caprese pasta salad. With a twist! With smoked mozzarella, loads of fresh basil, cherry tomatoes & a simple balsamic dressing!
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
For the salad:
- 10 ounces whole wheat pasta shells (or another similar sized shape)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 to 9 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into ½ to ¾ inch cubes
- ½ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
To make the dressing:
- Vigorously whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing until combined. Set aside.
To make the salad:
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions. Drain, rinse well with cold water and add to a large bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. Pour in the desired amount of dressing (to taste – start with less, you can always add more as needed! I use all of it) and toss again until evenly coated.
- I like to let this chill for at least a few hours to let the flavors develop and meld, but you can serve immediately if you would like!
While I am partial to smoked mozzarella here, you can absolutely use regular mozzarella instead.
You can also sub in regular balsamic vinegar in place of the white balsamic vinegar in the dressing – it will just turn the color slightly brown (which drives me nuts). The white balsamic vinegar makes the salad much prettier here! But the tastes are quite similar so if that doesn’t matter to you, go for it!
If you chop everything up and make the dressing while the pasta is cooking, this comes together in a pinch!
Cook Nourish Bliss
Psst. Looking for more ways to put all that glorious summer produce to use? Check out the savory galette recipe I created for Oh My Veggies!
Get it here! —> Corn and Zucchini Galette