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Bursting with flavour, this caprese pasta salad recipe is super easy to make (or make-ahead) for a summer BBQ, picnic, or even a packed lunch! Options for both a balsamic vinaigrette or pesto dressing included.

overhead shot of white bowl with cavatappi pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini, and basil

This post was updated with helpful content + fresh images on 04.22.2020.

Caprese salads always transport me to Italy in the summertime! They’re typically made of juicy fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic. Incredibly simple, but beyond delicious. This caprese pasta salad adds pasta to those traditional ingredients, for a delicious meal or side dish.

This pasta salad is so easy to make and perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic! Refreshing and bursting with flavour, it’s sure to be a hit with any of your guests.

No summer parties planned? This caprese pasta salad can also be included in your weekly meal prep. It stores well and is meant to be eaten cold, meaning it works perfectly as a packed lunch!

small bowl with cavatappi pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini, basil, and gold fork

How To Make Caprese Pasta Salad

To make this caprese pasta salad, you want to start by boiling water and cooking your pasta of choice. I used the “cavatappi” shape in this recipe, but feel free to use any short pasta shape, like fusilli, rigatoni, penne, or macaroni.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients while the pasta cooks. Chop an English cucumber into 1-inch pieces, halve cherry tomatoes, and halve bocconcini balls. Chop fresh basil and set all ingredients aside.

Next, make the pasta salad dressing. This recipe calls for a balsamic vinaigrette, but it would also be delicious with a homemade pesto!

To make the balsamic vinaigrette, simply add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a small jar. Shake everything well to combine.

For a homemade pesto recipe, you can check out my favourite hemp seed pesto here! If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can swap them with any nut or seed (e.g. pistachios, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds).

Drain the pasta once cooked and transfer to a large bowl. Add in chopped cucumber, tomatoes, bocconcini, and fresh basil. Toss in either the balsamic vinaigrette or the pesto dressing, until ingredients are well-coated. Add salt and pepper, as desired.

Cover the pasta salad and store in the fridge for about 60 minutes to allow the flavours to marinate and the salad to chill.

wooden cutting board with chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini cheese, and basil

Can Pasta Salad Be Made Ahead?

Yes! In fact, most pasta salads taste even better the next day. It really helps the flavours soak into the ingredients.

Simply store pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for about 2-3 days.

Gluten-Free Option

For a gluten-free version of this pasta salad, simply be sure to use a certified gluten-free pasta.

One of my favourite gluten-free brands is Tinkyada – I find it tastes and has a texture just like regular pasta!

closeup shot of white bowl with cavatappi pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini, and basil

Recipe Nutrition Notes

Tomato Nutrition:

  • a rich source of micronutrients like vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K
  • a great source of dietary fibre and antioxidants, like lycopene and beta-carotene.

Cucumber Nutrition:

  • a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, potassium, vitamin C, manganese, and magnesium.
  • 96% water, making them super hydrating as well!

Basil Nutrition:

  • rich in vitamins C, A, K, B6 and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
  • a source of antioxidants called flavonoids.

Bocconcini Nutrition:

  • a decent source of protein
  • a source of calcium
  • lower in sodium compared to many other cheeses
closeup shot of white bowl with cavatappi pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini, basil, and gold serving spoon

More Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes

Did you give this Simple Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Refreshingly Simple Caprese Pasta Salad

Bursting with flavour, this caprese pasta salad recipe is easy to make, or make-ahead. It's perfect for a BBQ, picnic, or packed lunch idea. Balsamic vinaigrette and pesto dressing options included!
overhead shot of white bowl with cavatappi pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bocconcini, and basil
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups dry pasta (I used “cavatappi” as the shape, but you can use others like fusilli, penne, etc.)
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (vine-ripened, if possible)
  • 1.5 cups bocconcini balls
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • Salt + pepper, to taste

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt + pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • While pasta cooks, chop cucumber into 1-inch pieces. Halve tomatoes and bocconcini balls. Chop basil. Set aside.
  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small jar and shake vigorously to combine. OR, make homemade pesto if desired.
  • Once pasta is done, drain and add to large bowl.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, bocconcini, and basil to the pasta. Toss in balsamic vinaigrette OR pesto until well combined, adjusting salt + pepper to taste.
  • Cover bowl and place in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour. Best served chilled!

Notes

*Recipe can be made ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*For gluten-free version, use certified gluten-free pasta.
*No need to be strict with measurements for this recipe; these are all approximate amounts and can be adjusted according to flavor preferences or increased if you want to serve more people!

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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