Caprese Pasta Salad ~ #SundaySupper

Ripe tomatoes, sweet basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese come together to create a flavorful summer pasta salad.

Caprese Pasta Salad {Vegetarian}

I’m all about fresh, vibrant recipes in the summer. This Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad is made with fresh ingredients straight from the garden. As we all know, straight off the vine tomatoes are the absolute best. They’re sweet, juicy, and bursting with ripe tomato flavor.

My tomato plants are still in the early stages, so they’re not producing any fruit yet, so I opted for a basket of tomatoes from my local farmer’s market. I do, however, have fresh basil ready to go, so I snipped a few stems and added them to the salad.

Caprese Pasta Salad {Vegetarian}

For now, I’m dreaming of the day (hopefully only a few short weeks) when I can walk barefoot out to my garden and pick grape tomatoes right off the vine and pop them in my mouth. I can taste it now!

This week, the #SundaySupper team is partnering with Gallo Family Vineyards for a backyard barbecue party! It’s all about wine, food, and backyard party games.

During the warmer months, I reach for a slightly sweeter blend of wine, so I chose to pair my pasta salad with Gallo Family Vineyards’ Sweet White Blend and Sweet Red. Chilled wine is an absolute must in the summer, so I store it in a cooler full of ice and let my guests serve themselves. I even went as far as purchasing plastic wine glasses this year.

Caprese Pasta Salad {Vegetarian}

Gallo’s Sweet White Blend is bright, crisp, and bursting with fresh flavors of ripe peach and melon. Their Sweet Red is a medium-bodied blend bursting with the ripe flavors of sweet red berries. Both selections are absolutely delightful and go down smooth (almost too smooth).

This caprese pasta salad is full of vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy chunks of mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil from my garden. I tossed the salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. This recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s a great recipe for entertaining and can be made 2-3 days ahead of time. Its the type of salad that gets better the longer it sits in the dressing.

Caprese Pasta Salad {Vegetarian}

The salad is equal parts hearty and filling. It’s full of good-for-you ingredients and can be served alongside the main attraction, or as a meal itself.

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Caprese Pasta Salad

Ripe tomatoes, sweet basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese come together to create a flavorful summer pasta salad.

Yield: 8 servings

Total Time: 22 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 1 pound dried rotini pasta
  • 1 and 1/2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped (about 1 and 1/2 cups)

Directions:

Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey, salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Once all of the olive oil has been added, give the mixture a few vigorous shakes to thoroughly combine.

Salad:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add several generous pinches of kosher salt (the water should taste like sea water). Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Give the colander a few good shakes to make sure the pasta is thoroughly drained.
  2. Add the pasta to a large bowl. Gently fold in the grape tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
  3. Add the balsamic vinaigrette to the bowl with the pasta and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl, or transfer to an airtight container, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill. Stir in the chopped basil right before serving.
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.