This Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad is simple in all the best ways without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. Quick and easy to throw together, this pasta salad features sweet tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and a garlicky balsamic dressing. This is famous in our lives amongst our family and friends – a true crowd pleaser!
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red onion, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional – depends on how sweet your tomatoes and vinegar are. Taste as you go)
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella balls
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup (or more) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boil; add pasta and cook to “el dente” doneness, according to box directions. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
- Mix the balsamic vinegar, remaining olive oil, and sugar (if using) in the bottom of a large serving bowl.
- Add diced pepper, tomatoes, and sautéed garlic/onion. Toss to combine. Add the pasta to the bowl and toss everything together (it’s best to do this while the pasta is still warm. It will absorb the flavors better).
- Allow the pasta to cool slightly and then add the mozzarella and basil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Finish with a generous grating of parmesan cheese and toss again.
- Toss everything together and refrigerate for AT LEAST 2 hours before serving (the longer it sits, the better it gets).
- Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves just before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: pasta salad
Keywords: balsamic caprese pasta salad, caprese pasta salad, caprese pasta, summer pasta salad recipe