Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad

I cannot think of a better combo for a spring or summer dish than spinach basil pesto, bright, juicy cherry tomatoes and squeaky fresh mozzarella. All tossed with al dente pasta. This is Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad.

Overhead shot of Caprese Pasta Salad in a white bowl.

The BEST summer caprese pasta salad…

Whatever the weather may be like, this recipe will have you feeling like summertime. I’m ready to be hanging out on my back deck sipping a Summer Shandy while I grill some salmon to go with my Caprese Pesto Pasta salad. These activities just have to be right around the corner.

Dried Orecchiette pasta in a glass jar.
Fresh cherry tomatoes on a white marble counter

Making pesto is so easy!

The best part about this salad? You can eat the leftovers for days and not come even close to being tired of it.

Of course you know I’m a huge pasta fan, especially orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta). I’m also a huge fan of pesto, and my secret to making a bigger batch without shelling out oodles of cash for more fresh basil is to add a few cups of spinach to the mix. Not only does this it provide loads of nutrition to the dish, but it adds bulk to the pesto without overpowering the flavor of the basil. I promise you the basil still totally shines through.

Also, I am a sucker for tiny little tomatoes that burst in my mouth when I bite down, so I load this pasta salad up with them, along with fresh mozzarella to make it officially a caprese salad.

Overhead shot of Caprese Pasta Salad with silver fork and spoon in a white bowl.

This recipe seriously screams warmer weather, and I can’t wait.

Print

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

A refreshing pasta salad with spinach basil pesto, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 25 min + 30 min refrigeration time
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove-Top, No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian, American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12-ounces orecchiette (or other shaped pasta)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or pepitas
  • ¼ cup freshly shaved or shredded Parmesan
  • 23 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¾ cup olive oil + more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
  • ¼ cup microgreens, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large glass bowl.
  2. Place spinach, basil, nuts, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped. Add the pesto to the pasta and season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper and stir to combine. Add tomatoes and mozzarella balls and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Before serving, drizzle lightly with olive oil and garnish with microgreens.

Notes

Serving Tip: Serve with a sautéed filet of salmon for a complete meal.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 218
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 235mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 16mg

Keywords: easy, healthy, summer, fresh, homemade, from scratch, best, cold

Did you make this recipe?

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Overhead shot of finished Caprese Pasta Salad recipe in a white bowl.

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