We all love a Caprese salad, but what's even better? Caprese Pasta Salad! Sweet tomatoes and basil, tender fresh mozzarella cheese and orzo pasta make a salad that you won't be able to stop eating!
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How much do you love Caprese Salad? That, to me, is the epitome of summer. So light and fresh with delicious summery-flavor. Bonus points if the tomatoes and basil come from your garden. Even more bonus points if you use burrata!
I also find pasta salad to be down-right addicting! My sister is usually the one who makes the pasta salad recipe and every single time she makes enough to feed a whole football team (with leftovers) even if it's just for a few of us. We constantly rip on her about it, but I think we secretly all prefer it that way because we all totally live for those leftovers. I'll eat it for days and not get sick of it.
So what do you get when you combine Caprese salad and pasta salad? Caprese Pasta Salad. Tender orzo pasta for easy eating with vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella and fresh, sweet basil. Balsamic vinegar and seasonings add excellent flavor and I went ahead and added some scallions into the mix to make it even more delicious.
Tips for making Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad:
- Certain ingredients can be made ahead- I would totally encourage you to cook the pasta ahead and chop the tomatoes ahead. Work smarter, not harder.
- Other things should not be done ahead- I'd encourage you to chop the fresh mozzarella right before serving, as you don't want it to dry out. Also, the basil is best done right before eating to preserve freshness. And the scallions onion-y flavor will only get stronger as they sit, and they could potentially dry out.
- Make sure you don't dress it until right before serving- although this still tastes awesome the next day and beyond, the acidity of the balsamic changes the texture of the fresh mozzarella and gets absorbed.
- If you can find the tiny balls of fresh mozzarella (also known as perlini since they tend to be slightly larger than a pearl), use those, because they're perfect for this! Otherwise, diced fresh mozzarella will be fine (imagine my saying that in best unintentionally condescending Ina Garten voice!).
- If you're not cooking for a crowd, halve the recipe- this recipe makes a ton of pasta salad (like I mentioned above, we go big in my family!). But if you don't need a ton of it or want to many leftover's don't hesitate to halve the recipe.
- Chiffonade the basil- I wrote a whole post explaining how to chiffonade basil quickly and easily!
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 pound orzo pasta, (one package or 2 ½ cups)
- 4 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced (or Perlini mozzarella if available)
- ¼ cup chiffonade basil
- ¼ cup scallions, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Boil orzo pasta in well salted water as per package directions, until al dente. Set aside to cool (or if you're in a hurry, run it under cold water).
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
- Serve immediately.
If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!
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