Food & Drink

Caprese Penne Salad

Here is a pasta salad recipe that would be perfect for 4th of July outings and barbecues. It is based on the classic Italian Caprese salad, but to which pasta is added and tossed, making it a terrific summertime side dish.


I like to use penne for my Caprese Pasta Salads, but you could use any short pasta such as farfalle, small shells, macaroni, orecchiette, etc. 


1 ½ lb. penne, or any short pasta 

2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar

3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 

4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

16 oz. small mozzarella balls or pearls

1 cup julienned fresh basil, plus more for garnish

Red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside to let the pasta cool.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup oil, vinegar, grated garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add the tomatoes and mozzarella to the dressing and toss to coat. Let everything marinate while the pasta cools, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cooled pasta to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Stir in the basil and toss until the basil is well distributed. Garnish with more basil and red pepper flakes, if you like.
  5. Serve the pasta salad cool or at room temperature, not cold. 
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