Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Well hellooooo middle of August! You know this feeling.. every single year, the summer whizzes by, ya look up and it’s the end of August. I don’t know about you, but I’m always equal parts sad about the waning summer and excited about the upcoming cooler weather. But what’s the best part about this time of year? THE PRODUCE.
In the Northeast, everything tastes out-of-this-world-incredible this time of year. It’s when I could eat tomatoes and basil every single day. And we do!
So when we had a cookout with friends and they requested pasta salad, I knew I had to make an ultra summer-y version. And thus, this Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette was born.
It’s a slightly grown up version of the picnic classic that relies heavily on the fresh sweetness of the late summer tomatoes and basil. A time-honored combination that deserves to be enjoyed in all the ways possible.
I love using a combination of as many colors of tomatoes as I can find. Also, any type of tomato works here! I love grape or cherry tomatoes because the prep is a little simpler, but whatever tomatoes are overflowing at your local market are primed for this salad!
Then, this Caprese Pasta Salad is highlighted by a gorgeous Basil Vinaigrette (inspired by What’s Gaby Cooking‘s version). It’s a super tart, a little spicy, fabulously green dressing that perfectly counterbalanced the sweetness from the grape tomatoes and the creaminess of the mozzarella pearls.
As we near the end of summer, enjoy all the last minute get-togethers, patio dinners, porch hang-outs and picnics you can! This Caprese Pasta Salad will be right there for ya—whipped up in 15 minutes and the hit of any gathering!
- 1 pound rotini
- 1/2 pint red tomatoes
- 1/2 pint yellow tomatoes
- 1/2 pint brown tomatoes
- 1 pint mozzarella pearls drained
- 1/4 cup basil chiffonade
- 1 shallot roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 2 cups basil packed tightly
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and let cool.
In the meantime, add all vinaigrette ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 1 minute until light green and entirely smooth.
Slice all your tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size. And stack and roll your basil leaves, then cut thin ribbons (chiffonades).
In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, chopped tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, basil leaves and basil vinaigrette. Stir well and serve!