This easy, fresh Caprese Pasta Salad is the perfect recipe!
I adore lazy summer days.
Especially since I live in Michigan: our window of warm weather is far too short for my liking.
Because of that, we spend as much time outside as possible as soon as it’s above freezing.
Once the sunshine starts, you’ll find us barefoot in the backyard. It’s the perfect oasis for lazy evenings in the sunshine.
I have a patio table and chairs set up near our back door. There is a big wooden fence enclosing us, a swing and slide for the boys, a basketball hoop and a gorgeous old tree that provides shade.
I curl up in a chair with a book or my laptop while the boys run wild. There is always music playing, twinkle lights strung in the tree and lots of giggles to be had.
Warm weather creates the opportunity for some wonderful conversations as a family and with our neighbors over the fence.
Another thing I love about the return of warm weather: eating outside. There is always lots of food served on our patio table.
If you’ve been around Spaceships and Laser Beams very long, you know I’m very serious about my food.
In fact, once it starts warming up, most of our meals happen outside.
Warm weather food is some of my favorite. Like the caprese pesto pasta salad recipe I’m sharing with you today. It’s delicious!
It doesn’t have to warm outside to enjoy this delicious recipe though.
It’s the perfect recipe to enjoy year round, with it’s bold and tasty flavors.
This post is sponsored by Barilla. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What is Caprese Pasta Salad?
This yummy recipe combines pasta with tomato and mozzarella to create a cold pasta salad.
It’s a spin off on the classic tomato, basil and mozzarella appetizer that many people enjoy with a balsamic vinaigrette.
It’s a penne caprese. 🙂
The bright colors and delicious, fresh crunch of the veggies make for a beautiful and pleasing dish.
It can be served with chicken to create a hearty main dish or without meat to be the perfect side dish.
It’s also a great option to take to a potluck or barbecue. Everyone will ask for your recipe!
Ingredients for Caprese Pasta Salad
Barilla Ready Pasta makes this simple caprese-style recipe even easier to make. It’s ready to serve in just 60 seconds, providing convenience without sacrificing quality.
Each package is two servings is non-GMO, which makes me feel great about serving it to my family.
You can throw together easy ingredients to create a tasty meal in no time thanks to Walmart. They offer everything I need for a delicious, easy meal. A must for my busy life.
When combined with pre-cut produce from Walmart’s Marketside line, my prep time is almost nothing.
And it tastes delicious, so I look like a hero, without slaving away!
You’ll find Barilla Ready Pasta in the pasta aisle alongside your other Barilla favorites.
Pasta is a staple in our house.
All my boys love it. Busy mama loves that I can create so many recipes and flavor themes with a pasta base.
There is so much versatility and variety, it’s never a boring a meal. You can create a world of yummy options with only a few ingredients.
This Mediterranean style recipe comes together so easily.
You’ll need one package of Barilla Ready Penne Pasta plus a 1/4 cup of Barilla Basil Pesto.
We’ll also be using mozzarella pearls, diced cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, plus balsamic vinegar and honey for a killer balsamic vinaigrette. You’ll want some fresh basil to garnish with too.
You could also use grape tomatoes if you prefer.
Cherry tomatoes are a little bigger and a little sweeter.
Grape tomatoes are oblong (like grapes, hence the name) and their flesh is less watery and a little meatier.
Also, you should know, I’m totally obsessed with pesto. The flavor is out of this world. It takes any recipe up a notch.
If you don’t usually use pesto in your recipes, you really should start.
Not only do they love the taste, my boys think it’s fun because it makes their pasta turn green. 😉 And what kiddo doesn’t like to eat fun, colored food? It’s a great way to sneak some extra veggies in!
When you pair it with this super simple balsamic vinaigrette, it creates a whole new flavor palette to enjoy.
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
You can create this recipe in only a few minutes, which I love.
Some days, I have hours to spend in the kitchen — which I enjoy.
However other days, I need a quick recipe that will pull together quickly in between other activities that offers my family a hearty, filling meal.
This caprese pasta salad with balsamic is perfect for those days.
Let’s get started!
In a small saucepan, pour balsamic vinegar and honey. Simmer over medium heat until it reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool.
Next, cook the penne pasta according to package directions and pour into a clear bowl.
Then, add the Barilla Basil Pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella and cucumber. Stir to combine.
Cover and place in the fridge until cold.
Finally, remove from the fridge before serving and drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh basil.
What to Serve with Caprese Pasta Salad
I often serve this as a side dish with a rotisserie chicken for a super faster dinner.
It’s divine with a good, crusty loaf of bread as well.
I usually serve with a plate of crisp veggies, too. Like sugar snap peas or sliced bell peppers.
You can also double (or triple or quadruple…. you get the picture) this recipe and take to a BBQ party or potluck. No one needs to know how easy it was for you to make unless you want to fess up!
In the spring and summer, we eat tons of fresh fruit so that’s dessert for this meal. A big bowl of fresh cut fruit. It’s the perfect finish to a good meal.
You could also enjoy it on a chillier day and dream of the summer flavors you love so much.
I’ve been known to do this. 🙂
I hope you make and serve this delicious caprese pasta salad for your family soon.
Psst, you’ll love this simple, hearty pasta as well.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 package Barilla Ready Pasta Penne
- 1/4 cup Barilla Basil Pesto
- 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
- 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1. In a small saucepan, pour balsamic vinegar and honey. Simmer over medium heat until it reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool.2. Cook pasta according to package directions and pour into a clear bowl.3. Add pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella and cucumber. Stir to combine.4. Cover and place in the fridge until cold.5. Remove from fridge before serving and drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh basil.