This Caprese Pasta Salad is made with fresh mozzarella, basil, and deliciously juicy sun-dried tomatoes, then covered in a homemade herb dressing. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for an amazing salad that will become your new favorite!
If you’re a fan of traditional caprese salad made with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic reduction, then you are going to LOVE this version. It has PASTA, y’all! And noodles are kinda like bacon. It just makes everything better. ????
This recipe has been on my mind for awhile now, and I was so happy to finally get the chance to make it this past week. Since it’s summertime, I love to make pasta salads to go along with whatever we are eating for dinner. I usually make my Easy Pasta Salad because it’s so simple to throw together and everyone gobbles it up without complaint.
And I sure do like when a meal doesn’t involve grumbling from the little people at my house!
I eat Caprese salad a lot because it is literally one of my favorite foods ever in the world. It’s so simple, and the flavors are so good. One of my favorite local restaurants here makes a Caprese sandwich with their homemade herbed focaccia bread and while I was stuffing it in my face last week (true story????) I kept thinking how delicious it would be as a pasta salad.
And then the thought came to me to use those uber delicious oil packed sun-dried tomatoes that are so good, and man I really patted myself on the back for that one. Because I have to tell you, they really take this caprese pasta salad over the edge!
Now when you make this, you’re going to scoop the sun-dried tomatoes out of the jar, but don’t discard that amazingly flavorful oil! You’re going to want to hold on to that liquid gold! Why, you ask? Because pasta salads tend to get a little dry after they’ve been in the refrigerator for a few hours, but if you’ve held on to your sun-dried tomato oil, you have the perfect tool to moisten that caprese pasta salad right back up!
Caprese Pasta Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 16 oz bowtie pasta
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped into ribbons
- 1 (8 oz) jar julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil with herbs
- 2 teaspoons + 3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar, divided
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- fresh black pepper, to taste
- grated parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)
To make the pasta salad:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, fresh mozzarella, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes with a small amount of oil from the jar. Save whatever oil is left in the jar to moisten the pasta salad later.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, dried basil and pepper to taste. Pour over the pasta and stir everything gently to coat. Cover the salad and place in the refrigerator to chill. Once you are ready to serve, drizzle with the balsamic reduction (recipe below) and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if desired. If pasta salad gets dry after being in the refrigerator, use some of the leftover oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes to moisten it.
To make the Balsamic reduction:
- Pour 3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and place over low heat on the stove. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar reduces and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and drizzle over the salad immediately. Be careful not to let it cool for too long, or it will thicken and harden in the pan. Also, be sure to to turn on your vent fan on your stove while making the balsamic reduction as it creates a strong smell!
If you like this Caprese Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, then you might also like:
Bruschetta Tilapia with Balsamic Glaze