Caprese Pasta Salad with Olives

The summer weather is in full swing here – hot and toasty – so I thought a simple, flavorful pasta salad was in order.  This caprese pasta salad with olives features creamy mozzarella, sweet cherry tomatoes, salty olives, fresh basil and orecchiette pasta tossed with a garlicky red wine vinaigrette.  It comes together in no time at all.

Caprese pasta salad with olives | Green Valley Kitchen

When making a pasta salad, some people cool off the pasta by rinsing it with cold water.  I think this leaves the pasta too slippery and flavorless.  I prefer tossing the hot pasta with the vinaigrette and then letting it cool in a shallow bowl – stirring occasionally to help the pasta cool off.  Tossing the hot pasta with the vinaigrette gives the pasta a big flavor boost since it absorbs some of the vinaigrette.

Caprese pasta salad with olives | Green Valley KitchenCaprese pasta salad with olives | Green Valley Kitchen

Caprese is a classic summer combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Add in pasta and olives and you’ve got an easy, flavorful summer pasta salad that uses just a few ingredients and takes no time to put together.  Lunch or dinner is ready in 20 minutes.  Make a little extra since this holds up really well in the refrigerator – an easy packable lunch for tomorrow.  This is a great dish for a barbecue, picnic or get together with friends.

Caprese Pasta Salad with Olives
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Prep time:
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Serves: 2 to 4
A caprese pasta salad with olives that is perfect on a hot summers day. An easy, fresh, healthy pasta salad that uses summer ingredients at their best.
Ingredients
  • Pasta Salad
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta - I used orecchiette pasta
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes - sliced in half or quarters depending on size
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella - I used ciliegini (small mozzarella balls) - quartered
  • 20 basil leaves - minced
  • 12 olives - roughly chopped
  • Vinaigrette
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic - finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • 6 twists of pepper from a pepper mill.
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Make the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, pepper and salt and whisk to combine. Set the vinaigrette aside so the garlic infuses the vinaigrette as you cook the pasta.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain and add pasta to a large, shallow bowl. Toss the pasta with the vinaigrette and set aside to cool. Stir the pasta occasionally to help it cool faster. The pasta should sit for about 10 minutes before adding the additional ingredients.
  4. While the pasta is cooling, slice or quarter cherry tomatoes, quarter mozzarella balls, mince basil and roughly chop olives. Add all ingredients to the cooled pasta and toss to combine.
Notes
I used orecchiette pasta but fusilli or penne would work well also.
Once the pasta has been combined with the vinaigrette, you'll want to set it aside so that it cools slightly. You should let it cool for 10 minutes or so - stirring occasionally so the pasta at the bottom of the bowl cools as well.
The caprese pasta salad can be served right away at room temperature. If you're planning on eating it later, then refrigerate the caprese pasta salad until ready to serve.

Thanks for stopping by – hope you enjoy the recipe.  You can find me on instagram and pinterest too!

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24 comments on “Caprese Pasta Salad with Olives

  1. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    I”m sooo craving this delicious salad you’ve put together, Geraldine! Those tomatoes are callin my name! I could eat caprese every day this time of year, with loads of mozzarella, but then bring pasta into the game, and things just got better! Thank you for the tip on the pasta absorbing some of the flavors of the vinaigrette – that’s a good one! Thank you for this Geraldine!!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Thanks, Traci! I don’t know what it is about the combo of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil but it can’t be beat – especially in the summer! Stay cool.

      Reply
  2. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    This salad is everything I want my pasta salad to be! Gorgeous and FULL of fabulous flavor! Orecchiette is one of my favorite pastas- tres chic and SO perfect for holding everything yum in its lovely crevasses! Plus I totally dig that you tossed the pasta, while still warm, with the red wine vinaigrette! Yes! You can never go wrong with caprese anything, but all your lovely additions make this over the top YUM! <3 Cheers and Pinned!

    Reply
  3. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen

    This looks delicious, Geraldine! I love the tip about letting the hot pasta soak up the vinaigrette – what a great idea. It’s hard to beat the combination of mozzarella, tomato and basil, especially when you throw in olives too. What a perfect meal!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      It’s amazing how all the tomatoes seem to ripen at once – I was getting a couple of red ones a week and now all of sudden they are all turning red – definitely a good way to use them up! Thanks, Kathy!

      Reply
  4. Izzy

    I think I saw someone get yelled at on a food show for rinsing the pasta after it cooked! I could eat this pasta salad every single day! And that pasta is so cute! Pasta tastes much better when it a fun shape, lol! This really does look perfect for a hot summer day 🙂

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hey Izzy – I love using different shaped pastas – my cupboard is full of different types – and the orecchiette is pretty cute, isn’t it! Thanks!

      Reply
    2. Nyna

      I think that applies to hot pasta, where you want the sauce to get absorbed a bit by the pasta and when the sauce needs some help sticking to the pasta. For a cold salad, I believe you don’t want the vinaigrette to stick, but to slide.

      Reply
      1. Geraldine Post author

        Thanks for stopping by Nyna. The idea behind this dish is to add the dressing to the hot pasta so it will absorb the flavor and then let the pasta cool slightly before adding the additional ingredients.

        Reply
  5. Dimitris

    Simplicity at its best, fast easy and I am sure delicious. I make a slight variation of this dish at least once a week during the summer. The differences is that I don’t use vinegar (I marinate the tomatoes in olive oil with the garlic) and sometimes instead of mozzarella I use crumbled feta.

    Reply

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