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.
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 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.Print
Caprese Pasta Salad with Olives
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.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- 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.
- 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.
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.