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top down shot of Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto in a large white bowl

Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto

The ultimate summer potluck dish, this caprese pasta salad is made with chunks of pearl mozzarella, juicy cherry tomatoes and tossed in a bright pesto sauce!
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 460kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad

Ingredients

Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz Orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 8 oz small pearlini fresh mozzarella balls, drained
  • Few leaves fresh basil for garnish

Walnut Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic peeled
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook the orecchiette pasta according to package instructions al dente; drain and rinse the pasta under cool water to prevent them from sticking to one another, and set aside.
  • To prepare the pesto sauce, place the basil, garlic, walnuts and Parmesan cheese in the food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste, and blend.
  • While the food processor is on, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture. Stop to scrape down the sides as necessary, and continue to mix until the pesto is well-blended and smooth.
  • Toss the half of the pesto sauce (or more) with the cooked orecchiette pasta. Fold in the grape tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes

 
  • Mozzarella “pearls” are widely available at most grocery stores these days. If you have a hard time finding them, you can substitute with a standard mozzarella ball cut up into smaller chunks. Don’t substitute with shredded mozzarella because it won’t have the same effect.
  • If you prefer not to use walnuts, you can substitute with pine nuts or almonds or almost any other nut.
  • This pasta salad does not need to be chilled before serving, but chilling it doesn’t hurt.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Store any leftover pesto sauce in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • You can make this salad up to 24 hours ahead of time. Just add the fresh basil leaves immediately before serving for best taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 188mg | Iron: 1.3mg