This Vegan Caprese Pasta Salad recipe is quick and easy to make and a lightened up and healthy twist on the classic pot luck favorite. Made with fresh basil, grape tomatoes and vegan mozzarella with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free with grain-free paleo-friendly options.
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Updated April 2023
Vegan Caprese Pasta Salad
Looking for a light and healthy vegan lunch? This Vegan Caprese Pasta Salad is super easy to make with fresh basil, grape tomatoes, vegan mozzarella pearls and a homemade balsamic dressing. Perfect for spring or summer and full of fresh ingredients and amazing flavors.
Pasta salads are always a delicious crowd-pleaser and perfect for lunch, a light dinner and spring and summer potlucks, picnics, cookouts and backyard BBQs.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
This pasta salad is great for meal prep and is created with just a handful of ingredients. If you’re a fan of easy and healthy pasta salad recipes, then you’ll really love this one.
The fresh tomatoes and basil really stand out with the balsamic vinaigrette. It’s both savory and tender with ingredients that are incredibly flavorful and satisfying.
Plus, it’s vegan and plant-based friendly, gluten-free and can easily be made paleo using a grain-free paleo brand pasta.
Classic pasta salads are typically made with pasta, mozarella cheese and creamy mayonnaise-based dressings. Since we are trying to keep this pasta salad healthy and gluten-free, we are using:
- Dried pasta- any gluten-free or grain free pasta brand you like, but if you are paleo these from Jovial, or Almond Love for Keto. If you are looking for a chickpea or lentil based pasta, you can use Banza pasta shells that are made with chickpeas.
- Cherry tomatoes for fresh flavors and textures; preferably organic
- Fresh vegan mozzarella cheese cut into bite-sized cubes; omit if vegan/Whole30/dairy-free
- Fresh basil- roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper- for seasoning
- Blueberries; optional for a well-rounded sweetness
- Garlic cloves minced for flavor
- Balsamic vinegar for the delicious vinaigrette
- Lemon juice freshly squeezed for bold citrus
- Extra virgin olive oil
How To Make Vegan Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Make the Vinaigrette: Combine the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Whisk in the olive oil until combined.
- Combine the Ingredients: In a large bowl, add the pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh vegan mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl.
- Mix in the Dressing: Toss in blueberries. Add the dressing and toss evenly to coat.
- Serve: Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge.
Tips for Prepping Ahead
If you plan to eat this pasta salad within 2 days, feel free to prepare it as directed. The basil will lose its color after a day but this paleo pasta salad will still be delicious as a healthy grab and go Caprese Pasta Salad for lunch.
- Cook the pasta ahead of time and store in a large reusable container in the refrigerator.
- Wash and chop the tomatoes in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Halve the mozzarella balls (or cut into bite-sized pieces) up to 3 days in advance and store separately in the fridge until ready to use.
- Chop the basil and store in a container with lid for up to 3 days. Wait until you’re ready to combine the salad and dressing before chopping the fresh basil to keep it from turning brown.
- Make the dressing in advance and store in a resealable jar in the refrigerator.
This easy pasta salad will last in the refrigerator for up to four days, and it is perfect for meal prep. Divide the cooked pasta into reusable airtight containers. This is our favorite lunch container. Here are a few of our other favorites for storing food:
- Glass meal prep containers – Divided containers with 2 compartments are great if you want to include a portion of salad plus a side of protein or fruit.
- Jars with lids – Mason jars are great for portioning out salads and they make your fridge look Pinterest-worthy. We love these reusable plastic jar lids for everything you can put in a jar. And for dressings and sauces, these flip-top lids are a must-have!
- Silicone bags – The great thing about silicone bags is that they can be re-used, are dishwasher-safe and don’t absorb odors. We LOVE stand-up bags from Stasher for their 56-ounce capacity and the fact that they stand up minimizing any risk of leakage.
More healthy salad recipes you will love:
This Caprese Pasta Salad recipe is quick and easy to make and a lightened up and healthy twist on the classic pot luck favorite. Made with fresh basil, grape tomatoes and vegan mozzarella with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free with grain-free paleo-friendly options.
- 2 cups dried gluten-free pasta , use any gluten-free or grain free pasta brand you like, but if you are paleo these from Jovial, or Almond Love for Keto or Cappello's grain-free pasta. If you are looking for a chickpea or lentil based pasta, you can use Banza pasta shells that are made with chickpeas.
- 1 pint fresh grape tomatoes halved
- 8 ounces fresh vegan mozzarella cheese , cut into bite-sized cubes; omit if avoiding all cheese (Whole30)
- 1 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup blueberries optional
- Lunchboxes for meal prep
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Whisk in the olive oil until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl. Toss in blueberries (optional).
- Add the dressing toss evenly to coat. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge.
- For meal prep: Divide the pasta into lunch containers. Store in the fridge for up to four days.
You can prep everything in advance and store it in the fridge. Just add the dressing the day that you plan on serving this.