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 pearls or cubes. Tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this pasta salad recipe is super delicious and is great for lunch or dinner. This pasta salad is naturally vegetarian and quick to make with a grain-free paleo-friendly option.
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Updated August 2020
Caprese Pasta Salad
This caprese pasta salad is super easy to make and just filled with amazing flavors. Perfect for stay-at-home potlucks, cook-outs, and other fun backyard activities, this salad consists of fresh summer ingredients that are just too difficult to give up. If you like this summer recipe, then you will love our Berry Avocado Spinach Salad or Chicken Cobb Pasta Salad.
Loaded with tomatoes, fresh vegan mozzarella, and fresh basil, this easy salad is tossed with a delicious vinaigrette that is both light and silky. The best thing about this recipe is that it can be made with our favorite gluten or grain free pasta.
Ingredients Needed For This Pasta Caprese Salad
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
Reasons 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.
How To Make Caprese Pasta Salad
- COOK THE GLUTEN-FREE 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 INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, add the pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh vegan mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl.
- MIX IN VINAIGRETTE: 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 The Best Caprese Pasta
- Cook the pasta ahead of time and store in reusable bag or storage container in the refrigerator
- Wash and slice the tomatoes in advance and store in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.
- Make the dressing in advance and store in an resealable jar.
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.
However, if you’re just looking to do a little work up front to make assembly nearly effortless later in the week, then here are a few of our suggestions for doing so.
- Make the pasta up to 2 days in advance. Toss with a bit of olive oil before storing in the fridge until ready to use
- Prep the tomatoes up to 3 days in advance and store in a covered container in the fridge.
- 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.
- Prepare the homemade Balsamic dressing and store for up to 1 week in the fridge in a jar with a lid.
- 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.
How to Store this Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
This pasta salad will last in the refrigerator for up to four days, and it is perfect for meal prep.
Just divide the pasta into reusable airtight containers, and lunch for the week is set. This is my 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.
Other Salad Recipes You’ll Love
This easy gluten-free caprese pasta salad is made with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes that are mixed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This pasta salad recipe is the perfect summer recipe that is vegetarian with a grain-free option.
- 2 cups dried gluten-free pasta , sub with favorite grain free pasta (we like Jovial or Cappello's for paleo or you can use Eat Banza for a legume pasta and Almond Love for Keto)
- 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.