This Caprese Pasta Salad is so quick and easy to put together! Full of orzo pasta, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, tangy balsamic, and salty parmesan!
Welcome to the season of pasta salads.
Who else goes to BBQ’s and immediately heads to the “sides & desserts” table?
For me, while I do love me some grilled burgers (new recipe coming soon!!), I really love to load my plate with things like Mexican Pasta Salad, Guacamole, Broccoli Salad, One Bowl Brownies, and now, this Caprese Pasta Salad.
The only downfall to doing that?
Much of the time those pasta salads are LOADED with mayo and sugar and they’re probably not the healthiest thing out there for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to eat allthethings 😉 , but I AM pretty happy that today’s recipe is much much lighter and free of mayo and sugar.
This Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe, like many of my other recipes, started with an idea and a bowl. . . and then I just started throwing things in. . . and guess what?
Worked like a charm.
It started with a base of orzo. If you’ve never had orzo, you’re seriously missing out. It’s a short-cut pasta that kind of looks like rice, but I promise you, it’s pasta. It’s also kind of slippery, which sounds gross, but it’s SO good.
Now. This is a CAPRESE pasta salad, so tomatoes were next to get thrown into the bowl.
I used these multi-colored tomatoes, because I’m a sucker for pretty things, but feel free to use “regular” cherry or grape tomatoes.
Next up, we have mozzarella. Um aka the best part of caprese.
Today, we’re using, mozzarella pearls. I started by measuring up a cup, but then I said, YOLO, and dumped in the whole container. 🙂 #worthit
Then I added in l.o.a.d.s of fresh basil.
Now. That was my starting point.
From there, I decided this Caprese Pasta Salad needed some more color, so I added in a cup of a baby arugula/spinach mixture. It also needed more tomatoes, so I added in sun-dried tomatoes. Ugh I ♡ those. And of course, it needed MORE cheese, so I stirred in some freshly shaved parmesan. Is there anything better?
Hint: the answer is no. 😉
But THEN this pasta salad needed a sauce.
I quickly whisked together some oil from the sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, a touch of honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. I tried not to drink the whole thing before smothering the pasta salad in it.
After a quick toss, the Caprese Pasta Salad was done!
Trevor and I immediately dug in, which normally I don’t do before I photograph a recipe, but this recipe makes a TON so even after we stuffed our faces, there was more than enough for the photo shoot. . . and like 5 meals after. 😉
This Caprese Pasta Salad is quick and easy to put together and is full of amazing textures and flavors. Tender orzo pasta + soft mozzarella pearls + chewy sun dried tomatoes meet fresh basil, tangy balsamic, and salty parmesan.
You guys. This pasta salad is healthier, lighter, and fresher than most, I promise you don’t miss the mayo. 🙂
Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (16 oz) box orzo pasta uncooked
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (just measure out the tomatoes, not the oil at this point)
- 1/2 cup Fresh basil chopped or more to taste
- 1 cup baby arugula/spinach
- 1 (8 oz) container Mozzarella Pearls
- 1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan
- 1/4 cup oil from sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- Cook orzo according to package directions.
- Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
- To the pasta, add in tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, arugula/spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan.
- Stir together until well combined.
- Whisk together oil, balsamic, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Toss the sauce together with the pasta salad and season with more salt, to taste.
- Store, covered, in the fridge until ready to eat!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.