This Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad features ripe summer tomatoes, whole wheat pasta and fresh mozzarella, all tossed in a homemade pesto sauce. It’s perfect as a summer side dish or light meal!
Heyo! Last week was pretty exciting– I got my hubby back after he’d been gone for a month-long training out in the middle of the ocean.
And I got to go to work with him for the day on an aircraft carrier (the one he’d been on for the last month). It was pretty cool to get to see his home away from home. One thing I’ll say, I could never do it. Trust me, this was no Royal Caribbean. Although I have to say, his “state room” (aka bedroom) was bigger than I was expecting. Though there were 6 guys sharing it, size-wise it wasn’t any more cramped than a college dorm room.
We had a really long (14 hour) day out at sea, and by the end of the day I could almost find my way around some of the boat. Almost. We definitely got lost a lot. The best part of the day was getting to see the jets getting launched off the boat and then coming back and landing. We were super up close and personal. Maybe 100 yards? Less even? I tried to take videos, but I kept getting too scared (those things are LOUD). Hehe, I’m kind of a wimp.
Anyways, I’m glad to have my hubby back because now I can start cooking up a storm for him. I hardly ever cook when he’s gone! I hate to admit it, but my meals usually consist of egg sandwiches, cheese & crackers, or cereal when Nick isn’t home. Cooking for one is lame!
When Nick’s gone, I need to find extra reasons to cook. Like inviting all the ladies over for girls’ night! Which is exactly what I did when I made this delicious Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad. I had bushels and bushels of basil (I still do), so more pesto was in order. Caprese salad sounded delish, and to make it into more of a meal I decided to toss it all with some pasta.
The pasta salad was a huge hit, and definitely something I’ll have to make again for the hubs. It’s perfect for a summer potluck, a light meal, or as a side to some grilled meats!
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic glove
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 (16 oz) package whole wheat bow tie pasta, cooked to al dente according to package directions and cooled
- 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
- 2 (8 oz) balls fresh mozzarella, cubed
- Place basil, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil in a food processor. Blend to combine.
- With the food processor running, stream in additional olive oil, until pesto is smooth. Season with salt & pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss together pesto, pasta, tomatoes and mozzarella until evenly coated.
Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says
I am a big fan of caprese and of pesto! They work so well together!
[email protected] says
Jess I love pesto based pasta salads and I on the other hand can’t find good basil!! It’s like $4 for a tiny bunch here! Next year I have all the plans to grow basil! This looks so delicious!
Yes, definitely grow your own! It’s pretty easy to grow and SO much cheaper!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
Oh man you just combined two of my favorites, Jess! I can’t get enough of caprese or pesto! This sounds SO good! I think I would devour this for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I know, right!? Such great summer flavors!! Thanks, Gayle!
Kathy @ Olives & Garlic says
This might be the best way I can get my 7 year old to try pesto. Pasta and mozz cheese are her favorite.
Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood says
This is essentially my idea of heaven in a bowl. I love pesto, and anything caprese!
Thanks, Morgan!! It was pretty darn yummy!
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
That is so cool! Definitely more exciting than visiting my hubs at work! Lol. I love pesto — such a great summer salad!
[email protected] says
How awesome to get to spend a day on your husband’s aircraft carrier! Those things are huge!
I love any and all forms of pasta salad. The pesto on this one looks incredible!
Cooking for one is not fun, I literally don’t cook dinner when Josh is gone! Glad to hear that he’s back home though. This pasta salad looks so fantastic, I love the caprese twist too! Such a perfect summer meal.
Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says
So cool that you got to spend the day out on your husband’s aircraft carrier and see where his home away from home is. Love this pasta salad you made! It looks fantastic and the caprese twist is perfect for summer!
Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven says
This pasta salad is seriously SO gorgeous, Jess! You totally won my heart with all that pesto + caprese goodness! This is going on the dinner menu for sure!
Thanks, Sarah! I’ll definitely be making this one again– so good!
Valentina | The Baking Fairy says
Oh, yum! I recently made caprese pasta salad too, but the addition of pesto is total genius. I bet it adds so much delicious flavor!
Yep! It was pretty amazing! You’ll have to try!! Such great summer flavor. 🙂