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This Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad definitely should be on your pasta salad list this year! It’s Christmas time here in Australia, which means summer, and summer means salads. I had a friend ask me for pasta salad recipe recommendation for their Christmas table, so I just started rattling off a bunch of flavours I like to eat together and bam! My caprese pesto pasta salad recipe was born!
This salad has all the traditional caprese flavours, just in the form of a pasta salad. I know, pasta makes everything better, right? Plus an added bonus is that you can put this pesto salad together in not much more time than it takes to cook the pasta.
I have a bit of a weakness for caprese – well – anything really! I also have a bit of a love-affair happening with pearl mozzarella balls (bocconcini) so I was doomed from the start. If you are like me, and a bit partial to some mozzarella or caprese then you are going to love this salad!
Another great plus for this pesto salad is that it can be easily scaled up to feed a crowd at your next potluck or bbq (or Aussie Christmas!).
One thing I will say, if you make your own basil pesto for this pasta salad recipe you won’t regret it! It really does take this caprese pasta salad to the next level. You can find a basil pesto recipe here – but if you decide to go the store-bought route, don’t worry it’s still a great tasting salad!
Homemade pesto is a thing of beauty – fresh, vibrant and just sings with flavour from so few ingredients. Any leftover pesto I store in an airtight container in the fridge with a layer of oil floating on top to help it stay fresh.
The timing for this recipe is for store-bought pesto – but if you want to make your own basil pesto it seriously only takes 10 minutes in a food processor. Big bang for your buck in the time vs flavour stakes.
Other recipes that you make like
Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich – my take on grilled cheese, caprese style!
Bruschetta Pasta – a fast pasta dish featuring basil and tomatoes.
Baked Mozzarella Chicken Breast with Pesto – super quick chicken dinner in 35 minutes.
Pesto Lamb Cutlets – our favourite dinner here at home!
I hope you enjoy my caprese take on a pesto pasta salad, and if you are looking for me on Christmas day I will be the one in the kitchen eating the pearl mozzarella balls straight out of the container.
Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad
A salad with the traditional caprese tastes, but with an extra flavour hit from basil pesto & prosciutto.
- 250 g / 9 oz dried pasta I used penne
- 250 g / 9 oz cherry/mini tomatoes
- 200 g / 7 oz cherry/pearl bocconcini
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 6 thin slices prosciutto
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Cook pasta according to manufacturers instructions, in generously salted water
When pasta is cooked, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process
In a large bowl, place drained pasta and olive oil, mixing to combine well
While pasta is cooking, fry pine nuts in a small pan over low heat for 2-3 mins to toast lightly
Cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthways, and roughly tear each cherry bocconcini in thirds
Grill/broil prosciutto slices until crisp, drain on paper/kitchen towel then tear/chop roughly into bite-sized pieces
Add tomatoes, bocconcini, prosciutto, basil pesto, basil leaves, & pine nuts to pasta & stir well to combine
This is an easy salad to make ahead - just keep all your components separate in the fridge in airtight containers in until you want to serve it, and let the pasta come to room temperature before then combining everything to serve.
*Please note that the amount of calories per serve is provided as a guide only, as ingredients and cooking methods can vary greatly*