It’s early June and already too hot to turn on the oven. When I can’t deal with standing by the stove—and need to keep my eats light and cool—it’s time for dinners like this cold Caprese Pasta Salad.
I am a sucker for cold pasta salads, especially when it’s H-O-T out. Cold soba noodles tossed in a tangy soy dressing, chilled orzo with veggies and feta, and this take on the classic caprese salad are my favorites.
This couldn’t get easier for a lazy summer evening. Cook pasta, drain, and toss with tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, basil and—hear me out!— avocado. I know that avocado isn’t typically in caprese salad, but it gives a wonderful creaminess that makes this dish hearty without making it heavy. It also gives a great nutrition boost so that you don’t have to stress about making a side veggie! (I told you this is a lazy summer night’s meal!)
Though it takes a little extra effort and requires turning on the oven, I should tell you that this dish is even more delicious when you use roasted cherry tomatoes. Keep that in mind for when it cools down. Another great variation can be made using gluten-free pasta. I’ve tried it with great results.
This recipe for Caprese Pasta Salad makes about 4 servings.
Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
It’s early June and already too hot to turn on the oven. When I can’t deal with standing by the stove—and need to keep my eats light and cool—it’s time for dinners like…
- favorite cut pasta: 1 lb
- cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 pints roasted): 1 pint
- fresh, salted mozzarella, diced: 1 large ball
- chopped basil : ½ cup
- finely diced red onion : ¼ cup
- olive oil: 7 tablespoons
- balsamic vinegar: 3 tablespoons
- salt: to taste
- pepper: to taste
- avocado (peeled and chopped): 1
Step 1: Put a large pot of salted water on medium-high heat (about 6 quarts of water to 2 tablespoons salt). Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, rinsing under cold water, and put in a large serving bowl.
Step 2: Add tomatoes, cheese, basil and onion. Gently toss with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. (Depending on your pasta and whether or not you use juicier roasted tomatoes, you may need to add more oil and vinegar to taste.)
Step 3: Add avocado last. Gently fold the pasta salad a couple of more times to incorporate. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.