Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto is a refreshing and cool side dish that celebrates all the wonderful flavors of summer. Fresh tomatoes and basil are paired with creamy mozzarella cheese for a tasty bow tie pasta salad that everyone will love.
Why I love this Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is the perfect dish for all my barbecues. It's super easy to make and everyone loves it. This side dish is made in advance and ready to serve when you need it. The recipe makes a lot but the leftovers are excellent. It also works as a vegetarian entree for anyone that prefers none of the grilled hot dogs and hamburgers that I sometimes make with it.
- Pasta - I love a hearty farfalle (bow tie) pasta for this salad.
- Jarred or prepared pesto - While homemade is great, the grocery store has plenty of jarred brands that are perfect for quick cooking.
- Tomatoes- I love grape tomatoes as they never get soggy or wilted.
- Mozzarella Cheese - The creaminess of fresh mozzarella is my preference but use your favorite.
- Olive oil - a good extra virgin one works is light and works well.
- Vinegar - I typically use cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh basil - optional but I love using it especially for freshness and a garnish
What is Farfalle Pasta?
Farfalle is the Italian word for butterflies. Farfalle pasta salad is often made with this butterfly or bow-tie shape. This pasta originated in northern Italy and is often covered with sauce. Since it's a hearty pasta, it is also often used in salads because it holds up well with other ingredients. Farfalle comes in large and small sizes so you can choose which size works best for you.
Tips for making Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- Cook pasta ala dente as you don't want a mushy pasta salad.
- Pasta salad can be made ahead but I like to add the tomatoes and fresh basil right before serving.
- If the pesto pasta salad is made in advance, freshen it up with a drizzle of oil and vinegar.
- This pasta recipe is great the next day! Make sure to store in an air tight container.
More Pasta with Pesto Recipes
- Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Peas
- Pesto Tortellini Skewers
- Chicken Pesto Gnocchi Recipe
- Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Pesto from Healthy Taste of Life
Main Courses to Serve with this Caprese Pasta Salad
- Grilled Flat Iron Steak
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Chicken Cutlets with Broccoli Rabe & Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Juicy Grilled Pork Chops
Farfalle pasta salad is a wonderful side dish but you can also pair it with a d a glass of wine and some fruit for a full meal that's perfect for summer.
If you like this bow tie pasta salad, please leave a 5-star rating.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
- 16 oz. box of bow tie pasta
- 4 oz pesto sauce ½ of a jar
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 12 oz mozzarella cheese cubed into 1 inch pieces
- a splash of olive oil
- a splash of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste fresh basil for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water.
- Rinse with cool water in a colander when cooked.
- Mix in pesto sauce, grape tomatoes and cheese.
- Add a splash of oil and vinegar so that the pasta salad is moist.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix together well and chill for two hours before serving.
- Makes 6 main course servings but serves up to 12 as a side dish.
First Published May 2011 ; Updated July 2021