Caprese Pasta Salad

We love garlic in our family, so I like this with five cloves, but feel free to add as much or as little as you’d like!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1/2 pound small shaped pasta, such as orecchiette, farfalle, or campanelle
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound (3 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, torn
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves, torn


1 Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, or until the pasta reaches al dente stage. If the pasta is too soft or overcooked, it will break apart when mixed with the other ingredients.

2 Make the sauce: In a large serving bowl, stir together the oil, minced garlic, pepper, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

3 Drain the pasta: When the pasta is done, drain it into a colander and tap it a few times to make sure you get most of the water off the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl with the olive oil. Stir to coat.

4 Bring it all together: While the pasta is cooling, slice the mozzarella in rounds, then tear those rounds into smaller pieces about the size of a nickel or a quarter, though they will range in shape and size. Don’t worry if the pasta isn’t completely cool. Just toss it a couple of times before you add the cheese. Add the torn cheese to the pasta. Slice the tomatoes in half, and tear the basil leaves, adding each as you go.

Caprese Salad with Pasta - knife and mozzarella on a cutting board How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad - torn basil on a cutting board

5 To Serve: Give everything a quick stir to coat it in the olive oil, and you’re done! Serve cold, warm, or at room temperature.