Cherry caprese pasta salad is loaded with juicy cherries, rich mozzarella, and tossed in an herby basil vinaigrette. – fast to make and a hit side dish at any cookout!
How’s your summer salad game looking so far? I’m about to dramatically increase those numbers today.
Real talk: not a whole lot beats a caprese salad. Unless juicy fresh cherries, pasta, and a glorious green basil vinaigrette somehow find their way into the bowl.
All bets are off then on whether or not someone will be eating this salad straight from the bowl.
Cherry season is HOT right now which means we obviously need to put them in everything. Salads are at the top of that list cause these little gems improve ANY salad by leaps and bounds.
Just you wait. This glorious salad is going to be a regular weekly occurrence in your house pretty soon.
This Cherry Caprese Pasta Salad features…
- Sweet black cherries
- Rich, creamy fresh mozzarella balls
- Juicy cherry tomatoes
- Your favorite pasta shape
- Peppery arugula and flavorful basil
- A homemade perfectly herby basil vinaigrette
Making the Cherry Caprese Salad
(scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
Choosing Pasta Shape
Any short pasta shape will work great in this salad! A few of our favorite shapes include…
- Small shells
- Farfalle (bowties)
- Sub another fruit for cherries – fresh sliced peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries would be delightful additions.
- Try another cheese – grated Parmesan, cubed gouda, cubed brie, feta, or goat cheese would all work amazing in this salad.
- Add different greens – we love the pepperiness of arugula, but a few handfuls of spring mix or baby spinach would also be delicious additions.
- Try another dressing – a few of our other favorites include balsamic vinaigrette, (from this salad!) and Italian dressing.
Tips for Perfect Pasta Salad
- Cook pasta to al dente – be careful not to overcook your pasta, otherwise it will turn mushy in the salad!
- Rinse pasta to prevent sticking – nothing’s worse than huge clumps of pasta hopelessly stuck together. Rinse the pasta well under cold water just after cooking to prevent sticking.
- Cool pasta, then combine with other salad base ingredients – halved black cherries + tomatoes, mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and baby arugula.
- Make the dressing in blender or food processor – either appliance will work, just make sure you blend the dressing until completely smooth.
- Toss salad in dressing only just before serving – this helps the greens in the salad stay fresh and crisp.
Make Ahead Instructions
- Build the salad and store in fridge for up to 4 days.
- Make the vinaigrette and store separately from salad in fridge for up to 4 days.
- When ready to serve, toss salad in dressing and serve immediately.
Honestly, you’re gong to adore this salad! It’s just brimming with incredible summer flavors in every bite, plus it looks like an absolute gem on any cookout table.
Leftovers make a bomb lunch the next day, but seriously? Don’t count on ’em.
More delicious summer salads to add to your salad lineup!
- Balsamic Bleu Cheese Grilled Steak Strawberry Salad
- Green Goddess Chicken Salad
- Tuscan Tortellini Salad
Cherry Caprese Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
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Cherry Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 lb gemelli pasta (or your favorite short-cut shape)
- 2 cups fresh black cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella balls (or diced fresh mozzarella)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups firmly-packed baby arugula
- 1 cup firmly-packed basil leaves
- 1 medium clove peeled garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (apple cider or white also work!)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cherry Caprese Pasta Salad
- Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente or your preferred doneness. Rinse pasta well and allow to cool.
- In a large serving bowl, combine cooled pasta, black cherries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and arugula. Chill salad in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- In a food processor or blender, combine basil, garlic, honey, and vinegar. Blend vinaigrette while drizzling olive oil through top until vinaigrette is smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- When ready to serve, drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste as needed and serve immediately. Enjoy!