This 20-Minute Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad is fresh, fast, and so flavorful! The perfect quick and easy Summer Pasta Salad recipe. Make it for your next party, picnic, or BBQ!
Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad
Can I tell you a little secret? If this wasn’t a baking blog, it would surely have one of the following names:
But I think you get my point. Pasta is my passion! So if you’re a fellow pasta fanatic, today’s post is dedicated to you ♥
Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
- Farfalle pasta: I have a strong preference towards farfalle, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it! Feel free to use penne, elbow noodles, or fusilli instead. Rigatoni could work in a pinch, but I find noodles with crevices shine best in pasta salad. They catch all that yummy dressing!!!
- Cherry tomatoes: Tomatoes fresh from the garden are ideal! But any variety could work here. I’ve even used sun-dried tomatoes!
- Red onion: Thinly sliced, this gives the salad a nice kick.
- Marinated mozzarella balls: You can use unmarinated if need be. If you love cheese, add a little grated Parmesan cheese to the salad, too.
- Fresh basil leaves
- Garlic: Be sure to use FRESH garlic! And not just garlic powder.
- Olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Granulated sugar
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Cold Pasta Salad
- Make the dressing! Place the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth. There should be no large chunks of anything! Set aside or in the fridge until needed.
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. But make sure you pull it off when it’s still al dente.
- In the meantime, prep the remaining ingredients. You’ll want to slice the cherry tomatoes in half; thinly slice the basil and thinly slice the red onion. Set these ingredients to the side.
- Remove the mozzarella cheese balls from the oil and set them aside, too.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and rinse under cold water until cool, about 1 minute.
- Place pasta in a large mixing bowl. Then add the dressing to pasta and toss. Next add the tomatoe mixture and mozzarella balls. Toss well to combine.
- Serve at room temperature, or chill until needed.
Can cold pasta salad be made ahead of time?
Yes, this recipe can be made in advance! In fact, I think it tastes best after 24 hours in the fridge. It allows the flavors to mingle and develop. Plus, who doesn’t love a big bowl cold tomato basil pasta salad waiting for them in their fridge?! If you’re going to make this pasta salad in advance, just be sure to cook your pasta al dente. Overcooked noodles will quickly get mushy in this salad, and that would be a shame! I find 7 to 8 minutes at a full boil is usually perfect – but this will vary depending on the variety and brand of pasta you choose.
While we’re on the subject of the dressing, you can make that ahead of time, too! Just be sure to cover it well and store it in the fridge.
How long does pasta salad last?
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Sometimes I make a batch at the beginning of the week so I can enjoy a bowl everyday for
I like keeping this 20-Minute Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad very simple and vegetarian friendly! But feel free to bulk it up by adding grilled chicken or shrimp. Or add more veggies like broccoli, arugula, or avocado. It’s very adaptable! Made as is, this pasta salad is perfect for picnics, BBQ’s, and other outdoor Summer events. Just stir it every so often to keep it looking fresh.
This is basically SUMMER in pasta salad form… I hope you make it and enjoy it!
For more Pasta Salad Recipes:
- 20-Minute Greek Pasta Salad
- 20-Minute BLT Easy Pasta Salad
- 15-Minute Italian Pasta Salad
- 20-Minute Rainbow Veggie Pasta Salad
- Vegan Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
If you try this recipe for Cherry Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your creations makes my day ♥
20-Minute Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
For the Basil Dressing:
- 2 ounces fresh basil (1 really big handful!)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional, but it adds a nice sweetness)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
For the Pasta Salad:
- 1 pound farfalle pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- (1) 12 ounce container marinated mozzarella balls, removed from oil
- 2 ounces fresh basil, thinly sliced (1 really big handful)
For the Basil Dressing:
- In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar (if using), salt, and pepper. Pulse on high for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until smooth. There should be no large chunks of anything! If there is, continue blending. Set aside until needed.
For the Pasta Salad:
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat; bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prepare the vegetables. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half; thinly slice the basil and thinly slice the red onion; set aside until needed. Remove the mozzarella balls from the oil and set aside.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it at once and quickly rinse it under cold water until cool, about 1 minute. Place cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing to pasta, then add the tomatoes, basil, onion, and mozzarella balls. Toss to combine.
- Serve at once, or chill until needed.