This light and lovely Caprese Pasta Salad with balsamic dressing is a real taste of Italy. It may only take 15 minutes to throw together but it is filled with wholesome ingredients, beautiful colors, and fresh summer flavors.

healthy Caprese Pasta Salad with balsamic, tortellini, and fresh basil.

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Pasta doesn’t have to mean dry, packaged noodles that you smother with jarred sauce (which had been my concept of pasta since childhood).

After a trip to Italy, my eyes were opened and I learned that pasta can also mean light, fresh, simple, and healthy (like this Pasta Primavera).

Looking to recreate some of the magic I experienced abroad, I took it upon myself to add extra veggies to a package of store-bought tortellini to make a healthy and colorful Caprese pasta salad.

This simple recipe takes just minutes to make and would fit in as a side dish as part of a summer cookout spread or served for a cozy date night at home with an Arugula Salad and glass of wine for a complete meal.

It’s light, wholesome, and feels more healthy than heavy.

A bowl of easy Caprese Tortellini Pasta Salad with balsamic and spinach.

5 Star Review

“I just made this and it’s a keeper! I love how light and clean it feels to eat even though it’s a pasta dish. Perfect for a summer lunch”

— Siobhan —

How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad

Easy storebought fresh tortellini pasta (also used in this Crockpot Tortellini Soup) lightly dressed in a zippy balsamic dressing with a simple blend of fresh ingredients, transforms this Caprese pasta salad into a complete, delicious meal.


The Ingredients

  • Cheese Tortellini. A package of my favorite store-bought cheese tortellini makes this recipe fast and fresh.
  • Tomatoes. Like my favorite Chicken Pasta Salad, stud this easy Caprese pasta recipe with bright red jewels of sweetness loaded with antioxidants such as lycopene. (For a Caprese-style pizza, try this Burrata Pizza.)
  • Mozzarella Pearls. For creaminess and cheesy goodness.
  • Basil. Lends the pasta salad that classic Italian flavor. (Also a necessity for this Caprese Chicken Pasta.)
  • Spinach. My addition that adds vitamin K, fiber, phosphorus, and thiamine to this simple Caprese pasta salad.
  • Balsamic Dressing. Instead of a heavy sauce, I tossed the ingredients with a simple homemade tangy balsamic vinaigrette. (If you love balsamic, you’ll also love this easy Crockpot Italian Chicken.)
Quick and easy Tomato Mozzarella Basil Pasta Salad with tortellini.

The Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Drain, rinse with cool water, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  4. Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  5. Toss the dressing with the pasta and serve. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
A colorful fresh Caprese Pasta Salad recipe with balsamic and tortellini.

With a combination of timeless ingredients and an ultra-easy preparation, this is one pasta dish that will become a fast family favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Homemade Cheese Tortellini?

Yes, but only if you’re inviting me over! If you’re a pasta pro and are lucky enough to have fresh homemade cheese tortellini at your disposal then definitely feel free to use them in this recipe.

Can I Freeze Caprese Pasta Salad?

No. I’m afraid this is one recipe that simply will not freeze well. After thawing the vegetables would lose their color and texture and I fear the pasta would become mushy.

What Goes With Caprese Pasta Salad?

I love to enjoy this recipe as a quick vegetarian dinner or lunch. If you’d prefer to serve it as a side dish, I would serve Caprese pasta salad with Grilled Chicken Breast, or my favorite Balsamic Glazed Salmon.

Caprese Pasta Salad with balsamic, tortellini, and fresh basil. The perfect combination of flavors. A fresh and healthy cold pasta salad that’s great for summer appetizers, sides, and light dinners. Easy recipe that’s ready in 15 minutes! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Caprese Pasta Salad

5 from 5 votes
A quick and easy Caprese pasta salad recipe with cheese tortellini, tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and homemade balsamic dressing. Healthy!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Total: 15 mins

Servings: 4 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

Ingredients
  

PASTA SALAD:

  • 1 bag fresh cheese tortellini (10 ounces)
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 ounces part-skim mozzarella pearls
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips

BALSAMIC DRESSING:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 3 minutes, until just al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water. Shake off as much excess water as possible, then transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.
  • Add the baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  • To make the dressing, in a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
  • Toss the dressing with the pasta and serve.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4), about 1 1/2 cups eachCalories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 18gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 49mgPotassium: 199mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1860IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 267mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This was so good and healthy! I was not sure about the spinach but it does add to the flavor. I used my homemade balsamic vinegarette dressing, leaving out the honey. The Rana tortellini was perfect. It didn’t fall apart when cooking and did not get “mushy” like so many do.5 stars

    1. Cindy, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the salad! I could probably eat it once a week too. Thank you so much for giving it a try and reporting back!

  2. I loved this recipe! I unfortunately made the mistake of adding all the dressing to my salad and it made it too wet! People don’t be shy of the spinach it goes so well with this dish! I doubled my serving!5 stars

  3. I just made this and it’s a keeper! I love how light and clean it feels to eat even though it’s a pasta dish. Perfect for a summer lunch when tomatoes are abundant, but like another commented, I could eat it on a regular basis all year long! I was heavy-handed on the spinach and basil and used white balsamic vinegar to keep the veggie colors bright.
    I do also see how this would make a great potluck dish – if I decide to share any of it! ;)5 stars

    1. Siobhan, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this dish. Thank you for sharing your tweaks—they sound absolutely delicious! :)

  4. I just made the salad, and it is quite tasty! Mine looks darker than yours, so I think next time I might try the white balsamic vinegar.

    You’re not kidding, it is simple and quick! I made it amidst trying to check in for a flight, answering a call from my husband, and a few more things! Thanks, Erin!5 stars