Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Last week, Justin informed me that his team at work was holding a pot luck for lunch one day. Naturally, it became my duty to whip up a dish for him to take along. For practical reasons, I knew that creating a dish to be served cold would make the most sense – the process of reheating something in the one shared microwave in the office kitchen didn’t sound like a good plan.

Tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad

So, a pasta salad it was! Now I will admit: I am NOT the biggest fan of most pasta salads, but this one is absolutely the exception to the rule for me. No mayonnaise is involved (yay!), and the other ingredients pack a lot of flavor. Plus, it was inspired by the wonderful Ina Garten. I spotted her recipe for Tomato Feta Pasta Salad and thought it sounded fabulous. So, I adapted it a bit to suit my tastes.

Tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad

It’s a great dish to serve up in the spring and summer months when you want something a bit cool. This recipe yields quite a bit, so be prepared to have leftovers if you aren’t serving a crowd. And don’t worry – leftovers for this recipe are awesome.

Tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad

I was also excited to whip this pasta salad up so I could make use of my fresh basil from the garden! We recently planted a few basil plants among our tomatoes and peppers, and finding uses for the leaves is always a perk! Basil is definitely one of my all time favorite herbs. Let’s all hope that my plants continue to thrive…

Tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad

And another fun little perk of this recipe? If you get sick of eating the leftovers cold, you can always pop a dish of the pasta salad in the microwave to create a hot dish! The vinaigrette turns into a seasoned olive oil sauce, and the mozzarella chunks melt deliciously between the noodles. How can you beat a recipe that can serve double duty? Love.

So tell me, are you a fan of pasta salad?

Tomato basil mozzarella pasta salad

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Inspired by/adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients

1 lb box fusili pasta (or other pasta)

3.8 oz can sliced black olives

1 lb mozzarella cheese, cubed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

6 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

Instructions

1. Boil fusili pasta in salted water to desired texture (I prefer al dente) – drain and allow noodles to cool.

2. When pasta is cooled, place noodles in a large bowl with the diced tomatoes, cubed mozzarella, black olives, and 1/4 cup of the chopped sundried tomatoes. Toss until combined.

3. To create the vinaigrette, combine the additional 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor/blender. Process the ingredients until smooth. This amount of vinaigrette will lightly coat the pasta salad (as pictured). If desired, increase the amount of vinaigrette to suit your taste.

4. Pour vinaigrette over pasta mixture, add chopped basil, and toss gently until combined.

5. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

 

Comments

  1. says

    I feel the same as you- definitely don’t like pasta salad with mayo, but I’m a fan if its just dressed in a vinaigrette. This one sounds delicious!

    • Katie says

      This was definitely a good option for the mayo “dislikers” out there! I can’t touch things that have mayo on them for the most part…potato salad, egg salad, pasta salad…haha!

    • Katie says

      I’m definitely trying to keep cooler dishes up on my radar now that it is warming up. If I can avoid using my stove/oven constantly during the hot months that is definitely a plus!

    • Katie says

      Thanks Renee! I like to think that it’s a relatively good choice to eat this pasta salad…it definitely doesn’t make me feel weighed down!

    • Katie says

      Me either! We have some tomatoes growing at the moment, and the basil is already producing. I really can’t wait for those tomatoes….

  2. says

    just letting you know I made this yesterday and it was delicious!!! it was a hit and nothing was leftover. thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Katie says

      I am so glad to hear that, Beth!!! It is definitely a great cool dish for the warm months. I need to make it again soon, as a matter of fact…

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