Tomato and Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad
Tomato and Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad – Tender pasta, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella are coated in Parmesan cheese and DELICIOUS pesto sauce!! EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and great for easy meals with planned leftovers or for parties because it feeds a crowd!!
How To Make Tomato and Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad
This easy pasta salad is ready in 15 minutes and it’s great comfort food. Pasta equals comfort.
But it also has a summery feel from the fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. The best of both worlds.
Simply boil and cook the pasta, add in cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, toss with pesto sauce, add Parmesan cheese, and serve.
So fast and easy.
Homemade Vs. Prepared Pesto
There’s nothing better than homemade pesto because you just cannot beat the aroma and flavor of fresh basil, and it only takes five minutes to make.
And in a recipe like this where pesto plays a key role, that’s another reason to make your own.
But if you don’t want to, you can use store bought prepared pesto. No shame. I recently tried Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale Cashew Pesto and was very impressed.
Just note that prepared pesto tends to be pretty salty, like almost all prepared condiments, salsas, mustards, etc. which are loaded with sodium. You likely won’t need to add any extra salt to this dish whatsoever, especially since parmesan cheese is salty, too.
With both the pesto and the parmesan, add to taste. I provided the measurements I used in the recipe, but you can always go lighter-handed at first, and add either more pesto, more parmesan, or both, to taste.
A Mix-And-Match Pasta Salad
I used bowtie pasta but rotini, ziti, or your favorite small pasta shapes may be substituted.
I used multi-colored cherry tomatoes and truthfully they don’t taste very different from each other, but they look really pretty in a dish like this. If all you can find are red cherry or grape tomatoes, they will be fine.
Feel free to get creative and add in vegetables like zucchini, carrots, or spinach.
Want to incorporate extra protein and take this out of the vegetarian realm? Try adding in some chicken or even ribbons of prosciutto. This is a very easily adaptable pasta salad.
Feeds A Crowd – Potlucks, Picnics, Parties, Planned Leftovers
This pasta salad makes a ton and can feed a crowd. I like to think of the four P’s: potlucks, picnics, parties, and planned leftovers.
Since there’s no mayo, it’s great for potlucks, picnics, and parties.
The leftovers keep very well and if you’re looking for easy lunches or no-brainer dinners for the week, this is perfect. If you don’t need as much, you can always halve the recipe.
You can serve it warm and fresh right away or chill it and serve it later.
Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad – Homemade pesto coats every bite of JUICY chicken, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in this fun twist on caprese salad!! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with rich basil flavor!!
- Chicken Orzo Salad – Juicy chicken tossed with orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and a super flavorful lemon vinaigrette! Easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and a perfect way to use your garden fresh veggies!
- Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, feeds a crowd, and is on the SKINNY side!! Juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and the pasta are tossed in a light and tangy homemade Italian lemon vinaigrette!
- BLT Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and PERFECT for potlucks and parties!! Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and BACON! Guaranteed family FAVORITE!!
- Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy! Bursting with fresh flavors from juicy tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parmesan, and tender chicken tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette!!
- 12 ounces bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
- 1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (use multi-colored tomatoes if you can find them)
- 8 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese balls (ciliegine), drained
- 8 ounces prepared or homemade pesto, or to taste
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- fresh basil leaves, optional for garnishing
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Note - If you don't want the mozzarella in step two to melt at all and want it to remain intact in balls, wait about 10 minutes for the pasta to cool a bit before proceeding.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto, and stir to combine and coat evenly.
- Add the Parmesan, pepper, and stir to combine and coat evenly. Taste and if desired, add salt but I did not find it necessary.
- Optionally garnish with basil and serve immediately if desired or chill before serving. Pasta salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad – Homemade pesto coats every bite of JUICY chicken, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in this fun twist on caprese salad!! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with rich basil flavor!!
Pesto Parmesan Chicken and Pasta – EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and every piece of tender chicken and pasta is coated in fresh pesto sauce and parmesan cheese!! Great for easy weeknight dinners, planned leftovers, or for parties because it feeds a crowd!!
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and showcases some of my favorite summer ingredients. It’s perfect for summer potlucks and BBQs, or as a no-fuss family dinner!
BLT Pasta Salad — EASY, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and PERFECT for potlucks and parties. Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and BACON. Guaranteed family FAVORITE!
Club Sandwich Pasta Salad – All your favorite club sandwich ingredients in an EASY pasta salad!! Turkey, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese with ranch! Ready in 15 minutes and perfect for potlucks, picnics, and parties!!
Asiago Chicken and Pasta – EASY comfort food to feed a crowd that’s ready in 25 minutes!! Tender chicken and penne pasta with red peppers, green beans, and everything is coated with Asiago CHEESE for the family dinner win!!
Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, and packed with Asian-inspired flavors!! Juicy sesame chicken, pasta, and lots of healthy vegetables! PERFECT for potlucks, picnics, parties, and planned leftovers!!
Chicken Orzo Salad – Juicy chicken tossed with orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and a super flavorful lemon vinaigrette! Easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and a perfect way to use your garden fresh veggies!
Balsamic Chicken Caprese Salad – Juicy chicken coated in balsamic along with plump tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and basil! Easy, healthy, ready in 15 minutes! The caprese salad you’ll make again and again!
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Quinoa Salad – (GF) – Trying to keep meals healthier and lighter? Make this easy, refreshing, and satisfying salad!
Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, feeds a crowd, and is on the SKINNY side!! Juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and the pasta are tossed in a light and tangy homemade Italian lemon vinaigrette!!