This fruity caprese pasta salad is a summery, fruity take on the Italian classic. Perfect make-ahead meal for summer weekdays, picnics, barbecue side dishes… and when you straight up don’t want to turn on your oven! ~ grapes, tomatoes, mozzarrella, fresh basil, whole wheat rotini, balsamic ~
Caprese. How in the good golly gracious do you even pronounce this word? I really like to think I know, but in truth, I’ve heard it pronounced in numerous ways by numerous people, all of whom think they’re pronouncing it correctly. While I’m not entirely sure who’s right, I honestly don’t care too much just because, well, I only have to type it here, and I know how to spell it ;). Plus, we both know all that really matters is the fact that caprese = mozzarrella + basil + tomatoes + balsamic, which = AMAZING.
^Side note: I know there’s probably a correct Italian way to pronounce it, but I can’t go around making everyone feel bad with a perfectly Italian pronunciation of ‘caprese’, now can I?
Sooo… you probably noticed I went ahead and made a little fruity twist on the classic version of caprese salad. I’d been thinking for a while about ways I could use the caprese salad flavor theme to create a new summery recipe, and after some inspiring party appetizers I tried at family get-togethers, I knew that grapes could change caprese salad up in a really good way. So I threw in some grapes. And some arugula. And pasta. And you guys, it just straight-up worked.
A Twist on the Classic Caprese… Fruity Caprese Pasta Salad
- Grapes. The addition of grapes adds a unique sweetness that just rocks with the balsamic and mozzarrella. I mean, the fruit + cheese combo is always a win in my book.
- Pasta. You probably also noticed the whole pasta situation, too, right? Basically that’s me trying to shake up the caprese salad status quo even more, because throwing in a few grapes is not a status quo shake. That’s more like…”Oh, I think the grapes from my fruit salad rolled into my caprese salad by mistake.” I liked rotini for the texture, but penne would work too. Remember to choose whole wheat! The nutritional benefits (more protein, fiber, and nutrients) are worth it, I promise promise promise. I actually tried a chickpea flour rotini, and it was quite tasty 🙂
- Arugula. Peppery arugula adds another flavor dimension that plays excellently with the other flavors, in my humble opinion ;). Plus, more texture variety. Oh, AND it gets your greens in for the day. Check.
- Optional(??): Lemon Basil. I could not find basil for the LIFE of me on the day I photographed this recipe, because every farmer’s market I went to was out. (Probably because I went towards the end when they were closing up… hehe). Finally one of the markets near my apartment had tons of basil to choose from, including Thai basil and lemon basil. I thought lemon basil would be delicious, and my suspicions were confirmed shortly thereafter. You should give it shot and enjoy the variety of summer herbs! Regular fresh basil will be just as good, though 😉
Make up a big batch of this fruity caprese pasta salad, and you’ve got yourself a perfect dish for picnics, barbecues, and all the summer celebrations. Plus, NOT turning on your oven?? Yes, please!
Fruity Caprese Pasta Salad
A twist on traditional caprese pasta salad with the addition of grapes, whole wheat pasta, and arugula. Perfect for summer picnics, barbecues, and making ahead for healthy lunches throughout the week!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4-6
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Combine
- 4 cups whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- 3 cups arugula
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh mozzarrella, cubed
- 1 cup fresh basil or lemon basil, sliced into ribbons
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
- In a mason jar, combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Shake until well combined.
- Top with freshly ground pepper. Serve chilled.
P.S. HAPPY FRIDAY!!!