Pasta Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Tomatoes

Summer dinner pasta saladThis is a favorite family summer recipe. My kids love this meal and each of them have asked for it as their birthday dinner in the past. The problem with this special birthday request is that both of my kids have winter birthdays, which means this meal is not in season. This meal is really best in summer when the tomatoes are freshly picked and go from vine to cutting board to salad in very little time. Same with the basil. There’s nothing better than fresh basil in the summer, is there?

Summer dinner pasta salad from the garden

Pasta Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Tomatoes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Perfect for an easy summer dinner and best with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden. Make enough to have for lunch the next day, too.
Ingredients
Salad
  • 12-16 ounce (about 1 pound) whole wheat rotelle pasta
  • 12-16 ounce (about 1 pound) fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 8-12 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups tomatoes, diced
Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed with 1 teaspoon salt (use a mortar and pestle)
  • ¾ cup olive oil (see note below)
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and cool.
  2. Place pasta in large bowl.
  3. Chop tomatoes and basil and add to cooled pasta in bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and whisk until completely mixed together.
  5. Pour dressing over pasta, basil and tomatoes. Toss in chopped mozzarella.
  6. Mix and enjoy.
Notes
Add marinated cheese oil and spices from the cheese container into your bowl for making the dressing. Then, add only enough olive oil to total ¾ cup. This way, you’re using the oil the cheese was packaged in and you’re not wasting the good spices.

Pasta salad that's easy and fresh

Notes:

  • I like the rotelle pasta noodle with this recipe. It really holds the basil and dressing in place. My pasta is from WinCo’s bulk section (scoop it out yourself and mark the tag) and is 100% whole wheat. I love WinCo’s bulk section and the price per pound on this? $1.09/pound. Healthy and inexpensive but you’ll have to bag the groceries yourself.
  • If you’re using fresh mozzarella that is marinated (like mine pictured below) drain the oil and spices from the cheese container into your bowl for making the dressing. Then, add only enough olive oil to total 3/4 cup. This way, you’re using the oil the cheese was packaged in and you’re not wasting the good spices.

Fresh Mozzarella

  • Many manufacturers are making whole wheat or whole grain pasta but it comes in 12 ounce or 13 ounce packages instead of 16 ounce or 1 pound packages. I’ve been tricked by this – buying 13 ounces when I thought it was 16 ounces! – So use what you have and if making a pound, toss in more veggies and make a little more dressing if you need to.

I also like this meal served on the front porch with a glass of wine!

Pasta salad with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes
Our front porch is where we eat lots of summer dinners!

What’s your favorite summer dinner?

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

2 Comments


    1. Rita, agreed! That’s when this pasta was made – in the morning. It’s been too hot for cooking inside around dinner time. Costco carries a 4-pound bag of quinoa that is the best deal around, if you have a Costco membership. The quinoa company is TruRoots and when Costco has it, I always get a bag. Stay cool!!

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