This chicken caprese pasta salad with pesto dressing is bursting with fresh summer flavors. It’s ready to go in just 25 minutes!
The Most Flavorful Pasta Salad
Summer is almost over guys! That means it’s time to use up all of those goodies from the garden, like cherry tomatoes and basil. This pasta salad (literally) is the perfect dish for them. Lots of greens, cheese, carbs and SO MUCH FLAVOR >>> all thanks to the balsamic chicken and pesto “dressing.”
If you didn’t do a garden this year, don’t worry, we didn’t either. You can grab some basil and tomatoes at the store along with the rest of the ingredients.
Why is it called chicken caprese? A caprese salad is a salad that is made up of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. So this recipe includes chicken and pasta, hence the title, “Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad”.
How to Make Caprese Pasta Salad
PASTA. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Note: The shape is up to you, but it would be best to use a short type of pasta such as penne or fusilli. These will be easiest to get on your fork when eating your pasta salad.
OTHER INGREDIENTS. Coat chicken with seasoning and brown in hot pan. Chop the tomatoes.
DRESSING. Blend up some pesto. Note: You can use fresh homemade pesto OR use about ½ cup of the store-bought kind (You may need to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to loosen it up so it’s more like a dressing).
COMBINE. Toss everything together in the same pot that you cooked the pasta in
SERVE. Transfer it to a clean serving bowl if you’re taking this to a party or serving it for a special occasion, but we’re pretty low-key around here and we serve it right out of the pot. Garnish it with a sprinkle of julienned basil and parmesan cheese.
Dig in! Our family always goes crazy for anything involving pesto, so of course this was a big hit. It’s a dish we’ll be making over & over again until summer is officially over.
Seasonings for chicken? You can season your chicken however you would like. Since this is an Italian style recipe it would be a good idea to season your chicken with an Italian blend of spices like basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, and garlic.
How to make this healthier? You can use whole wheat pastas or chickpea based pastas. This will give you a better version of the grains in this recipe. Other than that, you could replace the pesto for a dressing that is low in calories.
Storing? Keep this in the fridge in an airtight container for about 2-4 days. The greens/lettuce will start to go bad after that and end up mushy. We recommend putting together the salad for how many people you are serving. This means that you shouldn’t put everything together if you only need 1 serving. In this case, we recommend storing everything separately and tossing together enough ingredients for the number of servings you need right away. This will help the ingredients keep longer.
For more recipes with pesto, check out:
- Kale Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta
- Chicken Pesto Meatballs
- Toasted Tortellini with Pesto
- Fresh Basil Pesto
Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe
- 12 oz pasta - preferably a shorter kind
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes - halved
- 1 cup mozzarella balls - marinated or plain
- 3 cup mixed greens
- 1 batch pesto
- fresh basil leaves
- parmesan cheese
- Place a large stockpot filled 2/3 of the way with water over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package's directions.
- Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Place the chicken in a dish or plastic bag and coat the chicken with the vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Transfer to the hot pan and cook on both sides until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Transfer to cutting board and allow to rest.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.
- Cut the warm chicken into slices and toss with the pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and mixed greens. Toss with the pesto and serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with julienned basil and grated parmesan, if desired.