What is this like the 10th pasta salad recipe I’ve shared this summer?? You can never have to many pasta salad recipes! Especially when they are as good as this Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad! The classic Caprese combo – tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella + balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite summer flavor blends. All those fresh flavors together paired with that tangy slightly sweet balsamic vinegar or glaze just makes my heart sing. And so I decided why not mix those flavors into a pasta salad, and why not add avocado? Because when you add avocado to the Caprese combination things just get that much better!
I don’t know why I didn’t think to use the white balsamic vinegar I always have on hand here, it would have given it a nicer color but it tastes so delicious even if you use dark that no one will care. But in the future I’m going to try out the white balsamic vinegar. If you’d prefer not to make a homemade pesto (the 1 cup basil, parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil mixture) you can use a store-bought pesto (it just won’t be quite as good and the coloring is kind of blah to me). I would probably go with 1/4 cup plus a few tablespoons of olive oil (then don’t leave out the basil ribbons). And I know I find myself saying this way too often but what better to serve this with than grilled chicken?? A perfect summer meal!
Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad
- 10 oz. (2 3/4 cups) mini penne pasta shells
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (18g) slightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 Tbsp finely shredded parmesan, plus more for serving if desired
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts or chopped walnuts
- 1 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 small avocados, diced (they should be fairly firm but ripe)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, then more for serving to taste (use white balsamic vinegar for better coloring if desired)
Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to directions on package. Drain and let cool completely.
In a food processor pulse 1 cup basil leaves, parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic until minced. Pour in olive oil and process until everything is finely minced. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta and tomatoes to a salad bowl. Pour basil (pesto) mixture over pasta and tomatoes and toss to evenly coat. Add in avocados, mozzarella, basil (set some aside to garnish over top if desired), and pour in balsamic vinegar and toss just lightly. Serve immediately with more balsamic vinegar and parmesan if desired.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy