My new go to pasta salad is this Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad, loaded with fresh from the garden flavors! I just love the idea of a healthier, lighter pasta salad. Perfect for potlucks, holidays, or when you just need to make a lot to feed a crowd.
This is a quick, flavorful side dish and it won’t break the bank. There is no way that I am spending $28.99 for a pound of pine nuts! Even though I know I can buy just 1/4 cup, I don’t care! Still too pricey for my frugal self, especially when there are other options. Well I guess if you can afford them, “Hello from the other side!”
This is seriously so good that it could easily be turned into a main dish. Just toss in some leftover rotisserie chicken or shrimp. Plus this pesto is so versatile you could use it to top your burgers, or top off a Spaghetti Squash, or how about a Pesto Pizza?!
So many ideas, I better put these in my idea notebook for future recipes. Don’t forget to follow along, so you don’t miss out! Did you know you can get a notification on your phone now as soon something is published?
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While I had these ingredients available I also made this easy Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad for a side on Friday to go with Lemon Thyme Salmon. Since I still had a few cherry tomatoes left I made a Pico De Gallo to top off our Creamy Mexican Shrimp Pasta, which was so good I can’t wait to make that again. Smart shopping at it’s finest.
I’m getting excited to get my tomatoes and basil started this year in the garden, young basil works best for this, but since it’s just the first day of spring and our weather can’t seem to get past the 40’s right now, I’ll have to wait a few more weeks to get my plants outside.
If you’ve never tried growing basil, you wouldn’t believe how much you can get off one plant. They grow really fast and are not hard at all. Cherry tomatoes too, you get tons even if it’s just planted in a container.
They don’t care as long as they get plenty of water and good drainage they will reward you with lots and lots of fresh juicy tomatoes and basil. So you can make tons of yummy pesto!
Now for the mozzarella, they do sell little pearls, but it only takes a minute to pinch a little off a larger ball. The one’s that they have at Aldi are priced reasonable. Just pinch off a small bit, and just roll them in the palm of your hand. Or you can go for the rustic look, and just pull off chunks and stir it in.
For that matter, if your in a pinch for time or just don’t feel like pulling out the blender, you can buy pre-made pesto at the store now too (although it will never compare to a fresh one that you make yourself).
Don’t forget to follow along, so you don’t miss out! Did you know you can get a notification on your phone now as soon something is published? People are loving this so much, more than the emails clogging up your inbox. If you happened to not accept the notification box earlier…now is a good time to click the small bell in the corner and get signed up!
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- 16 oz. box pasta (I used medium shell-roni)
- 8 oz. container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz. Mozzarella (pinch & roll or pearls)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (torn)
- 1/4 cup pesto (recipe follows)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup basil
- 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
- juice from 1/2 a lemon or 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup almonds, or walnuts
- pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt well. Add pasta and cook at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain and a quick rinse with cold water will stop the cooking process, cover and set aside.
- Using a blender or food processor mix all pesto ingredients.
- In a large bowl add shell-roni. Fold in pesto and stir in tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Taste to see if you need an extra dash of salt and pepper.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 348Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 27mgSodium 369mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 2gSugar 10gProtein 13g
Nutrition data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix, and should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate.
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