This simple Caprese pasta salad with vegan mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and avocado is the perfect recipe for summer and anytime! It is easy to make, healthy, refreshing – but most importantly, delicious! Filled with all the best fresh ingredients and flavorful balsamic vinaigrette, this veggie salad is a great source of vitamins that will make you feel energized!
Looking for the perfect salad for summer? This classic healthy salad is the best for a picnic, a cookout, or a simple fun get-together with family and friends. Consists of refreshing ingredients – you will love this easy to make Italian salad. Enjoy this pasta salad as a side dish or as your main meal. All ingredients are also easy to find and very inexpensive.
Tips for making pasta salad ahead
If you plan to make this recipe ahead, here are some tips to help you keep the Caprese salad as good as you’ve just made them.
- Use fresh ingredients – make sure to only get the freshest ingredients, this way your ingredients will last longer and preserve their taste.
- Chop your vegetables ahead – whether you’re just making it ahead to serve later or you’re planning to eat it for another day, chop your vegetables ahead. This will save you time and make preparation easier.
- Airtight container – once you’ve chopped up your vegetables and prepared your other ingredients, store them in an airtight container in your fridge so they keep fresh.
- Have vinaigrette ready – one of the ingredients of this Caprese pasta salad is balsamic vinaigrette (see the recipe here) so having a ready-made dressing will be convenient. You can also keep it in your fridge for a week so you don’t have to worry about it going bad.
- Cook pasta ahead – you can prepare your pasta up to 3 days ahead. Just be sure to rinse and drain it after cooking. Then add some olive oil or dressing to prevent the paste from losing its texture and taste.
- Prep vegan mozzarella – what’s Caprese salad without mozzarella? You can easily make your own vegan mini mozzarella cheese balls ahead that tastes just like the real deal (find the recipe here).
How to make vegan Caprese pasta salad
Are you ready to make this delicious and healthy salad? Here’s how.
- Cook Pasta – In a pot of salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Make sure to refer to the package instruction for the guide.
- Prepare your vegetables – While you’re cooking your pasta, you can go ahead and prepare your vegetables. Chop the onion, cut the cherry tomatoes in halves, and cut the avocado into chunks. (Tip: If you want to skip the vegan mozzarella, you can add more avocado – this will make the salad more creamy.)
- Toast the pine nuts – Over medium heat, heat a non-stick pan and toast the pine nuts until slightly browned. Make sure to toast them from all sides and stir them often as they can burn pretty quickly. Once you’re done toasting them, set aside.
- Prepare the pasta – Check on your pasta and once it’s ‘al dente’, drain over a sieve and stop the cooking by rinsing it with cold water. Drain again, then transfer into a large bowl. Prevent the pasta from sticking together by pouring in 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing, toss gently. (Tip: Until you’re ready to serve, keep the pasta refrigerated if you made the pasta ahead of time.)
- Add in the vegetables – Once you’re ready to serve, add in the onions, tomatoes, avocado, and remaining vinaigrette; gently toss to combine. Optional to taste, add seasonings such as salt, black pepper, red paprika, or chili flakes for spiciness and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
… And you’re done! Serve your delectable Caprese pasta in bowls – garnish with vegan mini mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts.
- Do you have a favorite pasta? I use farfalle pasta here but you can absolutely use any type of pasta it in this recipe, such as fusilli, macaroni, rigatoni, rigatoni, ziti, elbow or whatever you like. You can also opt for gluten-free pasta or try my homemade vegan pasta dough recipe.
- Skip the vegan mozzarella, and use more avocado or add tofu feta, dollops of cashew ricotta, or crispy chickpeas. You can also use vegan parmesan cheese as garnish if you like.
- Not a fan of balsamic vinaigrette? Try my vegan yogurt dressing, chipotle sauce, or one of my pesto recipes instead.
- You can add your favorite veggies!
How to store this pasta salad
If you have leftovers, you can store it in a glass tight-lid container in the refrigerator. You can also keep it in a ziplock for easy storage if you prefer. Just make sure to consume it within the day or the next day to maintain its taste and freshness.
Which further ingredients can I add in this pasta salad?
- Cucumber – if you love cherry tomatoes, you might also like some cucumbers in your Caprese salad. It’s rich in vitamin K and contains antioxidants.
- Chickpeas – add more of a crunchy and nutty taste to your salad with crispy chickpeas! It also adds texture so it will elevate the taste of the recipe.
- Pesto – not a fan of balsamic dressing? Substitute it with pesto (you can try this garlic pesto). It has a fresh and nutty taste that will complement the other ingredients.
- Olives – who doesn’t love olives, right? It’s rich in vitamin E and tastes really delicious!
- Almonds – don’t have pine nuts? Substitute it almonds or your favorite kind of nuts.
- Vegan Cheese/Cashew Ricotta – here on my blog, you’ll find a lot of recipes for vegan cheese alternatives! So if you don’t like vegan mozzarella, you can add in any dairy-free cheese, such as tofu feta or cashew ricotta.
Why you‘ll love this vegan pasta salad
This one of the best vegan salad you can probably make because it’s:
- Very quick and easy to make!
- Healthy as it’s rich in vitamins and nutrients
- Lightweight and yet will make you full
- You can add in your favorite vegetables
- It does not require any fancy cooking equipment!
How many can you serve?
This recipe is good for six servings as a side dish but, if you’re having more people, you can add in more ingredients.
Other salads you might also like
Looking for more salads to make on your next meal? Try some of these:
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad – filled with various and crunchy vegetables, this is also perfect for the summer.
- Best Broccoli Salad Recipe – if you love broccoli like me, this will be a treat for you! It has a sweet and salty flavor, the best combo.
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad – another easy and refreshing salad that you will also love. It’s gluten-free and filled with healthy ingredients.
If you try this Caprese pasta salad with vegan mozzarella recipe, please leave me a comment and rating because I’d love to hear your feedback! And if you take a photo of your healthy dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka to be sure I won’t miss your post! 😊
Vegan Caprese Pasta SaladAuthor:
- 1 lbs pasta variety of your choice
- 1 red onion or ½ bunch of spring onions or chives or both
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 avocado diced
- ⅓ cup balsamic dressing or sub pesto *see notes
- salt and pepper optional to taste
- red paprika or chili flakes
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 tbsp pine nuts
- ½ recipe vegan mini mozzarella balls
- fresh basil to garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package instruction in a pot of salted water until al dente.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Chop the onion, cut the cherry tomatoes in halves, and cut the pulp of one avocado into chunks (you can add more avocado for additional creaminess if you skip the vegan mozzarella).
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Toast the pine nuts until slightly browned and toasted from all sides. (Keep an eye on the pine nuts and stir them often as they tend to burn quickly). Then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Once your pasta is al dente, drain over a sieve and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well again, then transfer the cooked pasta into a large bowl.
- Pour in 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing and toss gently to combine, this will prevent the pasta from sticking together. (If cooking the pasta ahead of time, you can keep it that way covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve).
- Serve your Caprese pasta salad in bowls and garnish with vegan mini mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!
- Use your favorite pasta variety or even gluten-free pasta or try my homemade vegan pasta dough recipe.
- Use more avocado or add tofu feta, dollops of cashew ricotta, or crispy chickpeas if you skip the vegan mozzarella. You can also garnish your salad with vegan parmesan cheese if you like.
- If you’re not into balsamic vinaigrette, you can try my vegan yogurt dressing, chipotle sauce, or one of my pesto recipes instead.
- Feel free to add your favorite veggies - get creative!
- The instruction time does not include the prep time of the vegan mozzarella balls and balsamic vinaigrette.
- Please read my blog post for further information and tips on this recipe.
- Nutrition facts do not include vegan mozzarella.
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