I love Insalata Caprese; a simple and classic Italian salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. This salad is a take on that classic with the addition of pasta, avocado, a balsamic vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts. You could make this salad year round; but to really enjoy and love it as I do? Make it seasonal when you can use amazing tomatoes, good avocados and fresh basil. It’s what gets me excited about summer produce so start planning now!
I’ve included this post as my contribution to The Food Network’s #Sensational Sides this month and it truly is sensational; probably my all time favorite salad. As I’ve done with a lot of my contributions to these posts; I’ve updated something I published almost 5 years ago. Mostly because I just wanted to share; it is that good!
I’ve grown my own veggies for years but with both of my children now on their own I think my days of planting and watering a large garden of veggies is over. That doesn’t mean I won’t have some pots of smaller tomatoes and a bounty of herbs. So many herbs are perennials I want to transition to a more permanent herb garden eventually and have it filled with thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano, chives, parsley, sage and mint. But tomatoes will always be grown in pots and I’ve been lucky to have some success with that endeavor. I mostly grow smaller varieties so while I love the look of big slices, don’t let that stop you from using Roma or even cherry tomatoes…I know it won’t stop me!
Gratefully good tomatoes are easy to find at farmer’s markets as warm weather becomes the norm and I’ve been lucky enough in summers past to enjoy the bounty from my friend Jane’s. I also have a huge pot of basil right outside my back door; honestly if I grew nothing but tomatoes and basil I think I would be OK with that!
This is the favorite dish of friends when I host my annual Girls Nite In; when several girlfriends that I have known for years come together in my backyard for some good food, great wine and yes, really lively conversation! How did I know it was a hit? It disappeared faster than the dessert!
Avocado, Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Pasta Salad with Pine Nuts
A Caprese salad with even more...add avocado, pine nuts and some bowtie pasta...a perfect side dish.
- 1 lb pasta bows (yes, you could substitute, but so pretty and just perfect for this dish!)
- 6 ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 medium, ripe avocados, halved and sliced lengthwise
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 1 sprig fresh basil for garnish
- Salt and Pepper
- 9 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together in small bowl, mix enough with pasta to thoroughly moisten; salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill serving bowl with dressed pasta and then arrange the tomato, mozzarella and avocado in overlapping slices around the edge. Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with a sprig of basil.
- Drizzle remaining dressing over individual servings of pasta.
Want More: Take a peek at some other great recipes from my blogger friends:
The Mom 100: Pasta Salad with Chicken, Picholine Olives and Ramp Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spring Orzo Salad
Devour: Pasta Salads That Go Beyond Mayonnaise
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta Salad with Arugula, Bell Pepper & Spring Onion
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Pasta Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
Taste with the Eyes: Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad, Lime Ginger Dressing
FN Dish: Picnic-Ready Pasta Salads with Hundreds of Sky-High Reviews