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Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina

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Perfect for picnics, pot lucks and summer gatherings, this Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina in a white ceramic serving bowl

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina

I had a version of this pasta salad years ago at a Cub Scout dinner. Usually, pickings were rather slim. Bags of chips, grocery store cookies, etc. were spread out across the buffet table. This simple side dish was a standout with rotini pasta, fresh herbs and ripe tomatoes. I loaded up my plate. Then I went back again. The young scouts were ignoring this, but I happily ate their share!

Overhead view of Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina in a white serving bowl

Caprese Pasta Salad

I’m a huge fan of tomato, basil and cheese salads like this Chopped Caprese Salad. I used to avoid making anything with fresh tomatoes any time except the summer. Pale, tasteless, grocery store tomatoes are a waste of money. But now with super-sweet cherry tomatoes available all year long, you can enjoy this Caprese pasta salad even when ripe garden tomatoes are not in season. Or wait until your backyard crop is ready to harvest and make it over and over again!!

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina close view in a white serving bowl

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Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina in a white ceramic serving bowl

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina

A simple pasta salad with sweet ripe tomatoes, pasta shells, herbs and chunks of cheese!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 22 ounces (I used 2 11-ounce packages) super-sweet cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (or a similar amount of ripe garden tomatoes, peeled seeded and coarsely chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pasta shells (I used conchiglie)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add tomatoes, garlic, basil, mint, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Gently toss and let sit at room temperature 1-2 hours.
  2. Cook pasta in well salted water and drain well. Add the pasta to a large bowl and add some of the oil from the tomatoes and toss to combine. After the pasta cools for about 10-15 minutes, add the tomatoes and mix to combine. Add the cheeses and toss.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Adapted from Winners, the Junior League Cookbook from Indianapolis.

Total time does not include marinating time.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 639mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g

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