Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina
Perfect for picnics, potlucks, and summer gatherings, this Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina is definitely a crowd-pleaser.
A twist on a Caprese Pasta Salad with a double dose of soft cheese! Plus, this simple Pasta Salad Dressing is a breeze to prepare.
Why You Must Make
I had a version of this pasta salad years ago at a Cub Scout dinner. Usually, pickings were rather slim at those events. 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!
- This Easy Pasta Salad is simple to whip up!
- It’s perfect for all your summer gatherings.
- The Pasta Salad Dressing is a no-brainer! In fact, it makes itself!!!
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 at any time except in 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 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!!
Pasta Salad Dressing
You may have read the teaser above that this easy pasta salad recipe has a dressing that makes itself. Yes, that’s right.
The tomato juices, garlic, and herbs combine with the olive oil that’s added and tossed with all the other ingredients. This mixture coats the pasta, tomatoes, and cheese and makes one super summer pasta salad!!!
Frequently Asked Questions
Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, dating back to the 1920s. It’s made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh leaves of basil, seasoned with salt, olive oil, and/or balsamic vinaigrette. The colors of the salad echo the colors of the Italian flag.
There are 3 components to a pasta salad: the pasta, the add-ins, and the dressing. To make, just cook and cool the pasta, prepare the salad dressing, and chop any additional ingredients. Most pasta salads benefit from some time in the refrigerator, so toss and let the flavors meld. Toss again before serving.
Almost all pasta salads have perishable ingredients like mayonnaise, meat, or cheese. It should not be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours to minimize the chance of food poisoning. If it hasn’t been at room temperature too long, it can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Note: Pasta salads do not freeze well.
asta salads are perfect summer side dishes and go great with simple grilled entrees like burgers, brats, and chicken. They’re lovely with a BLT when your garden tomatoes are ripe.
You May Also Like:
- Greek Pasta Salad from Spend with Pennies
- Mexican Sweet Corn Pasta Salad from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Creamy Pasta Salad from Barefeet in the Kitchen
- Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta
- Burrata Caprese Salad with Balsamic Pearls
- Plus a more traditional Pasta Salad Recipe
- More Salad Recipes
Tomato Basil Pasta Salad Recipe with Mozzarella & Fontina
A simple pasta salad with sweet ripe tomatoes, pasta shells, herbs and chunks of cheese!
- 22 ounces of super-sweet cherry tomatoes*, cut into quarters
- 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
- 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 for 1-2 hours.
- 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.
- Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Winners, the Junior League Cookbook from Indianapolis.
Total time does not include marinating time.
*May use a similar amount of ripe garden tomatoes, peeled seeded, and coarsely chopped)
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 639mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g
24 Comments on “Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Fontina”
All of my favorite caprese flavors, now with pasta??? Yes. please! This is wonderful!
This is really amazing!! My kids loved it! A new favorite for dinner!
This is such a delightful salad! I could eat pasta every day!
I’m sure this is one that I would serve repeatedly. Even the pickiest eaters in my family wouldn’t turn this down!
I spent the afternoon in my garden, my winter crop of tomatoes are just about ready. Perfect for this delightful dish. Can’t wait to try it! ????????????
This is my kind of pasta salad – I’d happily eat this all summer long!
I love salads like this! This one looks like the perfect way to use up the cherry tomatoes and basil that will soon be in abundance in our garden!
Love these pretty shells, dear! xoxo
I remember those dinners! And not fondly except for the kids! I would have been thrilled to see this on the table! Sounds great, Liz!
Dear Lizzy, A perfect salad for the beautiful summer tomatoes and bbq’s. xoxo Catherine
This looks fantastic! I can’t think of a better way to use fresh tomatoes and basil!
I would have ignored this when I was a young cub too. Because, well, I was a young cub and didn’t know any better! Now? I’d load my plate too! Really nice — thanks.
Very visually appealing. I would add some chickpeas in my version also. I think this will go well with pesto and or mint sauce and a drizzle of olive oil
This is definitely my kind of salad lovely and fresh.
This looks great! Love it with all that good cheese, and it’s perfect for cookouts!
That’s a simple and very satisfying meal!
That looks like a winner pasta salad!!! Yum – no wonder you kept going back for more.
What a terrific side for any occasion! I love the combination of flavors and textures. And it’s so pretty too. I would pile this on my plate anytime 🙂
I would go back and back again for this salad too. And hope that others would pass it by! 🙂
you have inspired dinner tonight thanks liz!