I feel like I should forewarn you that this may turn into the Summer Of Pasta Salads here on the blog.
I am apparently obsessed with them lately, especially once the lightbulb went off and I realized (far too late in life) that the words pasta salad do not need to be linked with mayonnaise.
I keep trying to be an adult and learn to like mayo. But it is just not my thing.
This came up in conversation twice in the last month with friends and everyone was discussing what foods they still no longer like as an adult. I was aghast when some close friends proudly declared that they don’t like shrimp (ah!), mushrooms (yum!), and soft cheese (MY LIFE). But when it was my turn and I confessed that I don’t like mayo, it was my turn to hear all of the gasps. Eh, everyone substitutes Greek yogurt for it nowadays anyway, right??
Well, this pasta salad has mayo nowhere in sight. And when I posted it on Instagram last week, everyone still seemed pretty excited about it. So let’s get to it!
Clearly I’m also still on the 5-ingredient bandwagon lately. It’s too fun of a challenge to pass up! And I have to say that I think this recipe maximizes the heck out of all five.
I couldn’t decide whether to call it Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad or Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad. But basically it’s a “caprese” recipe where you substitute in strawberries for tomatoes. So that makes the five ingredients:
As you can see, I substituted in one of my favorite DeLallo products — their heavenly balsamic glaze — instead of reducing my own balsamic. But you can also easily make it for yourself on the stove while your pasta water comes to a boil.
And the process itself is simple. Just cook your noodles, then drain and immediately rinse them in cold water to halt the cooking. Then toss the noodles with the berries, chopped basil and diced mozzarella. And drizzle with as much reduced balsamic as you’d like.
I was initially going to toss the salad in the balsamic, and then my friend Maria suggested I just drizzle it instead. That’s what good foodie friends are for — look how pretty it is!
Anyway, this is a stellar dish for any summer grill-out or tailgaiting or even just a lovely dinner inside at home. And if you’re not feeling the chilled vibe, this pasta also works well served warm. (Just know that your mozzarella will melt if tossed with hot pasta.)
This 5-Ingredient Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad is quick and easy to make, and a delicious sweet and savory addition to any meal.
1 pound dry pasta (I used farfalle)
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 ball fresh mozzarella, diced
1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil
3 tablespoons balsamic glaze (I used DeLallo, but see instructions below for a homemade alternative)
Cook pasta in a large pot of generously-salted boiling water al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.
Toss the pasta with the strawberries, mozzarella and basil. Pour half of the pasta into a serving bowl, and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Then pour the remaining half of the pasta on top, and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with extra basil if desired. Also, if the pasta seems to dry, you can toss it with a tablespoon of olive oil.
*To make balsamic glaze homemade, whisk together 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Give it a taste. If you think it needs sweetening, stir in a few teaspoons of sugar or honey.
I do not like Mayo either – glad I’m not the only one! Yuck. By the way, this pasta salad looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Love the colors. :)
My fave summer flavors are totally having a party in this bowl! Love that glaze too.
So much color! And I agree with Maria, the drizzle is the perfect touch! Also, I am so proud of you and can’t wait to get my mitts on the cookbook!
What a fantastic idea. I may have to make this for a party this weekend.
Only 5 ingredients! Weeknight secret weapon salad!
1) This is gorgeous. 2) I don’t like mayo either. 3) I hope your cookbook is titled “5 Ingredient Recipes” because I love them all.
I am LOVE this for many reasons! One being that their is no mayo and section the strawberry caprese conconcation! Yum!
This looks so summery and light. What a great thing at a picnic. I love the idea of the balsamic glaze. Gotta go get some Moz, cuz I already have the other ingredients! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
This is THE perfect summer salad. Love it!
1. Mayo is an abomination. 2. Balsamic reduction is heaven on earth.
I am going to turn into this salad this summer!!!!!!(You know, cuz you are what you eat!)
OOOOOhhhh, love this and I think this holiday weekend is the perfect time to try it out on my family. You see, I do not like raw tomatoes. There, I’ve said it. So caprese salad before did not have any kind of temptation for me. But this? I looooove strawberries and fresh basil. Seriously, this may be my contribution to the church picnic next weekend. Thanks!
This is beautiful, Ali! I’m still trying as an adult to learn to like tomatoes, so this is exactly up my caprese alley :) Pinned – need to make this for my next BBQ!
What a fun idea to use strawberries instead of tomatoes. Plus, I didn’t know that Delallo made a balsamic glaze. I have definitely got to get some of that!
Beautiful salad! Definitely want this :)
So gorgeous, love the balsamic drizzle (and I refuse to eat mayo, so bring on the mayo-less salads!).
LOVE this recipe, Ali. So pretty, bright, cheery. Happy weekend!
I love that this only takes 5 ingredients, and yet comes out so pretty! I can also agree about the mayo thing, I have never been a fan of pasta salads because of it, but this recipe may make me convert! :)
Oh my gosh I am looking for a pasta salad for a old fashion bridal pin up party. I found beautiful black and white striped bow tie pasta,this is going to be perfect. I am so glad I clicked on your pin.
Great recipe and beautiful photos! This is on the menu for Sunday Brunch. Thank you:)
How did you cut the fresh mozzarella? I used the dental floss trick, but dicing an entire ball that way got tedious and the cuts were a little wonky.
I just used a chef’s knife. The more chilled the mozzarella, the easier it is to cut, for sure. :)
How early can I make this? I want to make it for a potluck of salads and sandwiches tomorrow. Can I precook pasta and refrigerate and then toss it all when ready to go if pre-prepared?
Hey Rachel! Sure, you can pre cook the pasta, I’d just slightly undercook it, then drain and toss it with a little oil. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat by dropping the noodles into boiling water for a minute or two, until heated through. Hope that helps, and that you enjoy the recipe! : )
How many servings does this make? I’m looking to do this for a party soon and hoping it’ll serve enough people. Thank you it looks really yummy!!! NO MAYO!!!!!
Hi Samantha! We apologize for just now getting to your comment. This makes 4-6 servings (the serving amount is listed at the top left of the recipe). We hope you enjoy!
How long will this last in fridge? I want it as a side to eat through the week.
Hi Nina! We think a few days — the strawberries release so much moisture that this will likely be too soggy beyond that. We hope you enjoy!
Hi, just wondering can you make this ahead of time? I’d like to make it for a picnic this summer!
Hi Lisa! You could make this ahead of time, but we wouldn’t recommend making it more than several hours in advance, as it might get a bit soggy with the strawberries in it. We hope you enjoy!
Making this today. For best results how far in advance of serving should I mix the balsamic glaze in? Presume overnight would have dried it out ?
Hi Kristen! It should be fine to mix it into the salad the night before serving — it definitely won’t dry out!
great recipe for church potluck. local grocery only had raspberry balaamic reduction glaze, so i used that and swapped out the strawberries for raspberries. the raspberries were messy, even though i carefully folded them in. raspberry balsamic glaxe a bit sweet. Nect time i will try recipe EXACTLY as written. i did use my salad spinner for the pasta and i was surprised how much additional water was removed. Thanks!!!
Thanks, Kris, we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
Do you rinse pasta after cooking to keep it from sticking together?
This is a delicious light summer recipe, I used to make this all the time in the summer without the mozzarella but I’m sure it’s just as good with it!