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Individual Caprese Pasta Salads

Summertime and outdoor eating go hand in hand. I love a picnic on a warm and sunny summer day, with a fresh, delicious spread of food and drink.

These Individual Caprese Pasta Salads are a fun way to pack a cooler for a picnic or to serve to your guests at a gathering in the backyard. I make sure to hide at least one jar in the back of the fridge…because my family adores these individual salads and they always disappear FAST!

Individual Caprese Pasta Salad in a jar

A caprese salad would be nothing without fresh mozzarella. And that’s where this recipe starts, with little “cherry size” mozzarella balls in the bottom of each jar. I find these poppable bites of cheese irresistible!

Without even taking one bite, you just know this is going to be good!

Did you know natural cheeses like mozzarella contain minimal amounts of lactose? Most of the lactose is removed when the curds are separated from the whey in the cheese-making process. For those who may be sensitive to lactose or who are lactose-intolerant, natural cheese can be a great source of protein.

Once the jars are layered with the caprese salad ingredients, just screw on the lids, and then refrigerate them for later or pack them in your cooler and hit the road.

Individual Caprese Pasta Salads

Photo of Individual Caprese Pasta Salads
  • 6 servings

Ingredients

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon minced sweet yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 8 ounces cavatappi noodles, cooked to al dente in salted water, and then cooled and drained
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces “cherry size” mozzarella balls
  • 1 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 10 to 12 large basil leaves, sliced very thinly
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion, Dijon mustard, and honey.
  2. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Salad

  1. Place cooled and drained cavatappi noodles in a medium size bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Fold to coat.
  2. Set out six wide-mouth pint jars.
  3. Divide mozzarella balls evenly between the jars. Whisk the balsamic vinaigrette to incorporate, and then pour over mozzarella balls just to cover the mozzarella. Divide cavatappi amongst the jars, and then the halved tomatoes. Top with sliced basil and shredded Parmesan, followed by a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Top each jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to eat. When ready to eat, turn individual jars upside-down to let the vinaigrette move through the rest of the jar, and then shake several times to incorporate. Remove lids and enjoy.
  5. Salads keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

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