Caprese Pasta with Avocado

I love this Caprese Pasta with Avocado, a take on Insalata Caprese; a simple and classic Italian salad with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Add some pasta and avocado and you’ve got a new winner!
Caprese Pasta with Avocado

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!

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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!

Caprese Pasta with Avocado

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!

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 Review

Caprese Pasta with Avocado

Avocado, Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Pasta Salad with Pine Nuts

Creative Culinary
A Caprese salad with even more...add avocado, pine nuts and some bowtie pasta...a perfect side dish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories

Ingredients
  

Salad:

  • 1 lb pasta bows yes, you could substitute, but so pretty and just perfect for this dish!
  • 6 ripe tomatoes sliced thin
  • ½ 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

Dressing

  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp whole grain mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • 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.
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31 Comments

  1. Very nice, I like how you turn a caprese salad into an entire meal. I think out of your whole vegetable garden, you were smart to keep the herbs. So low-maintenance and very convenient for cooking. Not to mention, a good cost-saver over having to buy them at the store. I have a few herbs in my garden (oregano, lavender, mint, sage, rosemary) but could use more

  2. That is one big Avocado and a lovely bag of tomatoes! Easy to see why they made such a beautiful contribution to that gorgeous salad.

    Was fun to see your old photo of this salad and if you find it embarrassing you are being too hard on yourself. It’s wonderful to see the progress you have made in your photography skills and you should be very proud of what you have taught yourself. Me…I’m still at the first Caprese Salad stage but you give me hope 🙂

    1. Me too! It is most definitely our quintessential summer salad; I seriously will ONLY make it when fresh tomatoes are available.

  3. When you told me the other day you made something similar to my Grilled Margherita Sandwich I was hoping it would be on your blog, and this really does look excellent! I love seeing the photo from 5 years ago. That was a good photo, but you’ve obviously improved a ton!! I was just talking with my hubby yesterday about my photography. I feel like it’s getting worse (I had no idea it would be so hard!!), but I can only hope that over the years it will get better!!! 🙂

    1. You are too kind Rachael; I think that old photo is horrific but hey, what did I know? Practice and more practice sure helps but the killer for me is this…whoever said skill at cooking would translate to skill with photography? I’ve learned to love it but it is not as simple as just trying a new recipe that’s for sure!

    1. For me it sure doesn’t hurt that I can now stand for more than, oh…a minute? It takes time too…something we all struggle to find!

  4. Insalata caprese is pretty darn good in and of itself, but adding avocado!? That is brilliant. Not only do you have the colors of the Italian flag now, but I am sure that the cream texture of the avocado goes very well to contrast the crisp, ripe tomatoes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I know…I have the regular stuff as often as I can when tomatoes are good…this is a bit more special I won’t deny; totally worth aligning the stars that would make it happen. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing the old photos and letting us all see the vast difference as compared to your present photography. It gives me encouragement that I can grow in my food photography skills.
    Btw, is that avocado nearly as big as the pineapple?? Wow!

    1. That’s part of my plan…not that I think my phtography is all that great but there is a measure of improvement that I hope is inspiring to others just starting.

      And no, it wasn’t as big…most of the pineapple was hidden beneath that straw stuff…but it’s out now and next on my agenda!

  6. Oh my gosh. This is my idea of the perfect lunch. That avocado looks just perfect and as big as it is, plenty for you to share with your friends. Shame on you for keeping it all to yourself. Of course, I can’t say that I blame you.

    1. I did share…just sorry you weren’t here to enjoy it. My neighbor Karen (I only have girlfriends named Karen) came over to help me down that Bellini and she also helped me finish off the pasta. We were happy girls. 🙂

  7. Oh beautiful, I love your spin on Caprese! I wish I could grow my own tomatoes, but not enough sunlight in my yard. So instead I visit local farmers markets almost everyday:-) Your salad would be a hearty dish, and really filling:-) Looks gorgeous! Hugs, Terra

    1. I used to have a huge garden but it was a lot of work and a lot of water. With my girls now out of the house I OK with frequenting the farmers market for great summer produce. Herbs though…have to have them and they don’t need as much sun; maybe you should try some?

  8. What a salad! I could happily eat this every day while luscious, fresh tomatoes are in season.

    I think it’s fun to compare our old photos with our newer efforts to see how far we’ve come. Although I do cringe when looking at many of my old shots.

    1. Everything you said? Ditto. About the salad and about the photos; believe me this one makes me cringe but it also helps me realize I have indeed ‘come a long way baby.’

    1. I would too if I could! And thanks…I knew NOTHING when I started and still don’t know near enough but it’s that potential for growth that helps to keep me interested in photography…sort of like cooking!

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