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Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

by Jeanette on May 29, 2014 · 17 Comments
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Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad - this light pasta salad features summer tomatoes and fresh pesto at their peak season

As many of you know, I’ve got four boys, including two high school seniors and a college student. Whenever I tell people that I have four boys, they almost immediately make a comment about how big my grocery bill must be. I’ve learned ways to skimp and stretch out our food bill over the years (see my 5 Tips for Feeding Hungry Teenagers), but there are special celebrations when I go all out. With one son living away from home this summer, and two more headed off to college in the fall, each day I have with my boys is a time to celebrate.

This past Memorial Day weekend, one of the twins invited a handful of his friends over, and before I knew it, his twin brother invited some of his friends too. Before I knew it, our dinner for six mushroomed into dinner for twelve. Mind you, these boys are young men with big appetites, so I was worried we wouldn’t have enough food to go around.

These pictures don’t do this recipe justice. I was in such a flurry getting dinner on the table for all the boys that I didn’t have time to snap any pictures until the next day, so you’ll notice there aren’t too many pieces of fresh mozzarella left. That should give you a hint as to how much the boys enjoyed this pasta salad ;).

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad - this light pasta salad features summer tomatoes and fresh pesto at their peak season

Fortunately, I had stocked up on groceries for the weekend from Costco’s and the supermarket, so I had plenty of food to throw down a big spread for everyone. Within 2 1/2 hours, I had prepared a smorgasbord of sorts, including this Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad. Made with fresh tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella (Costco’s carries this), fresh minced garlic, pesto (I whizzed together fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper), the sauce for this pasta salad simply marinades until dinnertime. When you’re ready to eat, simply cook the pasta, drain and toss with the sauce. Add a handful of fresh grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

This is a great recipe to have in your back pocket when entertaining this summer – it is totally no-fuss and actually tastes better the longer you leave the tomatoes to marinade in the garlic olive oil. My boys loved this and enjoyed leftovers the next day.

5 from 1 reviews
Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves: 10-12, when served with other dishes at a barbecue
  • 3 cups chopped chopped tomatoes
  • 4 small pieces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, cut into bite size pieces
  • ⅓ cup fresh pesto
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • a handful of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 1 pound dried gluten-free or whole grain pasta
  1. In a large serving bowl, toss together tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pesto, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let marinade for an hour or longer. When ready to serve, cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Toss hot pasta with tomato mixture, adding some pasta cooking liquid to loosen up sauce. Serve.


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  1. I love to throw this kind of salad together at the last minue, using pesto I keep in the freezer. Every summer I make enough pesto to last all year long.

  2. This pasta salad definitely sounds like a crowd-pleaser to me! I always make something very similar to it during the summer. Such a great easy weeknight meal.

  3. This is the perfect summer salad!

  4. So simple, yet so perfect. This one will become a regular at our house!!

  5. Your house sounds like my house w/ all the kids coming and going! I now this would be gobbled up in an instant at my house too :-)

  6. This sounds so easy and perfect for feeding a house full of hungry boys. My Little Man is almost 6 and I know with Summer coming up he’ll want more of his friends to come by. I’ve added this recipe to my “must make” list since it is perfect for a meal plan I’m following right now from Women’s Health Magazine, “30 Day Bikini Body Meal Plan.” Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Thank you Jeanette. Sounds wonderful and easy too. Have a Great Weekend!

  8. So easy and so tasty! Love the fresh summer flavours!

  9. Love how quick and easy this pasta salad is to put together. The flavors sound so fresh and tasty – perfect for summer and all the last minute guests:)

  10. I have to finish pesto this week before my trip. I am going to try this one – it’s perfect timing! And got some tomatoes my neighbor gave us too! I haven’t had pasta for a while (trying to eat less).. I think I would go crazy with this pasta salad. =P

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