Individual Caprese Pasta Salads
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 back yard.
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 back yard. 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!
* This is a sponsored post, created in partnership with the American Dairy Association Mideast (ADA Mideast).
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!
June is Dairy Month, a time to celebrate America’s dairy farmers, who provide us with healthy dairy foods. One serving of milk, cheese, or yogurt provides 8 grams of high-quality protein and 9 essential nutrients.
Last fall, I traveled to Cleveland, Ohio as a guest of ADA Mideast to meet up with Ohio and West Virginia dairy farm families. These dairy farms raise more than 275,000 dairy cows on about 2,500 dairy farms, averaging approximately 5.5 billion pounds (or 645 million gallons) of milk each year.
During my visit to Cleveland, I was not only able to consume a large quantity of amazing cheese (!!!), but I also visited two dairy farms, both owned and operated by 5th generation family members. Their day-to-day operations were similar at the core, yet very different, with one family milking 80 head of cattle and the other milking 690. Read more about my experience here, and meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farming families at ADA Mideast.
These individual caprese pasta salads consist of a simple layering of fresh mozzarella balls in an easy-to-make balsamic vinaigrette, topped by curly cavatappi pasta (my favorite pasta shape!), fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Without even taking one bite, you just know this is going to be good!
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.
When you’re ready to eat, hold your salad jar upside-down to let the balsamic vinaigrette mingle through all the ingredients. Shake, shake, shake to incorporate. Then take of the lid, grab a fork, and dig in!
for the balsamic vinaigrette:
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 T. minced sweet yellow onion
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the salad:
- 8 oz. cavatappi noodles, cooked to al dente in salted water, and then cooled and drained
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 12 oz. "cherry size" mozzarella balls
- 1.5 c. halved cherry tomatoes
- 10 to 12 large basil leaves, sliced very thinly
- 1/3 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
for the balsamic vinaigrette:
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion, Dijon mustard, and honey. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
for the salad:
- Place cooled and drained cavatappi noodles in a medium size bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Fold to coat.
- Set out six wide-mouth pint jars. 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. 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.
- Salads keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.
from a farmgirl’s dabbles
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387
To meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, learn more about how farmers care for their cows and follow milk’s journey from farm to fridge, visit Drink-Milk.com, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
This post is sponsored by the American Dairy Association Mideast. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this site possible.