Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad

A pasta dish made for springtime
Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad
Photo by Julie Andrews

It’s finally May, and that springtime feeling is in the air. Besides the warmer weather, I’m excited for all the fresh produce and barbecued foods we typically eat this time of year. A few of my faves include pasta salad, asparagus, fresh herbs and grilled meats.

I combine everything I love to make in this extra-special caprese pasta salad with asparagus pesto. Caprese salad is a combination of fresh Wisconsin-made mozzarella cheese, juicy heirloom tomatoes and fragrant basil.

When tossed with pesto made of just-picked-from-the-ditch asparagus and perfectly cooked bow tie pasta, it tastes like springtime in a bowl. Pair it with a couple of grilled brats and you’ll be set for a wonderful warm-weather Wisconsin meal.

Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad


1 lb. whole-grain bowtie pasta
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into
3-inch pieces
1/2 cup cooked spring peas
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan, more for garnish
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
Splash fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls


1. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and set aside. In same pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil.
2. Add asparagus, reduce to a simmer and cook 7-8 minutes, until asparagus is very tender. Remove from water and allow to slightly cool.
3. In a food processor, blend asparagus, spring peas, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, basil, lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
4. While blending, drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
5. Toss asparagus pesto with bowtie pasta. Stir in tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
6. Refrigerate for at least one hour. If pasta is dry, toss with extra olive oil. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and basil. Serve.

Julie Andrews is a registered dietitian and culinary-school trained chef who loves sharing fresh, wholesome food recipes on her food blog, The Gourmet RD.