This easy Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad with honey balsamic dressing is my go-to summer pasta salad. It’s almost no-cook and comes together quickly, and with very little effort. Grilled balsamic herb chicken tossed with balsamic dressing, pasta, marinated mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado. It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch. Or serve it up at your next summer party. It’s always good.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved a summertime pasta salad. My dad would often make his super simple pasta salad on busy nights. It used to be one of my favorite dinners.
I’ve mentioned this before, but my dad’s pasta salad was the simplest. I believe it was literally just pasta, broccoli, bell peppers, and cubes of cheddar cheese tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. He probably threw in a lot of fresh basil too.
Simple, I know, but still so good…or at least that’s how I remember it. Anyway, my point is, summertime is pasta salad season. The more recipes you have in your back pocket, the better.
Since the 4th of July is upon us, I figured that now is the perfect time to share one of my go-to summer pasta salads. I make this any chance I get. It’s simple, just like my dad’s, but done up with a little more color, flavor, and dressing.
Plus, I always have these ingredients on hand, so it’s really a staple kind of recipe over here. I make it for every summer gathering. It’s always one of the first dishes to disappear.
This pasta salad is easy, let’s start with the dressing
The honey balsamic dressing really is the key to this salad. It adds all the flavor.
It’s a simple mix-up of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, shallots, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh basil. I love to mix balsamic and honey for a tangy-sweet dressing and then add herbs for additional flavor.
It’s so delicious and one of my go-to salad dressings all year long.
This makes a lot of dressing, which is what you need for this salad. Again the dressing is KEY.
Next, toss the chicken with a bit of the dressing. If time allows, let the chicken marinate for even more flavor, then just grill it up.
I love to use chicken tenders or strips instead of breasts. The dressing is able to coat more of the chicken then, adding even more flavor.
For the salad…
You need your favorite short-cut pasta, fresh mozzarella balls, and lots of cherry tomatoes. Oh, and avocado too.
For the mozzarella, use marinated mozzarella if you can find it. Trust me, it’s delish and yup, adds even more flavor.
When the chicken is done grilling, and the pasta is cooked, just toss everything up with dressing. And that’s it. Simple. Simple. But so delicious!
This is a great recipe for prepping ahead of time for parties or even work lunches. The pasta holds up really well in the fridge and would be great to make on a Sunday for the week ahead. It even takes on more flavor as the salad sits! Just be sure to add the avocado the day of so that it doesn’t get brown.
What I love most about this pasta recipe is that it really does use some of summer’s best ingredients. So if you have a surplus of fresh cherry tomatoes and basil lying around, this is the recipe to make.
Looking for other great pasta salad recipes? Here are some favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad
Calories Per Serving: 485 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 2 cups mozzarella balls (use marinated, if you can find)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.2. In a bowl, toss the chicken with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit 10 minutes or marinate up to overnight. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 8-10 minutes. 3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Add the pasta, chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, and avocado to a large salad bowl. Pour over the remaining dressing and toss well to combine. Serve warm or cold. The salad will develop more flavor as it sits.