All the flavors of a Caprese Salad in this Chicken Pasta Salad! So easy to make and so delicious! Using a rotisserie chicken means you can have this tasty dinner on the table in minutes! Make it in the summer with fresh basil and use pesto in the winter for a year round easy meal!
A Caprese salad is one of the simplest salads you can make and one of the most delicious. It is simply tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, usually artfully arranged on a plate and drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It's an Italian salad and contains the colors of the Italian flag!
Give me a Caprese salad, a chunk of bread and I can call it breakfast, lunch or dinner. But sometimes I want all the flavors of the Italian salad with a little more substantial ingredients.
That's where this easy pasta recipe comes in. By adding rotisserie chicken and your favorite pasta, you have an easy dinner recipe that everyone will love!
Ingredients to Make this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad
- Chicken - I used the shredded breast meat from a rotisserie chicken. Save the legs and thighs for other rotisserie chicken recipes.
- Pasta - this works best with shaped pasta instead of strands. I used rigatoni because I had some in the pantry, shells or bow tie pasta would also work.
- Tomatoes - cherry tomatoes keep it a little drier, if you want more sauce use whole tomatoes and chop them.
- Lemon - grated rind for a little extra pop.
- Mozzarella - try to find fresh mozzarella if you can, do not use shredded mozzarella. It usually comes shaped in small balls.
- Basil - fresh if you can find it, otherwise use basil pesto. It will be a little saucier with basil pesto. Taste after adding the pesto before adding the dressing, you might not need s much.
- Red wine vinegar - or white.
- Olive Oil - use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, it will impart a lot of flavor on this simple dish.
How to Make This Pasta Salad with Chicken
- Step One - cook pasta according to directions.
- Step Two - while pasta is cooking prep the rest of the ingredients: shred the chicken, mince the garlic, halve the tomatoes, tear the basil leaves, tear the mozzarella cheese into bite sized pieces, zest the lemon, and gather the olive olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar.
- Step Three - drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. Add to a bowl and add the chicken, garlic, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese to a bowl.
- Step Four - whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl (or shake in a mason jar) and pour over the salad. Toss to combine and taste and adjust seasonings.
Easy Caprese Salad with Pasta and Chicken
We have this all summer long, it's that good and that easy. It is a drier pasta salad, especially if you use cherry tomatoes. Using ripe large tomatoes will give you more of a sauce.
I also love this salad in the winter using basil pesto! I find that roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are pretty good all year round. Having a big bowl of this in the middle of winter, is like a soft summer breeze.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Tomato and Basil Orzo with Ricotta - cooks all in one pan and ready in about 30 minutes!
Pasta Puttanesca - no cook pasta sauce means you can have this on the table in the time it takes to boil the pasta!
Lobster Fra Diavolo - elegant and fancy, only you will know how easy it is! A great way to stretch a small amount of lobster!
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Pasta - roast the sweet potatoes and the chorizo and toss with the pasta for a delicious pasta dinner!
Follow my Pasta Recipes Board on Pinterest for even more pasta recipes!
Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad
- 14 ounces Rigatoni or your favorite shaped pasta
- 2 chicken breasts cooked, shredded
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 9 ounces cherry tomatoes halved, or whole tomatoes diced
- 1 cup basil leaves torn
- 4 1/2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese torn
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Rinse under cold water.
- Add the pasta to the bowl with the chicken, garlic, tomatoes, cheese, basil and lemon grass.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. Pour over the salad.
- Toss the salad, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
This was originally published in February 2010 and has been updated for 2019.