orecchiette caprese salad lizbushong.com

From pasta to pizza, simple caprese flavors such as fresh basil, mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil makes summertime entertaining easy.  Orecchiette pasta, meaning “little ears”, has a unique domed shape, smooth on the inside and grooved on the outside.  So much fun making a salad with this pasta for the dressing gathers in the mini shells.  Perle mozzarella, toasted walnuts, garlic, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, parsley and chives  marinate 30 minutes to infuse the bottled Italian dressing before adding the drained pasta.  A dash of sea salt and ground pepper adds just the right garnish before serving.

Best Side Salad for Summer Entertaining

Orecchiette Caprese Best Side Salad lizbushong.com



Summer Time Side Salad|Orecchiette Caprese

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  • Author: Liz Bushong
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: cook top
  • Cuisine: American



1 cup Italian dressing, purchased or make your own

1/4 teaspoon honey or sugar, optional

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup perle mozzarella balls

68 cherry tomatoes, halved

red onion slices, as per taste and size

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 tablespoon each fresh basil, parsley, chives, diced

68 ounces dried orecchiette or small pasta of choice

dash sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. In small skillet with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, toast chopped walnuts until lightly browned.  Set aside.
  2. In small mixing bowl add dressing, sugar, garlic, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, onion, basil, parley, and chives, allow to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package.  Drain liquid and add to dressing marinade.  Toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt, and pepper before serving.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


  • Salad travels well for picnics.
  • Serve as side salad for grilling.

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