Layered Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad.
This grilled chicken caprese pasta salad is a summer dream! Layer your salad or toss it together, drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and serve! Marinated grilled chicken, juicy tomatoes, rich mozzarella and fresh basil. It’s incredible.
I’m getting all the summer vibes from this chicken caprese pasta salad!
This pasta salad makes me so happy! It can be the side dish at your BBQ, even a main or dish dish for dinner tonight. It could even be lunch! You can prep it ahead of time or make it 30 minutes before serving. It really can’t be beat.
Um, okay, who else is getting Friends trifle vibes from the photos of this layered pasta salad? Ha!
I can assure you that this is nothing like Rachel’s layered shepherd’s pie and cake trifle recipe. Promise.
I do love the idea of a layered pasta salad though! You can layer it all up, it looks fun and pretty to serve, then just toss it right before serving. Or let others toss it as they serve themselves. Absolutely perfect.
Whatever you want to do!
I’ve been making regular old caprese pasta salads for years. I’ve always shared them on instagram, but never here because they are just so simple. When I decided to do some balsamic chicken, I KNEW it was a recipe I needed to share in time for summer. This is perfect for Memorial Day weekend or even dinner tonight. It’s one of those versatile dishes that is just so delicious.
You can also make is ahead of time!
First up, the easiest balsamic chicken.
I like to marinate and grill the chicken. You can even do this a few days ahead – or use leftover grilled chicken too. It’s so simple. Whether you’re planning ahead of time or flying by the seat of your pants, you can get the chicken made quickly.
The rest is fairly easy – think your favorite caprese, but in pasta salad form!
So we have fresh mozzarella. I like to use the fresh mozzarella balls (especially if they are marinated!) but you can also buy a log of it and chop it up.
Then grape or cherry tomatoes. You know these will only get better as the season goes on.
Lots of fresh basil.
And then your favorite pasta! I always get questions about this squiggly one I use. It’s the spirali from delallo and definitely my favorite for pasta salads.
For the dressing, I love to use a version of a balsamic vinaigrette. Mostly because everything can hang out and marinate in it overnight and it’s still absolutely fantastic.
Of course, it’s also a classic dressing for caprese and one that just can’t go wrong. The flavors mesh well together and everything gets a chance to shine.
The only thing I suggest if you’re making this ahead of time? Maybe wait to toss in your fresh basil. That way it won’t be all wilted and what not. You know?
Seriously dreaming of sitting outside in the sunshine eating a bowl of this. It’s DIVINE. There’s something in it for everyone!
Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad
Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta Salad
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound spiral pasta, cooked (or your favorite cut, like penne, etc)
- 12 to 16 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, I like ciliegine, balls cut in half if you wish
- 1 large handful fresh basil, about ⅔ cup basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
- Prep the chicken first! You can make this a day or two before - even just marinating it or marinating it and grilling it. Place the chicken into a baking dish or resealable bag. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, dried basil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Measure out about ¼ cup of the dressing and pour it over the chicken. Reserve the rest and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. This is your pasta salad dressing!
- Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight. When ready to grill, preheat your grill to the highest setting. Once the grill is hot, add the chicken (let the marinade run off into the dish) and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Once the chicken is done, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Then cut it into chunks.
- While the chicken is cooking, you can cook your pasta! You can also cook it the day before and store it in the fridge. You can also chop the tomatoes and the basil!
- Now it’s time to layer or assemble the pasta salad. I like to do layers of the pasta, chunked chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, then repeat. But of course, you can also just toss everything together!
- Once it is layer or tossed, drizzle it with the remaining dressing. Toss to serve and serve immediately, or store in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Note: if you assemble the pasta ahead of time, I would wait to add the fresh basil until right before serving!