Caprese is a traditional Italian salad made with just three basic ingredients, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. As a rule, it’s dressed with nothing more than olive oil and a dash of black pepper, not even salt.

I’ve decided to take this wonderful, simple, healthy and fresh salad up a level, add a little more dressing and use pasta as a base. And it turned out wonderful! The neutral pasta flavor balances out the tartness of the dressing and brings forth the creamy taste of fresh mozzarella and the tomatoes.

To make this dish super healthy, use whole grain pasta. You can even use pasta made of something other than wheat, like chickpea pasta. Any kind of smallish pasta types will do, such as rotini, bow ties, shells, macaroni.

I like using both spinach leaves and basil leaves as fresh greens in this salad, you can use both or either of them.

It’s important to use good quality extra virgin olive oil for the dressing, as it gives a lot of flavor. I also recommend carefully following the instructions on the back of the pasta box, when you boil it, and cook it al dente. If you overdo your pasta, it will turn out mushy, because it will still absorb some moisture from tomatoes and the dressing.

You can add even more variety to this salad, by adding pitted black olives, red onions, cukes and other veggies. I hope you enjoy this recipe!