Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella Cheese is a light and fresh recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. It's a perfect side dish or appetizer to make for a crowd or share with your family. Bring it to Summer picnics, potlucks, and other events. This 30-minute salad also features crispy prosciutto and easy homemade balsamic honey mustard dressing.
The best summer pasta salad
This delicious, vibrantly colorful, summer pasta salad features fresh seasonal produce (yellow peaches), spinach, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese! It is truly a Summer in a bowl! And it takes only 30 minutes to make! Even though it's simple enough to serve as an everyday salad with your weeknight dinner for your family and friends, it makes a beautiful presentation when prepared for a special occasion or holiday. You will love the combo of pasta, crispy prosciutto, and fresh produce!
This salad keeps well refrigerated, so it's a perfect recipe for meal prep, or to make ahead for lunch and snacks. If you love homemade salads, don't miss my other delicious summer recipes, such as Peach Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Prosciutto and a stunning 30-Minute Peach Tomato Caprese Salad.
Perfect for sharing!
Because this simple salad can easily be made ahead, it's the best Summer side dish to bring to your favorite summer events! Make it for backyard barbecues, cookouts, picnics, potlucks, family dinners, and block parties. Your family and friends will appreciate you even more than they already do!
How to serve summer peach pasta salad
- The beauty of this recipe is that it's so versatile. Summer pasta salad with peaches, spinach, and tomatoes is an easy side dish that will pair well with any weeknight dinner. This recipe makes a generous amount, so it's great for sharing with a crowd.
- It is also a fantastic salad to bring for picnics, potlucks, BBQ parties, and other summer festivities. It works as an appetizer, side dish, or even as lunch. Even though this salad is best made with fresh yellow peaches, you can make it year-round with frozen peaches (defrosted) or canned peaches!
- It's a perfect light meal to enjoy in the hotter months. You can even add your favorite protein (such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon) to make it a complete meal!
- Pasta. Short pasta works best in pasta salads as it easily absorbs the dressing and is bite-sized just like other ingredients in this salad. Here I used fusilli (spiral pasta). Bow-tie pasta (farfalle) will be your next best choice. Or, you can use penne, rigatoni, or rotini.
- Peaches. I recommend using fresh yellow peaches - they create a beautiful presentation and are very flavorful! You can also use white peaches but they won't look as pretty. For summer pasta salads, I prefer to buy peaches that are somewhat firm in texture - not rock solid, but also not so soft that they can easily get indented when squeezed. Firmer peaches will hold up better in a pasta salad especially if you want to make it ahead.
- Spinach is a leafy green vegetable high in fiber and is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. It's a wonderful healthy veggie that makes a great addition to any pasta salad!
- Tomatoes. I used red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, each sliced in half. You can also fresh diced regular tomatoes.
- Mozzarella Cheese. This summer pasta salad is made with fresh Mozzarella cheese. It has a soft texture and mild, not salty flavor. I've used small Mozzarella balls labeled as "pearls". Their size fits perfectly with cherry or grape tomatoes!
- Prosciutto. I lightly toasted the prosciutto in the oven until just crispy.
Balsamic honey mustard dressing
Summer pasta salad pairs beautifully with a simple homemade dressing. The ingredients include olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice freshly squeezed, Dijon mustard, honey, and Italian seasoning. Combine all salad dressing ingredients together in a mason jar and whisk well until emulsified. You can use this homemade balsamic honey mustard vinaigrette not only with this peach pasta salad but with any other salad of your choice!
Substitutions and variations
- What is a good substitute for spinach? Arugula has a mustard-like yet soft flavor and is a great substitute for spinach.
- What can you replace prosciutto with? If you can't find prosciutto, use cooked chopped bacon. It's an optional ingredient, feel free to skip it.
- What cheese can you use instead of Mozzarella? You can replace Mozzarella with goat cheese, feta, or Cotija cheese.
- Salad dressing. In this recipe, I use a simple homemade dressing made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a touch of honey and mustard. You can also use any store-bought salad dressing of your choice, preferably some kind of Vinaigrette dressing.
- Add-ins. Add your favorite protein, such as grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, scallops, or fish to make it a complete meal.
- Cook pasta al dente for best texture. That means the pasta should feel firm to the bite, hard under your teeth, while being soft yet not mushy. This kind of texture works the best with the pasta salad especially if you want to make it ahead. To cook pasta al dente, you normally have to boil pasta 2 minutes shorter than normal. For example, if the package instructions tell you to boil pasta for 10 minutes - cook the pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes instead.
- Peaches. This salad tastes the best made with fresh produce, so take advantage of the summer peach season, and use fresh yellow peaches. During other times of the year, you can use frozen peaches (defrosted) or canned peaches, even though the fresh peaches have the best flavor and texture, of course.
- Crispy up the prosciutto. Bake the prosciutto on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven at 350 F.
- Make it gluten-free. Use gluten-free pasta of your choice. Lentil or chickpea gluten-free pasta will taste great here.
- Store leftover summer peach pasta salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Tip: If you plan on refrigerating the salad, you can combine all the salad ingredients (including the salad dressing) but don't include spinach. Spinach should be mixed in immediately before serving to keep it from wilting.
How to make it ahead
The salad can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. If making it ahead, it's best to wait to add spinach at the last minute.
- Combine all salad ingredients together in a large bowl, except spinach.
- For best results, cook pasta al dente (see the previous paragraph) as firmer cooked pasta will keep better refrigerated.
- Mix in the salad dressing, tossing all ingredients well to combine. Pasta salads get only better after a day or two in the refrigerator, even with the salad dressing mixed in.
- Add fresh spinach only when ready to serve. Before adding spinach, reheat the pasta salad gently until just warm (or hot if you prefer it). Then, add spinach to the warm salad, mix it in, and serve!
Other peach salads
- Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes
- Peach Tomato Caprese Salad
- Peach Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Prosciutto
Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella Cheese
Ingredients you need to cook
- 8 oz fusilli spiral pasta or use rotini, farfalle (bow-tie), penne, or rigatoni
- 3 oz Prosciutto
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ whole lemon - juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons honey
Fresh Salad Ingredients
- 2 yellow peaches medium size
- 5 oz red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 5 oz yellow cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 8 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese (pearls - small balls)
- 5 oz spinach
- chives or green onions, chopped, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook pasta al dente according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- When the pasta is done, drain. Keep the drained pasta in the same pot where you cooked it.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread Prosciutto in single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Toast for about 10 minutes or more until crispy. Remove from oven.
Make salad dressing
- While the pasta is cooking, combine all salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Whisk well with a spoon, until emulsified.
- Wash, core, and slice yellow peaches.
- Slice each cherry (or grape) tomato in half.
- In a pot where you cooked the pasta, combine warm, cooked, and drained pasta together with the salad dressing. Mix well.
- Add sliced peaches, cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, spinach, and crispy Prosciutto. Toss to combine.
- Note: If you like your pasta salad a bit warm, reheat gently and briefly without adding spinach first. Add spinach off heat to the salad right before serving.
- When serving, top with chopped chives or green onions.
- Peaches. Wash peaches really well in running warm water to get rid of any dirt or debris.
- Serve warm or cold? This salad can be served either warm or cold. I prefer to serve it warm. Briefly and gently reheat it in a saucepan on the stovetop. In this case, add spinach off heat, so that it doesn't wilt too much.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.