This easy Caprese salad is filled with ripe tomatoes, mozzarella balls, fresh basil and then topped with a homemade balsamic glaze for the most delicious combination. Serve this crowd pleasing summertime salad as a side, appetizer or a light meal with crusty bread!
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A Classic Summer Side Dish
A fresh Caprese salad is the ultimate summer side dish! You just can’t go wrong with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil topped with balsamic. For an easy appetizer, I love to layer it on toast for bruschetta Caprese or make Caprese bread. I have even made Caprese pizza!
A classic Caprese salad recipe is made with slices of tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and larger pieces of basil on top. While I love the original version, I find chopping the ingredients is much easier to eat and perfect for a serving a crowd.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Tomatoes: I prefer to use cherry tomatoes because they are a great size and hold up really well. I add in about 1 pint, sliced in half.
- Basil: Make sure to use fresh basil leaves. It makes all the difference and adds so much flavor.
- Mozzarella: I love to use mini fresh mozzarella balls because they are the perfect size! No additional slicing required. If you can’t find them, you can dice up a big mozzarella ball into 1-inch pieces.
- Dressing: The balsamic dressing is simple, yet super flavorful. It consists of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper and dried oregano. If you don’t have oregano, you can mix in dried thyme instead.
- Optional: I love to drizzle on some balsamic reduction glaze right before serving. You can either make your own or buy it from the store.
How to Make Caprese Salad
The simplicity of this salad is allowing the fresh summer flavors to shine through for an absolutely delicious taste!
- Combine ingredients. Place the tomatoes, mozzarella balls and fresh chopped basil in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and dried oregano.
- Toss salad in dressing. Pour the dressing over the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Before serving, add more basil and S&P to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
- You can make your own balsamic glaze or use a store bought version.
- Can add in extras like sliced avocados or even mix in some fresh pesto for more basil flavor.
- This dish tastes best if served immediately, however it can be refrigerated for up to 1 day in an airtight container.
- For a traditional caprese salad, add sliced vine tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and larger pieces of basil to a large plate. Then sprinkle salt and pepper on top and drizzle on some olive oil.
- Bulk it up with some cooked pasta to make a caprese pasta salad.
How to Serve Caprese Salad
This salad is delicious as is or try it piled on toast with some smashed avocado. You can make a light meal out of it or pair with these main dishes.
- Summertime BBQ: Try it as a side with hamburgers, grilled chicken or grilled steak.
- Chicken dinner: Try it with chicken kabobs and some grilled potatoes.
- Seafood: Grilled shrimp skewers or salmon are also delicious alongside this Caprese salad.
This salad is name after the island of Capri where it is said to have originated. Capri is an island in Italy and this salad is called ‘Insalata Caprese’ which translates to the salad of Capri.
If you would like to. You can opt to season with only salt, pepper and olive oil. I find this works best when tomatoes are at their peak during the summertime. The balsamic adds additional flavor during months where tomatoes are not in season.
For this chopped Caprese salad, I prefer halved cherry tomatoes although grape tomatoes work as well. If you are layering slices of the salad, heirloom tomatoes are popular.
Fresh mozzarella is a key ingredient in this salad. You could try fresh burrata cheese but I would not use low moisture or part-skim mozzarella as it will change the texture of the salad and add additional salt.
More Tomato Recipes
Caprese Salad Recipe
Balsamic glaze, for serving
- Place the tomatoes, mozzarella balls and freshly chopped basil in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and dried oregano.
- Pour the dressing over the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Add more basil or salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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