- Food: Caprese Salad
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Make this Caprese salad dish with a ball of fresh mozzarella, a handful of basil, and the freshest tomatoes you can find before summer ends!
Over the years, I’ve shared a few Caprese salad recipes.
You’ll find one with strawberries, one with plums, one with a drizzle of mint pesto, and even beautiful little Caprese skewers with peaches if you search through the recipe index! You won’t find a classic Caprese salad with soft, creamy fresh mozzarella, luscious seasonal tomatoes, and a fair number of basil leaves, though.
It’s a salad that’s held a special place in my heart since we visited the island of Capri shortly after Jack proposed years ago.
It was a beautiful trip where we ate Caprese salads every day and wondered how a dish with so few components could taste so good.
This is a recipe that doesn’t really need one, but read on for some ideas on how to make the finest(!) Caprese salad, as well as a few more interesting variations.
How to Make It?
Wonderful ingredients are the foundation of a great Caprese salad. This recipe is best served throughout the summer when tomatoes are at their most ripe, tastiest, and flavorful.
I like to go to the farmer’s market and get as many different colored heirloom tomatoes as I can. They’re not just pretty, but each kind has its own distinct flavor, and it’s great to show them off in this simple salad.
Look for greens, yellows, and reds, as well as a range of shapes – cherry tomatoes are OK!
You’ll need these 5 easy ingredients in addition to tomatoes in season:
- Mozzarella cheese that has been freshly made. Look for water-packed mozzarella balls that are soft and spongy. Gently cut them into thick pieces using a good sharp knife. You don’t want your mozzarella to be crushed!
- Basil. There are just new leaves here! Place whole leaves on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella, or tear larger leaves carefully before adding them to the salad.
- Olive oil that is extra-virgin. It’s worth looking for a high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil to use in this recipe because you can really taste it. Extra-virgin olive oil has a rich, delicious flavor that complements the juicy slices of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil well; I wouldn’t recommend substituting another oil.
- Black pepper freshly ground – Now is the time to invest in a pepper grinder if you don’t already have one. For the finest flavor, grind it right on top of the salad!
a pinch of salt I like to use large pinches of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon sea salt, to season the salad.
- Regular sea salt will suffice, however, iodized salt should be avoided. It has a tiny bitterness to it that might stand out in a dish like this.
Layer the tomatoes and mozzarella slices on a dish with the fresh basil leaves. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.
Variations on the Caprese Salad
You’ll see that I recommend a few adjustments in the recipe below. While a typical Caprese salad made with good heirloom tomatoes is hard to match, it’s sometimes fun to mix things up. Here are a couple of my personal favorites:
- As in the burrata recipe, use half peaches and half tomatoes. Alternatively, omit the fresh mozzarella and serve the tomatoes and basil with a burrata ball instead!
- If you’re vegan, you can replace the cheese with avocado.
- Combine fresh basil and mint in a salad.
- For an extra tangy flavor, drizzle the whole thing in a balsamic reduction or glaze.
- Finish with a liberal dollop of basil pesto on top of the salad.
- For added crunch, top the salad with toasted pine nuts.
|Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
Time allotted: 10 minutes
Serving: 4–6 SERVINGS
To make this delightful summer salad, start by gathering the best tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella you can find.
- 3 to 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Fresh basil leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar or reduced balsamic
- Dollops of pesto
- Sliced peaches
- Mint leaves
- Avocado slices
- Strawberries, see this strawberry salad
- On a dish, arrange the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper after drizzling with olive oil.
- Add ingredients from the variants list if desired.