Caprese Salad

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This classic Caprese Salad is made with juicy tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze and you have the easiest, most delicious salad ever!

caprese salad on large white platter.

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Classic Caprese Salad is everyone’s favorite summer salad. It’s SO simple to make and basically summer on a plate. The best part? You only need three main ingredients:

  • Juicy tomatoes
  • Creamy fresh mozzarella
  • Fragrant basil

These ingredients are tied together with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. But don’t let the simplicity fool you – the flavors and textures are amazing! There is a reason this salad is forever favorite.

The key to a great caprese salad is using the best ingredients you can find. I like to use heirloom tomatoes for their vibrant colors and varied flavors. And the mozzarella? It’s got to be the good stuff – I’m talking about fresh, creamy mozzarella. Finally, basil adds freshness, color, and depth to the whole dish.

To put it all together, I alternate slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a big platter. Add fresh basil leaves and drizzle everything with olive oil and a pinch of flaky sea salt. That is it!

This salad is perfect for a quick summer appetizer, snack, or you can serve it as a side dish along side any meal. You can customize it by adding balsamic glaze or a splash of balsamic vinegar. If you want to make a meal, add some grilled chicken.

I like to make this salad during the summer months when garden tomatoes are at their peak and basil is plentiful. It’s so easy and always a hit.

basil, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to make caprese salad.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes: Store tomatoes at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, until you’re ready to use them. Don’t refrigerate tomatoes – the cold can make them lose their flavor and texture. I recommend using heirloom tomatoes or fresh garden tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • Mozzarella: Make sure you use FRESH mozzarella cheese. It is the best! Store it in its liquid in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • Basil: Store basil in the refrigerator to keep it fresh as long as possible. You can either wrap it in a damp paper towel or store it in a container with a little water in the bottom (like cut flowers). Don’t wash the basil until you’re ready to use it to prevent it from getting soggy or turning black.
  • Olive oil– use a good quality of olive oil because you are only using a little bit for drizzling over the salad.
  • Balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar– optional, but adds great flavor! You can buy balsamic glaze at most grocery stores. It is thicker than regular balsamic vinegar.
arranging tomato slices and fresh mozzarella slices on large white platter to make caprese salad.

How to Make Caprese Salad

  • Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a large platter. Tuck the basil leaves between the slices.
drizzling olive oil over caprese salad on large white platter.
  • Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic, if using.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
close up of caprese salad with tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

Salad Variations

  • Add some sliced prosciutto or salami for a salty, savory element.
  • Throw in some grilled chicken or shrimp to make the salad a meal.
  • Use different types of tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes or yellow tomatoes, for varied flavors and colors.
  • Add avocado slices for an extra creamy texture.
  • Layer in fresh peach slices for the ultimate summer caperese salad.
  • Finish the salad with a drizzle of hot honey.
  • Use burrata cheese instead of fresh mozzarella.
  • Serve crusty bread or garlic bread on the side for sopping up the juices.

What to Serve with Caprese Salad

Here are a few main dishes that go great with caprese salad.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature: If you’re serving the salad within a few hours, you can store it at room temperature. Just cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  • Refrigerator: If you need to store the salad for longer than a few hours, you can refrigerate it. Cover the salad tightly with plastic wrap and keep it cold until you’re ready to serve. I don’t recommend refrigerating the salad for too long because tomatoes lose their juicy flavor after being refrigerated.
caprese salad on plate with fork.

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Caprese Salad

This classic Caprese Salad is made with juicy tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze and you have the easiest, most delicious salad ever!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 3 to 4 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, about 20 leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar, optional
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a large platter. Tuck the basil leaves between the slices.
  • Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 212kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 359mg, Potassium: 189mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 896IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 293mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Keywords basil, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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