Caprese Salad is hands down one of my absolute favorite things to eat in summer. Sliced heirloom tomatoes, sliced mozzarella topped with olive oil, fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper and balsamic reduction is just heaven on a plate. It literally takes just 5 mins to put together.
Make it for a quick lunch, enjoy it along with some crusty bread and your evening glass of wine or add it to an Italian dinner menu as an antipasto or appetizer.
This is one of my favorite dishes to make or bring to a summer party. It is such a crowd pleaser and is incredibly easy to whip up. I would also pick a Lemon Garlic Tortellini Pasta Salad, Spinach Pea Salad with Fresh Pesto or the Classic Caprese Pasta Salad, if you want a little bit more than just the salad.
Not only is this delicious, it also looks pretty on a nice platter. So take out your best serving platter and lay this out to impress your guests, at your next party.
See how I used the word fresh everywhere when I described Caprese salad. Because, that is the absolute key element in making a killer Caprese salad. Fresh tomatoes and fragrant basil in the summer are the best things you can use to make this salad.
Everyone loves a good Caprese Salad and here’s why
- It is so fresh and delicious
- It is the perfect summer time dish that is light as well as filling.
- It goes really well with a glass of nice crisp white wine or rose
What is a Caprese Salad?
Caprese Salad or Insalata Caprese literally means “salad of Capri”, an island in Italy and is an Italian salad recipe. Caprese salad is typically made by layering fresh ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. This is then topped with salt, freshly crushed black pepper and good quality olive oil. Fresh sweet basil leaves can be layered with the tomatoes and mozzarella or sprinkled around on top of the salad.
The traditional Caprese salad recipe does not have balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar added to it. But over time a lot of Caprese salad recipes have some kind of balsamic vinegar added to it and we love it here with some balsamic glaze drizzled over it.
The acidity in the balsamic balances out the flavors a lot more, in my opinion.
- Heirloom Tomatoes - heirloom tomatoes have been used in this recipe. Use fresh ripe tomatoes of any kind. Slicing or heirloom tomatoes are the best.
- Mozzarella - Use fresh soft mozzarella in a Caprese salad. They are usually the ones with water in the container. Pre sliced fresh soft mozzarella also works great.
- Basil - use fresh basil leaves. In the summer, grow a small basil plant in your patio or kitchen window and use that. There is nothing more joyous than using fresh cut basil from your herb garden.
- Olive Oil - a good quality extra virgin olive oil is a must in this recipe.
- Balsamic Glaze - make your own balsamic glaze or use store bought balsamic glaze. Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar reduced with sugar and is very easy to make at home. I also always keep a bottle of my favorite balsamic glaze handy to use quickly when I need it.
- Salt and Pepper
How to make Caprese Salad
Assembling a Caprese salad is as easy as 1-2-3. Layer thick slices of tomatoes and equally thick slices of creamy mozzarella, alternatingly. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze over it. Season with flaky sea salt and pepper. Chiffonade some basil leaves and sprinkle over the top and decorate with some more whole basil leaves. Serve right away as is or with some crusty bread and a glass of chilled white wine.
Caprese salad can be served as is or with some crusty bread.
To make it a part of a simple dinner, pair it with some spaghetti Bolognese or spaghetti marinara and a side of garlic bread or plain rustic bread.
- Always serve this fresh salad at room temperature.
- Use fresh ingredients in season. Summer salads like this are best enjoyed seasonally in summer.
- Use the best olive oil you can find. A top quality extra-virgin olive oil is the best.
- This recipe can also be made with mozzarella pearls and grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
Easy Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes
Don't forget to check out Step-by-step instructions with photos in the body of the post above
- Alternate thick slices of tomatoes and equally thick slices of creamy mozzarella on a platter.
- Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze over it
- Season with flaky sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Chiffonade (stack basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up and slice them) some basil leaves and sprinkle over the top and decorate with some more whole basil leaves.