Caprese Salad consists of fresh heirloom tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella, and delicious herbs, with a simple dressing of balsamic and olive oil for a fantastic fresh summer salad.
This salad is loaded with the best ingredients, but is so simple and tasty!
Bright and fresh red heirloom tomatoes, fresh, creamy mozzarella, vibrant green basil, partnered with the best duo, olive oil and balsamic, this Caprese Salad recipe is one for the books.
Caprese Salad is easy to make, only requires a handful of ingredients, and the simplicity of the caprese salad dressing really showcases the fresh food. This Caprese Salad recipe makes for a great lunch, appetizer, side, or snack.
I love how Caprese Salad is simple, yet makes a splash. Eating some leftovers, like this all-purpose chicken, for lunch or simply whipping up more when I am in the mood for another serving. It is an unforgettable dish and makes the idea of having a salad so fun!
How To Make Caprese Salad:
Okay are you ready for this my friends. Not only is this salad so delicious, it is so easy to make. I mean really, here is a dish that you can whip up at anytime and after making it once or twice you will have the recipe memorized.
- 1/4 c fresh basil
- 1.5 c diced heirlooms
- 1 c fresh mozzarella
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs balsamic oil
Toss these ingredients together and mix with the dressing. Some like to mix the olive oil and balsamic together, but I personally prefer to leave them separate.
Mix veggies with the olive oil and then drizzle balsamic over the top, for that signature Caprese Salad look. And there you have it! That’s it. Can you believe it?
The key is using great ingredients. Smell those tomatoes, and make sure they are ripe and going to be flavorful.
Use fresh basil.
Find soft and delicious mozzarella.
2 Suggestions for Caprese Salad:
This is one of the easiest salads ever, but to take it up a notch, consider the following two tips
- Tear mozzarella into chunks or cut into bite sized pieces
- Use Chiffoned Basil.
Fancy word huh? Chiffonade or chiffoned is simply referring to how to cut the basil. Simply, place leaves on top of each other and roll them together like a snake or cigarette. Then cut into thin strands.
This means you get a nice sprinkling of basil throughout and not one overpowering bite.
This method offers a nice texture to the salad, and good distribution.
Caprese Salad Dressing:
Let’s talk about the dressing for a minute.
This dressing is simple and flavorful. Simple dressings allow the flavor of the tomatoes and cheese and basil to shine through. I want the salad to be about the fresh ingredients and how they compliment each other, with something to help elevate those flavors, not cover them.
The goal of this dressing is not to over power the rest of the food, and bonus, you probably have everything you need for it already.
However, I will say, if tomatoes aren’t in season and aren’t as good/sweet, I will sometimes add a little extra to the dressing to kick up the flavors. If you want to dress it up a bit here are a few suggestions:
- Whole Grain Mustard
Any of those ingredients will compliment this dressing well.
Can You Make Caprese Salad Ahead?
It depends how far ahead we are talking here. A couple of days ahead? Definitely not.
A few hours ahead? Sure.
I like to eat salad as fresh as possible. My recommendation is to make it just right before you are ready to eat. Like 15 minutes before.
It is a short list of ingredients, so it is a really simple and easy to make salad and does not take that long to make.
However, I understand if you feel like you are going to be crunched for time at that dinner hour and have all these other things to do and one more thing is going to put you over the edge, so you want to get ahead of the game.
Trust me your case is made. I have been there. Take a deep breath then and make salad up to a few hours ahead. Just wait to dress it.
Tips for Storing Caprese Salad:
- Leave basil out and add right before serving so you can prevent the basil from wilting.
- To avoid any possible extra liquid in your salad, don’t add dressing until ready to serve.
- If you want the salad to have a chance to have the flavors meld together with the dressing, then add the dressing with the salad 15 minutes ahead of serving time.
- Store salad in the fridge until ready to serve. For leftovers, store for up to 1-2 days. Warning: It is best fresh.
Note: I personally don’t like to add the dressing until ready to eat just because I don’t want to chance the salad having extra liquid or veggies getting soggy and not feeling less fresh.
Variations or Add-Ins:
This is a great traditional Caprese Salad recipe. I love the simplicity, yet the punch of flavor that the combination of ingredients offer.
However, I get it if you want to add some extras in from time to time. Sometimes you have a favorite ice cream and although it’s perfect, that doesn’t mean you don’t want some toppings every once in awhile. The same can apply here with this recipe.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing all the add-ins at once. I’d pick one from the list. Or play around and have fun with it.
It’s kind of like when remaking a song, you can’t change it too much from the original or it won’t feel like it’s the same song. Same with this salad, if you add to many different elements, you may veer too far off course for it to still feel like a caprese salad.
Plus all those ingredients together aren’t necessarily complimentary.
In addition to add-in, there are also some great dishes you can make that are inspired by the caprese salad.
Variations to the Salad:
- Caprese Baked Cheese Dip
- Mozzarella Caprese Bites
- Caprese Stuffed Chicken Breast
- Traditional Caprese— serve salad as a platter (cut tomatoes into slices, alternating with sliced mozzarella and drizzled with dressing)
The flavor profile provided by these ingredients, results in so many possibilities. And those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes means lots of color and flavor.
Whip up this delicious Caprese Salad and serve along side a bowl of homemade Lasagna Soup.
If you want to make this meal extra special, don’t stop there. In addition to these delicious treats, make this Cheesy Garlic Bread Recipe and finish off the meal with a delicious citrusy dessert like Lemon Squares.
Oh wow my mouth is watering just thinking about this meal.
Make this Caprese Salad Tonight!
What are you waiting for? I’m sure you have had salad before, but I’m not so sure you have had anything like this before. Caprese Salad is so flavorful and easy to make. Those are two important components in my book.
Make this salad for a fun lunch, flavorful snack, fantastic appetizer, or fabulous side. Either way you can’t go wrong with a salad like this.
Now that I have gotten you in the mood for that fabulous caprese flavor, here are some other caprese favorites.
Other Caprese Dishes To Try:
- 1/4 cup basil chiffoned
- 1 1/2 cups heirloom tomatoes diced
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare your ingredients by dicing heirloom tomatoes, chiffon basil (see note), and either chop up mozzarella into bite sized pieces or use the small balls of it.
- Once all ingredients are prepared, place them in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil and balsamic over the top, toss to combine.
- Garnish with more fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper to preference.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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