Those red ripe tomatoes are begging to be transformed into Caprese Salad! Juicy slices of tomato, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves all drizzled with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Only the freshest ingredients are used when making this Classic Caprese Salad Recipe!
This is one of my favorite salad recipes! It’s a perfect blend of yumminess and uses only a handful of fresh ingredients. Not only is this salad delicious, but it’s also just so darn pretty!
Tomato season is the perfect time of year for making this simple salad. This tomato and mozzarella salad is pretty versatile and can be served in many ways; try it as a light lunch, as an appetizer, or as a side dish with dinner. I like to serve this Caprese salad with a warm crusty baguette to soak up the tasty leftover olive oil.
What is Caprese salad?
Caprese salad, pronounced “kuh-pray-zay,” is believed to have originated on the Island of Capri and represents the colors of the Italian flag; red, white, and green. Caprese can be used to describe not just a salad but also a pizza or pasta.
Why You’ll Love This Tomato and Mozarella Salad
This classic Caprese salad comes together very easily. I like to make it in advance and let the flavors mingle before serving. It tastes great and has a stunning presentation, too!
Is eating Caprese salad healthy?
Healthy eating is always a good idea. Caprese salad can most definitely be part of a healthy diet. Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. As I’ve mentioned before my motto is everything in moderation.
Traditional Caprese Salad Recipe Ingredients
- Roma Tomatoes – I typically use Roma or Campari tomatoes but any variety of tomato will work. Another favorite are heirloom tomatoes. The key is to have really ripe, juicy tomatoes.
- Fresh Basil Leaves – only fresh basil works in this recipe for Caprese tomatoes. Dry basil doesn’t deliver the same taste. If you can’t get your hands on fresh basil try fresh oregano, parsley or even arugula would work.
- Fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced – fresh mozzarella is also known as bocconcini or buffalo mozzarella. Burrata cheese also works well though it is a bit more liquidy.
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive is my oil of choice
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic glaze is optional but recommended. The balsamic glaze adds a touch of sweetness.
How To Make This Easy Caprese Salad
This tomato mozzarella basil dish comes together easily with just a few ingredients.
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – or save yourself some work and purchased the sliced fresh mozzarella.
Layer the sliced tomatoes, sliced cheese, and fresh basil leaves on a serving platter, overlapping.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Spritz with balsamic vinegar or drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate to let the flavors marry, for about 2 hours. Enjoy with a sliced baguette as an appetizer, or alone as a salad.
Love it? Pin It!
If you can’t wait to make this classic Italian salad, I don’t blame you! Save the recipe by pinning it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!
FAQs About Caprese Salad
Can you make Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes?
You can absolutely use cherry tomatoes in a Caprese salad. If you are using cherry tomatoes I’d suggest you cut them in half so they are bite-sized. Similar to cherry tomatoes are grape tomatoes which can also be used in this tomato mozzarella salad. Consider using mini mozzarella balls with cherry or grape tomatoes. Caprese Skewers are a fun appetizer!
What goes well with Caprese salad?
Caprese salad goes well with anything really. I like to have it as a light lunch with a baguette or I also serve it as a side dish alongside a dinner of pasta or grilled chicken.
What are good substitutes for basil in a Caprese salad?
If you can’t find fresh basil look for another fresh herb. Oregano or parsley will work, as will some salad greens like arugula or watercress.
Can I use regular mozzarella cheese in a Caprese salad?
Though different in taste and texture, the block form of mozzarella can be used in a Caprese salad instead of fresh mozzarella. The taste and texture will be quite different, however. Block mozzarella sold in the dairy fridge in your grocery store is most often used for pizzas and baked pasta dishes.
How to Store This Tomato Salad
Caprese salad will keep well for a few days in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing this salad.
Tips & Tricks for Insalata Caprese
Tomatoes and mozzarella require red, ripe tomatoes. There is nothing worse than hard, tasteless tomatoes and they won’t do this Caprese salad any justice. Check your local Farmer’s market to get the best in-season tomatoes.
Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. I personally think that this salad tastes great after the flavors have had a chance to mingle in the fridge, and being able to make it ahead of time is always a perk.
More Italian Favorites
If you are a big fan of all things Italian food – you came to the right place! Here are more recipes with Italian flair to love:
- Italian Burger (pictured above)
- Caprese Tuna Salad
- Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan
- Italian Cheese Bombs
- Bucatini with Italian Sausage
- Sicilian Meatloaf
Ready to make (and eat!) the perfect Caprese Salad? Let’s get to the recipe!
- 4 Roma Tomatoes*
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic glaze, optional
- Slice tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese.
- Later the sliced tomatoes, sliced cheese and fresh basil leaves on a serving platter, overlapping. (see photo)
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Spritz with balsamic vinegar or drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
- Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate to let the flavors marry, for about 2 hours.
- Enjoy with sliced baguette as an appetizer, or alone as a salad.
You can use all sorts of fresh tomatoes for this recipe, just make sure they are nice ripe tomatoes. I love to use a mixture of Roma and Campari tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes also make a beautiful presentation with their vibrant colors!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
Nutrition isn't always accurate.
This recipe was originally posted on June 24, 2013. It has been updated to improve user experience and reshared on August 15, 2022.