This Caprese salad recipe is easy and elegant!
A delicious salad with slices of tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and creamy mozzarella cheese under a drizzle of oil and balsamic.
It’s the perfect appetizer or side that can be served all year round.
An Italian Favorite
With the colors of the Italian flag, Insalata Caprese (ka-pray-zee) as delicious as it is beautiful. This salad originates from the island of Capri and is made with ripe, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves.
Caprese Salad Ingredients
Tomatoes – Use any variety of ripe and juicy tomatoes. The key to the best caprese salad is ripe and flavorful tomatoes.
Thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak, or meaty Romas make perfect slicing tomatoes, while halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes work better in a Caprese pasta salad.
Mozzarella Cheese – For this recipe, use fresh mozzarella cheese or bocconcini, which is different than a pizza mozzarella. It is soft and creamy with a delicious mild flavor. If you can’t find fresh mozza, burrata cheese.
Fresh Basil – Fresh basil leaves are key to this salad. Cut them into ribbons (aka chiffonade) or tear the whole leaves into pieces. Fresh basil doesn’t last very long, so I prefer to buy a basil plant at the grocery store. It doesn’t cost much more but it lasts longer and is great on everything from pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
Seasonings – Extra virgin olive oil and some flaky salt and pepper are all that’s needed. While it’s not traditional, balsamic vinegar is delicious on this salad, or try balsamic glaze or reduction for a sweeter flavor. You can also drizzle with homemade Italian dressing or basil pesto. Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and some fresh black pepper.
How to Make Caprese Salad
- Slice tomatoes and cheese and arrange them on a serving platter.
- Drizzle with oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange basil leaves around the salad and serve immediately.
Showcase in-season fruits and produce for a new spin on a traditional Caprese salad.
- Add strawberries, peaches, or avocados to a Caprese platter
- Layer with thin slices of Italian deli meat like prosciutto, mortadella, or soppressata
- Turn leftovers into a Caprese sandwich with salad greens on a baguette. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (the flavors will blend!) and enjoy a fancy workday lunch!
Arrange tomatoes and cheese on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge up to a day before. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and seasonings just before serving.
How to Store Caprese Salad
Keep leftover Caprese salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve as is, or chop it up and serve it with crostini or over thick pieces of garlic bread for a bruschetta appetizer, or baked over chicken.
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- 1 pound ripe tomatoes any variety
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella cocktail size
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- balsamic vinegar optional
- Using a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes into ½-inch thick slices. Slice cheese into ¼" slices.
- Arrange tomatoes and cheese on a plate or platter.
- Drizzle with olive oil (and balsamic vinegar if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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