A Caprese salad recipe is one of the simplest, most delicious summer recipes out there. It pairs mozzarella cheese with sweet juicy tomatoes and fresh basil. Tomato with cheese is one of the best food combinations and whether it's summer or winter, there are thousands of recipes to choose from.
Italian food is often my go-to when I want something fast, fresh and delicious and if you're looking for light lunches, this Caprese Salad recipe is an excellent option. It takes minutes to prepare but is packed full of flavour and will make you feel like you're sitting at a beautiful stylish restaurant on the Amalfi Coast.
Meaning of Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad or Insalata Caprese translates literally as the salad from Capri - the gorgeous sun-soaked island off Italy's famous Amalfi Coast. The Caprese Salad is rumoured to have been designed to mimic the Italian flag with the red, white and green colours of tomato, mozzarella and basil. So you could say that the meaning of Caprese Salad is Italy itself!
You can make your Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes as they are so sweet and it's easier to assemble or use larger Marmande tomatoes as I have done. You can also switch out the mozzarella and make a Burrata Caprese - but it's often harder to get hold of and doesn't keep as long.
Dressing for Caprese salad
The dressing for a Caprese salad is simply extra virgin olive oil and good quality balsamic vinegar, or I also like to use a balsamic glaze to really intensify the flavour.
Ingredients for Caprese salad
There are just three ingredients in a classic Caprese Salad recipe, making it one of the best options for light lunches in the summertime. They are ripe tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. You can then make a dressing too, I prefer a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze plus some salt and cracked black pepper.
- Mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar or glaze
See the recipe card for quantities.
Drain the Mozzarella and slice it into medallions or tear it into pieces. If you're using Burrata, wait until the last minute to add it to the dish. Cut the tomatoes into similarly sized pieces and layer them on a plate in a circle. Scatter the fresh basil on top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and you're good to go.
Simply slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and tear the basil over the top.
Hint: Allow the cheese and tomatoes to reach room temperature before serving to let their flavours sing.
If you're wondering what wine to serve with Caprese Salad I would recommend a Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio, the crisp acidity will cut through the richness of the mozzarella cheese.
Here are a few ways to make a Caprese salad a bit different.
- Other cheeses - Burrata is a great option or feta for a Greek twist
- Pasta - Make this dish more substantial by turning it into Penne Caprese!
- Pesto - Add a dollop of pesto on top instead of a balsamic dressing
The simplicity of this recipe means you all need is a fridge and a knife!
However, beautiful plating goes a long way. I love using the Amalfi tablescape box from The Table Stylist
Store the tomatoes and mozzarella separately in the fridge, and slice and combine when ready. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days but it is best eaten straight away.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
The best mozzarella cheese comes from the Campania region of Italy and is made from Buffalo milk so try and get this if you can! Always use ripe tomatoes that are in season to get the best flavour, you can use any kind like cherry, Marmande or heirloom. I always recommend growing your own herbs at home as they'll be as fresh as can be and you can add them to all of your home cooking creations.
Caprese salad recipe
- 200 grams Mozzarella cheese
- 4 Beefsteak tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
- 4-8 Fresh basil leaves
- Slice the tomatoes into pieces 1cm thick
- Slice or tear the mozzarella cheese into pieces
- Mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Plate the cheese and tomatoes, drizzle over the dressing and scatter the basil leaves over the top
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove