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The wonderful flavours of the Mediterranean are blended together in this salad. The perfect Italian starter or side dish.
176 people made this
- 4 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 400g fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 75ml extra virgin olive oil
- 75ml balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
MethodPrep:15min ›Extra time:1hr marinating › Ready in:1hr15min
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, oil, vinegar, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss and chill for 1 hour. Serve on large serving plate
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(160)
Reviews in English (115)
Simple recipe, few ingredients but looks good and tastes delicious-12 Jan 2013
Tomatoes and fresh basil are a classic combination! It doesn't get much better or much simpler that this - it's absolutely delicious! I decreased the onion and I probably could have left it out altogether. I plated this vs. tossing in all in a bowl. Plus, I NEVER chill it, but rather leave it at room temperature. It's so fresh and so good it could be a meal in and of itself! It's perfect with a a side a crusty Italian bread and a good wine. A definite crowd pleaser!-02 Jun 2011
by LINDA MCLEAN
N.J. is known for growing the tastiest tomatoes in the country and we all know never to refrigerate these red beauties, as they will lose their flavor. After combining the ingredients, including garlic, I just let the mixture sit on my counter to absorb all the wonderful flavors. Ten minutes before serving I added the cheese. Thanks so much Kathy for a great side!!!!-28 Aug 2005
Ultimate Caprese Salad
Real talk: This is a dish to make when the tomatoes are peaking—at the farmers’ market, you should be able to smell them before you see them. The moment only comes around once a year, so make the most of it (which is to say, do very little with them). This is part of BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.
Caprese Salad Recipe
The beautiful part of a Caprese salad is that all of the traditional and class flavors pair well with chicken or creatives like crumbles of blue cheese or avocado. Do not be afraid to experiment and make a custom Caprese salad that you will love to change up and eat daily! While many people love to serve fresh salads like this in the holidays due to the colors and pretty much general idea that tomatoes and mozzarella go with EVERTYHING, the best time to enjoy a Caprese salad is when fresh tomatoes hit, around July.
In other versions of Caprese, we have experimented with hot caprese dip, everything bagel caprese salad and even this sweeter version of caprese with pears.
Scroll to the bottom for a printable version of this post, including all measurements and instructions, so you can follow along in your kitchen without being on your phone. Here is what simple ingredients you need to gather to get started:
- grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or even seasonal tomatoes on the vine
- pearls of Mozzarella cheese or sliced fresh mozzarella
- generous amount of fresh basil
- balsamic vinegar reduction – many classic Caprese salads only include a drizzle of olive oil, but balsamic vinegar reduction is a widely known taste of this salad
- seasonings like fresh cracked pepper and a bit of salt
ALTERNATIVELY: You can also make this 10 minute Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette that goes with this recipe beautifully.
Classic Caprese Salad
Grab a ball of fresh mozzarella, a handful of basil, and the best tomatoes you can find, and make this Caprese salad recipe before summer slips away!
I’ve posted a few Caprese salad recipes over the years. If you look through the recipe index, you’ll find one with strawberries, one with plums, one with a drizzle of mint pesto, and even cute little Caprese skewers with peaches! What you won’t find, though, is this: a classic Caprese salad with soft, creamy fresh mozzarella, juicy seasonal tomatoes, and a generous amount of basil leaves. It’s a salad that’s been near and dear to my heart ever since we visited the island of Capri, years ago, just after Jack proposed. It was a magical trip where we ate Caprese salads every day while questioning how a dish with such simple ingredients could possibly taste so amazing. This is a recipe that you hardly need a recipe for, but keep reading for my tips to make the best(!) Caprese salad, along with a few more fun variations.
How to Make Caprese Salad
A great Caprese salad starts with great ingredients. This recipe is meant for summertime, when tomatoes are at their juiciest, sweetest, and most flavorful. I like stop by the farmers market and collect as many colorful heirloom tomatoes as I can. Not only are they beautiful, but each type tastes a little bit different, and it’s fun to showcase them in this simple salad. Look for greens, yellows, and reds, and try to find a variety of shapes – cherry tomatoes are fair game here too!
In addition to peak-season tomatoes, you need these 5 simple ingredients:
- Fresh mozzarella cheese. Look for soft, spongy mozzarella balls that are packed in water. Use a good sharp knife to gently cut them into thick slices. You don’t want squished mozzarella!
- Basil. Only fresh leaves here! Dot them over the tomatoes and mozzarella whole, or gently tear larger leaves before adding them to the salad.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. It’s worth finding good-quality, 100% extra-virgin olive oil to use in this recipe, because you can really taste it here. Extra-virgin olive oil has a strong, fruity flavor that’s a great finishing touch for the juicy slices of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil – I don’t recommend using another oil in its place.
- Freshly ground black pepper. If you don’t already have a pepper grinder, now’s the time to get one. Grind it straight over the salad for the best flavor!
- Sea salt. I like to sprinkle the salad with generous pinches of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon sea salt. Regular sea salt will work too, but skip the iodized stuff here. It has a slightly bitter taste that can stick out in such a simple dish.
Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella and layer them onto a platter with the fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve!
Caprese Salad Recipe Variations
In the recipe below, you’ll see that I suggest a few variations. While it’s hard to beat a traditional Caprese salad made with good heirloom tomatoes, sometimes it’s fun to change things up. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do it:
Marinated Caprese Salad
This Marinated Caprese Salad recipe is a great side dish. Marinated in balsamic dressing and herbs, it is bursting with flavor. If you want a colorful appetizer or side dish, this Marinated Caprese Salad is perfect.
MARINATED CAPRESE SALAD
We’re going on a cruise in a month and I’ve been looking for swimsuits online. If you have any recommendations on where to get modest and cute swimsuits I would love to hear them.
What I don’t love is that once you search anything online all of the ads on your sidebar immediately turn into whatever you’ve been searching for.
I swear I’ve even just talked about things like See’s candy, not even searched it, and I started getting See’s chocolate ads. Big Brother is real…I’m telling ya.
So now I can’t get away from the swimsuit ads. Whenever I scroll through Instagram (keep in mind that 95% of the people I follow are food bloggers) every other frame is an ad for some swimsuit company.
Food, food, food, swimsuit. Food, swimsuit, food, food. You get the picture.
I think it has subconsciously made me stop looking at cupcakes and start looking at healthier food.
Caprese salad is one of my favorite salads ever. My only issue ever is that if not done right the tomatoes can be soggy and there isn’t enough flavor.
The reason I love this Marinated Caprese Salad recipe solves that problem because it uses cherry tomatoes which have a little more snap back.
And the little pearl mozzarella are so cute! If you can’t find them by all means just dice up any mozzarella balls into chunks. This salad reminds me a lot of this Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad.
Since the salad is marinated in balsamic vinegar you don’t really need the balsamic glaze on top but it does give it that pop of color.
Cut tomatoes into an assortment of slices and chunks and spread over a large plate in a single, slightly overlapping layer. Tuck chunks of mozzarella into the tomato pieces. Drizzle generously with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and black pepper. Tear basil leaves into small pieces with your fingertips and spread them on top. Serve immediately.
If you have fresh mozzarella from the dairy, do not refrigerate it, as this will cause it to tighten and lose its juicy texture. If you find yourself with refrigerated mozzarella, the best way to restore it to its former glory is by submerging it in warm, salty milk for a spell.
Caprese salad is the ultimate example of simple preparation with fresh ingredients making amazing food, not just to eat but look at. It is also the best way to show off any tomatoes you saw at the farmer's market or have in your backyard. Though the preparation is pretty straightforward there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
What should I look for when buying tomatoes?
Since tomatoes are the true star of this dish, we want to focus on freshness. The growing season can vary depending on where you live, but it's safe to say that in 99% of cases, the best time to make caprese salad is mid to late summer. (Into early fall in certain parts of the country!) When shopping, inspect each tomato. They should feel heavy in your hands and show a bit of resistance when pressed. (But don't squeeze them!) They should smell a bit earthy and sweet. We love the traditional bright red beefsteak tomatoes, but if heirlooms are great too they can add new dimensions of flavor, not to mention beautiful color.
Is there any difference in the mozzarella I buy?
Yes! For caprese salad you want to avoid anything aged or labeled as "low moisture". These cheeses won't give you the luscious creaminess needed to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Secondly, if you can get your hands on it, look for any mozzarella that is packaged in water or brine, which really helps to maintain the cheese's flavor and texture.
Use course and crunchy salt and pepper!
Salt is a tomato's best friend. Even the lightest sprinkling of salt on a slice of tomato helps to bring out the sweetness and the natural umami. So don't hold back! Freshly ground, coarse black pepper will impart a slight floral heat that will take the dish to the next level.
Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to the ultimate summer salad. Love caprese but wish it was a little bit cuter? Why not give these mini caprese bites a try?
(Tomato and Mozzarella Salad)
Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They'd order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow's-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella and basil.
The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are imperative: Hothouse tomatoes and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.
Just about my favorite thing on earth. Thick slices of tomato and mozzarella, flavored with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and a beautiful balsamic reduction. Simple, but oh so impressive.
whole ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
mozzarella cheese, sliced thick
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or cruet. Allow to cool.
- When you're ready to serve, arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction, making designs if you want. Store extra balsamic reduction in fridge for a later use.
- End with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Serve as a lunch, with crusty bread. Or serve alongside a beef main course for dinner.
I love Caprese Salad so much it actually hurts. I love it as a main dish salad, I love it as a side dish with beef, I love it as an appetizer before a meal, I love it as a mid-afternoon snack. Caprese is truly a magical and perfect combination of flavors, textures, and freshness: ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and some kind of drizzle of either olive oil or balsamic&hellipor both.
For this Caprese, I used a simple balsamic reduction, which results in a pretty presentation and gorgeous flavor.
Serve a platter of Caprese Salad as a 4th of July appetizer! I usually do, and it&rsquos always a welcome treat amidst all the burgers and hot dogs and ribs and celebration and fun.
Start with the balsamic reduction. It&rsquos a cinch&ndashjust don&rsquot walk outside to water your garden while it&rsquos reducing or you&rsquoll wind up having to do it all over again.
I speak from experience here, people.
Precise measurements aren&rsquot important you can do a whole bottle or just a small amount, but if I&rsquom going to go to the trouble, I often just do a whole bottle.
Which means when I go outside and water my garden and forget about it, I waste a whole bottle and have to start over.
Pour it into a small saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil over medium to medium-low heat.
Watermelons and Child Paintings: A Still Life.
Let the balsamic reduce for a good ten to twenty minutes, depending on how much you&rsquore reducing.
It&rsquoll slowly start to thicken. Remove it from the heat when it&rsquos a nice, thick (but still pourable) glaze.
Again, I burned my first batch and had to do it again. This is my second batch, which I stuck in the fridge to cool since I was chasing daylight and was so hungry for Caprese I couldn&rsquot see straight. Since it&rsquos cool, it looks a little thick&hellipbut it wound up being the perfect consistency.
You need mozzarella, tomatoes, lots of basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and the balsamic reduction.
And you&rsquoll need the sheer will to get Caprese in your mouth as soon as humanly possible.
Cut the tomatoes into slightly thick slices.
Do the same with the mozzarella.
Basil, basil, basil. I&rsquoll have you know that I have approximately fourteen thousand basil plants in my garden. For the first time in a long time, I feel there&rsquos something to hope for each day.
Alternate tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter you bought at Sam&rsquos Club one summer in a fit of rage.
Have you ever bought a platter at Sam&rsquos Club in a fit of rage?
Pretty, but it&rsquos not good enough.
Tuck basil leaves in between each slice.
I&rsquom starting to get excited now.
Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil&hellip
And, finally, a beautiful drizzle of the balsamic reduction.
There&rsquos nothing like that beautiful dark-colored gloss. It&rsquos such a contrast to the red, green, and white.
Because the basil leaves are all drizzled with stuff, I throw on a few pure and holy ones at the end just for kicks. Also, sprinkle on kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divine.
Total loveliness. Now, you&rsquoll notice that on the moist/wet mozzarella, the balsamic reduction starts to seep and run (a watercolor effect)&ndashbut on the basil leaves and platter, it remains more of a semi-solid glaze. So if you&rsquore artistic (and I&rsquom not) you can create designs on the sides of your platter to really up the presentation factor.
- 1 Cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 8 Ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 Cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 Cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Bring rice and 1 ¾ cups water to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook the rice until just tender, 15-20 minutes. Spread rice on a tray to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant. Add the cooled rice and fry lighted to warm through. Toss in a bowl along with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and some salt and pepper for seasoning. In a small bowl, whisk the oil and lemon juice together in a small bowl and pour over the salad, tossing gently until all the rice is coated and ingredients are mixed well. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Just before serving, toss in the basil, check seasonings, and serve.