Caprese Salad

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This easy Caprese Salad recipe tastes like summer on a plate. Ready in just 7 minutes, this no-cook side dish idea asks for just 3 fresh ingredients and a couple of pantry staples. Talk about a no-sweat summer recipe!

Caprese salad on a white oval plate.


 

Fresh tomatoes and basil are a match made in flavor heaven, and luckily, these garden goodies are at their best around the same each year: summer. While you could put the tomatoes to great use in a main dish like Zucchini Parmesan, Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup, or Spaghetti and Meatballs, then shower that all with fresh basil, I love letting the perky duo shine in this easy Caprese Salad recipe.

This no-cook side dish or appetizer recipe is a refreshing way to kick off any summer meal. And you don’t have to wait long to make a Caprese Salad yours; this entire recipe takes just 7 minutes, start to finish.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Caprese Salad.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Fresh basil: Seek out lively, firm leaves without brownish spots, discolorations, or holes. I swear by my full-blown basil plant, which I bought in the produce section of my grocery store for about the same price as a single package of the herb. You can also grow fresh basil in an indoor or outdoor herb garden, or snag some at the farmers market when it’s in season.
  • Fresh mozzarella: Compared to regular, firm mozzarella, fresh mozzarella has a silkier, creamier texture and slightly more salty kick. If you can find fresh mozzarella sold in a liquid brine with a base of whey or water, opt for that; the liquid helps the cheese maintain its hydration during storage. Otherwise, fresh mozzarella sold in shrink-wrapped packaging will do.
  • Balsamic vinegar: You may feel that the acidity of the tomatoes is enough, but it’s common that Caprese variations are served with balsamic vinegar. For even more flavor and a richer consistency, swap in my homemade Fig and Balsamic Glaze.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. On a large shallow platter, arrange alternating layers of tomato and mozzarella slices, adding a basil leaf to each one.
Caprese salad on a white plate.
  1. Drizzle salad with olive oil and balsamic, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Caprese salad on a white oval plate.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Caprese Salad recipe creates 4 to 6 appetizer or side-dish servings, depending on the appetites of your crew. I love serving Caprese Salad with Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, Baked Cod, Italian Beef Sandwiches, Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, or Grilled New York Strip Steak; you could pair this with any of your favorite entrees, though.
  • Storage: Caprese Salad is best served immediately. If you have any leftovers, wrap them in plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container, then store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • Make ahead: Store sliced tomatoes and mozzarella separately and assemble just prior to serving. 
  • Caprese Chicken: This hearty, Caprese-inspired main dish combines skillet-poached chicken breast with juicy grape tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Or for a delicious easy lunch, try my Caprese Sandwich.
A small plate of caprese salad next to a large platter of caprese salad.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use other fruit besides tomatoes in Caprese Salad?

Peach Caprese Salads are incredible as well. You can either alternate tomato-mozzarella-peach-mozzarella, or substitute all of the tomatoes with peach slices.

Where should I store fresh basil?

Anywhere that’s room temperature. Refrigerating fresh basil will leave you with brown, wilted leaves. Instead, trim the root stems, place the basil in a container (like a mason jar) with some water, cover it with a clear plastic bag, and store it at room temp.

Bonus basil recipes

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Caprese salad on a white serving dish with a blue rim.

Caprese Salad

This easy Caprese Salad recipe tastes like summer on a plate. Ready in just 7 minutes, this no-cook side dish idea asks for just 3 fresh ingredients and a couple pantry staples. Talk about a no-sweat summer recipe!
Prep Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Calories 187
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • On a large shallow platter, arrange alternating layers of tomato and mozzarella slices, adding a basil leaf to each one.
  • Drizzle salad with olive oil and balsamic, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

  1. Fresh basil: Seek out lively, firm leaves without brownish spots, discolorations, or holes. I swear by my full-blown basil plant, which I bought in the produce section of my grocery store for about the same price as a single package of the herb.
  2. Fresh mozzarella: Compared to regular, firm mozzarella, fresh mozzarella has a silkier, creamier texture and slightly more salty kick. If you can find fresh mozzarella sold in a liquid brine with a base of whey or water, opt for that; the liquid helps the cheese maintain its hydration during storage. Otherwise, fresh mozzarella sold in shrink-wrapped packaging will do.
  3. Balsamic vinegar: You may feel that the acidity of the tomatoes is enough, but it’s common that Caprese variations are served with balsamic vinegar. 
  4. Yield: My Caprese Salad recipe creates 4 to 6 appetizer or side servings, depending on the appetites of your crew.
  5. Storage: Caprese Salads are best served immediately. If you have any leftovers, wrap them in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container, then store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 187kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 13gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 359mgPotassium: 267mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1256IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 298mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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