Caprese Sandwich

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This easy sandwich recipe can be yours in just 10 minutes. Caprese Sandwiches are a dreamy summer lunch idea; perfect for potlucks and picnics. The basil pesto aioli beautifully echoes the fresh basil leaves, making this one of the best summer sandwich recipes I’ve ever eaten.

A stack of caprese sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.


 

While I swoon over salads in summer, I can rarely convince my family that these qualify as a real meal. But magic happens when you simply stuff those salad fixings between bread; voila: a fast and family-friendly lunch idea!

These Caprese Sandwiches are exactly that. The just-so-happen-to-be vegetarian sandwiches are ready in 10 minutes flat, and the only cooking required is toasting up the rolls. The warmth from the bread will ever-so-slightly melt the fresh mozzarella, making these fresh and flavorful Caprese Sandwiches totally irresistible. Add a side of potato chips and fruit, pour a round of icy-cold lemonade, and slip on your sunglasses. It’s summertime, and the living is easy (and cheesy).

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Caprese sandwiches.

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

  • Basil pesto: Store-bought pesto is fine, or to make homemade pesto, in a food processor, add 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, 1 cup of fresh parsley, ¼ cup shredded Parmesan, ¼ cup walnuts, and 3 cloves of garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in ½ cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve 2 tablespoons for this recipe, then store the rest covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation).
  • Ciabatta rolls: Look for these in the bakery section of your supermarket. The dense, sturdy texture of the bread stands up well to the rest of the Caprese Sandwich ingredients. If you can’t find or don’t love ciabatta, try portions of baguette, focaccia, or thick slices of sourdough boule.
  • Arugula: The peppery kick of these leafy greens plays nicely with the sweet tomatoes and salty mozzarella. If you prefer something a little milder, opt for spinach.
  • 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.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Dressing for a caprese sandwich in a small clear bowl.
  1. Brush cut sides of ciabatta rolls with olive oil (I use about 1 tablespoon per half). In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and working in batches, place the ciabatta halves cut-side down and toast until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Caprese sandwich bread being toasted in a skillet.
  1. Spread pesto aioli on both sides of the toasted rolls. Add ¼ cup arugula to each sandwich. Add a layer of mozzarella slices, followed by tomato slices.
Caprese sandwiches being assembled on a wooden cutting board.
  1. Top each roll with 4 to 5 basil leaves. Drizzle balsamic over tomatoes, if desired, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Four caprese sandwiches laying on their sides on a wooden cutting board.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Caprese Sandwich recipe creates 6 vegetarian sandwiches; perfect for a satisfying lunch or light dinner. For heartier appetites, consider stacking on some shredded or thinly-sliced leftover rotisserie chicken.
  • Storage: These Caprese Sandwiches are best enjoyed immediately after assembly. Wrap leftover sandwiches with plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container, store in refrigerator 2 to 3 days.
  • Make ahead: Store sliced tomatoes and mozzarella separately in the refrigerator, then build the Caprese Sandwiches just prior to serving.
  • Caprese Chicken: For a hearty dinner idea, try Caprese Chicken, a one-skillet wonder of chicken breast, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Or, for a refreshing appetizer, try Caprese Salad instead.
Halved caprese sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

Recipe FAQs

Where should I store fresh basil?

Please don’t pop it in the fridge! Storing fresh basil in the refrigerator will leave you with brown, wilted leaves. Instead, trim the root stems of your basil bunch, place the herbs in a container with some water (such as in a mason jar, half-full with H2O), cover with a clear plastic bag, and store at room temperature.

More ways with tomatoes

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A stack of Caprese Sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

Caprese Sandwich

This easy sandwich recipe can be yours in just 10 minutes. Caprese Sandwiches are a dreamy summer lunch idea; perfect for potlucks and picnics. The basil pesto aioli beautifully echoes the fresh basil leaves, making this one of the best summer sandwich recipes I've ever eaten.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 sandwiches
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 401
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients 

For the pesto aioli:

For the sandwiches:

Instructions 

To make the pesto aioli:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches:

  • Brush cut sides of ciabatta rolls with olive oil (I use about 1 tablespoon per half). In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and working in batches, place the ciabatta halves cut-side down and toast until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Spread pesto aioli on both sides of the toasted rolls. Add ¼ cup arugula to each sandwich. Add a layer of mozzarella slices, followed by tomato slices.
  • Top each roll with 4 to 5 basil leaves. Drizzle balsamic over tomatoes, if desired, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. Basil pesto: Store-bought pesto is fine, or you can make homemade pesto.
  2. Ciabatta rolls: The dense, sturdy texture of bread stands up well to the rest of the Caprese Sandwich ingredients. If you can’t find or don’t love ciabatta, try portions of baguette, focaccia, or thick slices of sourdough boule.
  3. Arugula: The peppery kick of these leafy greens plays nicely with the sweet tomatoes and salty mozzarella. If you prefer something a little milder, opt for spinach.
  4. Fresh basil: Seek out lively, firm leaves without brownish spots, discolorations, or holes. 
  5. Yield: My Caprese Sandwich recipe creates 6 vegetarian sandwiches; perfect for a satisfying lunch or light dinner. For heartier appetites, consider stacking on some shredded or thinly-sliced leftover or rotisserie chicken.
  6. Make ahead: Store sliced tomatoes and mozzarella separately in the refrigerator, then build the Caprese Sandwiches just prior to serving.
  7. Storage: These Caprese Sandwiches are best enjoyed immediately after assembly. Wrap leftover sandwiches with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container, store in refrigerator 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 14gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 680mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1135IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 218mgIron: 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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