It’s just not summer without this Caprese Salad Recipe! This classic Italian recipe includes thick slices of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, and it’s finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It’s an easy summer appetizer or side dish for any gathering and it comes together in minutes!

Caprese salad on a white platter

Summer means a few things to me….lots of grilling, cold brew coffee, and of course some of the most amazing produce is available.

There’s no comparison to sweet, juicy summer tomatoes — they’re head and shoulders above the flavorless ones in the stores any other time of year.

They make my horiatiki and pico de gallo recipes truly shine. And I won’t make this Caprese Salad recipe any other time of year.

The tomatoes are the star of the dish after all, so they’ve got to be the best. 🙂

Tomato mozzarella salad layered on a white platter with basil

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Caprese salad is the epitome of summer with sweet, juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil finished with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • This recipe is the perfect way to utilize an abundance of garden tomatoes and basil.
  • It’s an impressive yet easy summer appetizer or side dish that comes together in minutes.
  • It’s gluten-free and low carb, so it’s great for special diets.

Recipe ingredients

There are just a few ingredients in this Caprese salad recipe, and it can be changed up as shown in the ingredient notes below.

Caprese salad ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Tomatoes. I’ve used colorful heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, but you can use your favorite variety. Cherry tomatoes may also be be used…simply halve them and place them in a bowl with mozzarella balls and chopped basil.
  • Mozzarella cheese. Purchase large balls of fresh mozzarella, or halved mini mozzarella balls if using cherry tomatoes. This recipe calls for 16 ounces of cheese, but you can decrease it to 8 ounces if you layer the dish the way I have here. The ratio of two slices of tomato to one slice of mozzarella works fine for me!
  • Basil. Use fresh whole basil leaves, or chop it if you prefer.
  • Balsamic vinegar. I love drizzling a bit of balsamic vinegar over the top for added flavor, but you may omit it altogether like the classic recipe, or substitute it with balsamic glaze.
  • Olive oil. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for best results. I don’t recommend substituting it with any other type of oil.

How to make tomato mozzarella salad

It doesn’t get much better than this tomato mozzarella salad. It’s absolutely delicious, and it’s incredibly easy to make!

Assembling the salad

There are a couple of ways to go about assembling this dish. You can assemble it the classic way by overlapping slices of tomato, mozzarella and basil in a circular pattern, or change it up by layering it the way I have here.

The method I’ve used here does not require as much mozzarella cheese, so you can get away with using only 8 ounces if you prefer.

Pro tip: I highly recommend seasoning each slice of tomato with a bit of salt and pepper before assembling the salad. This enhances the flavor of every single bite.

See the recipe card below for full instructions.

How to make caprese salad
  1. Season each tomato slice with a bit of salt to enhance the flavor then layer on a platter.
  2. Top the tomatoes with a layer of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  3. Top the mozzarella cheese with additional slices of tomato.
  4. Add more mozzarella as needed, then tuck the fresh basil leaves and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Caprese salad recipe

FAQs

What is Caprese salad?

Caprese salad is a classic Italian salad consisting of slices of tomato, mozzarella, basil leaves and olive oil. It’s red, white and green to symbolize the Italian flag.

What can I use instead of basil in Caprese salad?

Basil is one of the main ingredients in Caprese salad. The only substitute that I would recommend would be drizzling basil pesto over the top if fresh basil is not available.

What goes well with Caprese salad?

Caprese salad is extremely versatile! It may be served as an impressive appetizer, or as a side dish with grilled steak, burgers or chicken.

Tomato mozzarella salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Serving suggestions

There are so many different ways to serve this versatile tomato mozzarella salad!

  • It makes an impressive yet easy appetizer for dinner parties or gatherings.
  • It’s great for lunch on a piece of toast or over your favorite grains such as quinoa or farro.
  • Caprese salad is a great side dish for grilled tomahawk steak, air fryer chicken and air fryer hamburgers.
  • Change up this classic salad by adding avocado, capers or olives, or drizzle with pesto sauce.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: I highly recommend seasoning each slice of tomato with a bit of salt and pepper before assembling the salad. This enhances the flavor of every single bite.
  • Use your favorite varieties of tomatoes, just be sure they’re the best quality you can find as they are the star of this dish!
  • This recipe calls for 16 ounces of cheese, but you can decrease it to 8 ounces if you layer the dish the way I have here. The ratio of two slices of tomato to one slice of mozzarella works fine for me!
  • The balsamic vinegar may be substituted with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or drizzle of balsamic glaze, or omit altogether for a classic Caprese salad.
  • This recipe is best served immediately, or within 1-2 hours of assembling. It will keep for up to 1-2 days in the refrigerator, but they tomatoes will become soggy.
Caprese salad with balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top

More summer salad recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?  If so, be sure to leave a review below and tag me @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Caprese salad on a white platter

Caprese Salad Recipe

This Caprese Salad Recipe is perfect for summer! Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil are finished with olive oil and balsamic for an easy appetizer or side dish that's guaranteed to impress!
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Ingredients

  • 4 medium tomatoes sliced 1/4" thick
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4" thick
  • 16 fresh basil leaves leave whole or chop into a chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar optional; see notes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Season each tomato slice with just a bit of salt to enhance flavor.
  • Overlap the slices of tomato and mozzarella, then tuck the basil leaves between them and over the top as desired.
  • Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Pro tip: I highly recommend seasoning each slice of tomato with a bit of salt and pepper before assembling the salad. This enhances the flavor of every single bite.
  • Use your favorite varieties of tomatoes, just be sure they’re the best quality you can find as they are the star of this dish!
  • This recipe calls for 16 ounces of cheese, but you can decrease it to 8 ounces if you layer the dish the way I have here. The ratio of two slices of tomato to one slice of mozzarella works fine for me!
  • The balsamic vinegar may be substituted with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or drizzle of balsamic glaze, or omit altogether for a classic Caprese salad.
  • This recipe is best served immediately, or within 1-2 hours of assembling. It will keep for up to 1-2 days in the refrigerator, but they tomatoes will become soggy.

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 360mg, Potassium: 196mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 938IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 295mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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