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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad is a light and fresh salad that can be served as an appetizer or side dish. It’s made with juicy, sweet red tomatoes, creamy mozzarella pearls and is served with a tangy balsamic glaze for a versatile flavor combination!

Caprese salad is a tomato and mozzarella cheese salad that originated in Capri, Italy. It is light and refreshing with a simple flavor combination of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and tangy balsamic vinegar.

This salad is traditionally served using large sliced tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. This twist on the classic recipe uses juicy cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls to create an option that can be served easily and enjoyed.

Caprese salad is always a great option as an appetizer alongside crackers and sliced bread for parties and special occasions, especially in the summer months as it’s very light.

It is also delicious on top of a bed of greens to turn it into a healthy green salad. Serve caprese salad alongside your favorite entree to make a full well-rounded meal that tastes fresh and satisfying!

White platter filled with caprese salad.

Ingredients Needed for Caprese Salad

  • Cherry Tomatoes – These are small, round tomatoes that have a sweet and tangy flavor. They are perfect for this Caprese salad recipe because the sweetness pairs well with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Mozzarella Pearls – These are mini mozzarella balls that can be found at most grocery stores near the specialty cheese section.
  • Olive Oil – This is a key ingredient in this recipe as it helps to bring out the flavors of the tomatoes and cheese. You can use any type of olive oil that you prefer, but I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Garlic Powder – This is a seasoning that can be added to taste that adds a layer of garlic flavor to the salad.
  • Italian Seasoning – Gives this salad a fresh herb taste.
  • Salt & Pepper – Balances the fresh flavors in the dish.
  • Fresh Basil – Used as a garnish, but can also be substituted with parsley if you don’t have any basil on hand.
  • Balsamic Glaze – A thick and syrupy balsamic vinegar that is aged in oak barrels for a deeper flavor. It can usually be found near the vinegar or specialty condiments at your grocery store.
Ingredients needed for caprese salad.

How To Make Caprese Salad

  1. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl: In a large bowl add the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese pearls.
  2. Season the salad: Pour in the olive oil and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Give it a toss with tongs or a wooden spoon to make sure everything is fully coated and seasoned.
  3. Garnish and serve: Ladle the salad on a large serving dish, then top with freshly chopped basil. Add balsamic glaze on the side or drizzle it on top for flavor.
Collage showing how to make caprese salad.

Recipe Tips

  1. If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, you can use fresh sliced mozzarella cheese instead. Cut into bite-sized cubes that are roughly the same size as the tomatoes. This would consist of two 8 ounce fresh mozzarella balls or a 16-ounce log.
  2. You can leave the tomatoes whole or slice them in half to create more volume and more surface to add flavor.
  3. If you don’t have a large serving dish, this Caprese salad can also be served in small individual bowls.
  4. You can add more or less garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste depending on how much of each flavor you prefer.
  5. The balsamic glaze can be served on the side for dipping or drizzled on top of the finished salad.
  6. Caprese salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Just allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for olive oil to warm up. Then toss to coat again. 

Variations

  • Substitute the cherry tomatoes with any other type of tomatoes such as Roma or heirloom.
  • If you don’t like mozzarella cheese, you can use another type of soft cheese such as blue cheese, feta, or ricotta.
  • You could also add some cooked chicken or ham to this salad for extra protein.
  • The balsamic glaze can be substituted with a thicker balsamic vinegar like Modena.
  • Change up the shape and arrange it in a circle like a wreath for holiday gatherings.
Cherry tomato and mozzarella on a fork.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: Keep the Caprese salad in a sealed container with a thin layer of olive oil to keep it from drying out. Store this Caprese salad recipe for up to three days in the fridge.

Freezing: Because this salad uses fresh ingredients and fresh cheese, it will not freeze and thaw well. Therefore, freezing is not recommended.

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White square dish filled caprese salad and wheat crackers.

Caprese Salad

Yield: About 6 Cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Caprese Salad is a light and fresh salad that can be served as an appetizer or side dish. It's made with juicy, sweet red tomatoes, creamy mozzarella pearls and is served with a tangy balsamic glaze for a versatile flavor combination!

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese pearls
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
  • Balsamic glaze, for dipping

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese pearls.
  2. Add the olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Place mixture on a serving dish, and garnish with fresh basil. Serve with a balsamic glaze.
  4. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1.5 cups of chili. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Photos courtesy of Krista Gent Photography.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 328mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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