Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

The Spruce Eats / Anita Schecter

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
218 Calories
20g Fat
3g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 Servings
Amount per serving
Calories 218
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 268mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 7g
Calcium 183mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Caprese is the name for a simple Italian salad made of sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. The colors are meant to represent the red, white, and green of the Italian flag and the salad is usually dressed simply with either an Italian vinaigrette or just some good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Many restaurants—certainly all Italian restaurants—feature the dish on their salad menu and it is a popular favorite.

Although most times a caprese salad will be served with simple ingredients and the traditional plating of overlapping circles of tomato and mozzarella slices, there is room for tasty variations. Balsamic vinegar is a popular option because the taste of an aged balsamic combined with fresh mozzarella cheese is spectacular. Another fun twist is to make a pesto dressing to pour over the cheese and tomatoes. Olives might be served alongside this salad and a generous sprinkling of dried oregano matches all the flavors perfectly.

Big, juicy, ripe tomatoes are important here, but we love taking advantage of summer's heirloom tomato bounty. Mix and match all the colors, shapes, and sizes of ripe heirlooms for extra bursts of taste and beautiful presentations.

Ingredients

  • For the Salad:
  • 2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup assorted basil leaves
  • For the Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Using a sharp paring knife, core out the stem end of the large tomatoes and remove any of the white flesh near the stem.

  3. Cut the large tomatoes into approximately 1/4-inch slices (a serrated edge knife will work well for this). Slice the smaller tomatoes in halves or quarters. Cut the mozzarella into similarly sized 1/4-inch slices.

  4. Layer the tomato and mozzarella slices on a serving platter or on four individual salad plates and scatter the smaller tomatoes around the plate.

  5. Scatter the basil leaves across the salad. Use the smaller leaves as well as the larger ones since the tomatoes are different sizes. If you prefer, you can stack the basil leaves on top of one another, roll them tightly, and slice the roll using a sharp knife. That will give you a chiffonade, or ribbons, of basil to scatter over the salad.

  6. Layer the tomato and mozzarella slices on a serving platter or on four individual salad plates. You can layer them quite literally, just on top of one another, or fan them out more, which is what we prefer, so every layer gets a hit of the basil and the olive oil that are to come.

  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, dried oregano, salt and pepper.

  8. Drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.

Recipe Variations

  • Whisk a teaspoon of mustard into the dressing. It will help emulsify it and give you a tangy and slightly thicker consistency.
  • Try using red wine vinegar instead of the fresh lemon juice in the dressing.
  • Drizzle a good quality balsamic vinegar over the salad and particularly the mozzarella cheese.