Caprese Salad

caprese salad on a plate

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  • 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. The salad is typically served with olive oil and some kind of vinegar.

We created a delicious balsamic vinegar glaze that is a little sweet and of course tangy. The flavors combine perfectly with the sweet tomatoes and creamy mozzarella cheese.

Caprese salad is traditionally a very simple salad, so all of the ingredients need to be the highest quality to make the flavors shine.

Make sure to use tomatoes that are in season and are juicy, ripe and flavorful. We love using heirloom tomatoes since they are so beautifully imperfect and almost always have amazing flavor. But you can substitute any of your favorite tomatoes, or whatever looks good at the store.

Ingredients

  • For the salad: 2-4 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 8-12 basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the balsamic glaze:
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    caprese salad ingredients on a board
  2. Cut the large tomatoes into approximately 1/4-inch slices. Use a serrated knife for the cleanest cuts.

    cut tomatoes on a cutting board
  3. Cut the fresh mozzarella cheese into 1/4 inch slices.

    fresh mozzarella sliced on a cutting board
  4. Salt the sliced tomatoes generously with kosher salt and set aside.

    salted tomatoes on a plate
  5. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium low heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir occasionally as it cooks and don't leave it unattended because it can easily scorch.

    balsamic glaze in a saucepan
  6. Layer a salted tomato, then one to two basil leaves and then a slice of mozzarella.

    layering mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and basil
  7. Keep layering these ingredients until you have filled up your platter. Drizzle with the olive oil, and more salt and pepper.

    caprese salad layered on a plate
  8. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar glaze over the top of the salad and serve immediately.

    balsamic drizzled over tomatoes and mozzarella cheese

Recipe Variations

  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice for extra tang.
  • Try topping the salad with homemade pesto instead of the balsamic glaze.
  • You can use cherry tomatoes, and small cherry sized mozzarella balls for a Caprese salad in a bowl.
  • Replace the mozzarella cheese with burrata, a form of mozzarella cheese that is soft on the inside with an firmer outer coating. But don't try to slice it before serving as it will not make for a pretty presentation. The inside is quite soft and should be kept intact until eating. Just serve the ball of burrata in the center of a ring of tomatoes and basil leaves.

Recipe Tips

For the best tasting mozzarella cheese, try to find one that is packed in water. This has the best flavor and the softest texture. Any fresh mozzarella cheese is fine, but the water packed is ideal.

Use in season tomatoes for the best flavor.

Use fresh basil, dried is not a good substitute.