Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Salad
Summer’s greatest treasure, Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Salad is a simple, refreshing recipe that can be whipped up in minutes. The BEST summer side dish combines juicy tomatoes, buttery mozzarella and a simple Basil Pesto Vinaigrette that’s crazy good.
Moving from hearty comfort food to simple, yet comforting, salads is so easy when the weather heats up. There’s something magical about heading to the farmer’s market to see what fresh produce awaits. And the recipes can be even more simple because the vibrant flavors don’t need much to make them shine.
Juicy summer tomatoes are where it’s at for us….we love fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun. They’re so hard to find in the winter but once the weather turns balmy, they’re the best they can be. And it doesn’t matter what type of tomato you try….they’re all juicy, tender and perfect for this Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Salad recipe.
TOMATO MOZZARELLA SALAD
Caprese Salad, or Tomato Mozzarella Salad, is a simple side dish made of juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Typically, it’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper, a caprese salad recipe can include several twists to make it special.
On the regular, we simply slice tomatoes and fresh mozzarella then arrange on a platter with some basil leaves drizzled with a bit of olive oil. But when I’m feeding a crowd, I like to mix things up and use smaller tomatoes so you can eat them with just one bite.
Like a Margherita Pizza….it features the colors of the Italian flag; red, white and green.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Insalata Caprese, or Caprese Salad, as this salad iscalled in Italy, originated on the island of Capri, just south of the coast of Naples. The name translates to “salad of Capri”.
It’s a super healthy side dish you can enjoy guilt-free because the tomatoes are loaded with vitamins K and C, potassium, folate and antioxidants like lycopene.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CAPRESE SALAD
This easy salad is simple to make but what makes it shine is the quality of the ingredients.
You can skip the Basil Pesto Dressing, if you like, and simply drizzle your salad with a little olive oil and balsamic glaze. We love the vibrant punch of flavor you get with the Pesto Dressing so do give it a try once….I’m sure you’ll love it, too. The dressing comes together in under 30 seconds with a commercial pesto or my favorite homemade basil pesto recipe.
I like to make my Caprese Salad with cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes when tossing it in a big bowl as I did here. It makes it easier to eat when your serving it to friends at a picnic. Plus, the dressing gets into the nooks of the tomatoes making them extra tasty!
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add to a bowl.
Cut the mozzarella balls in half and add to the tomatoes. Set aside.
Whisk together the Basil Pesto and olive oil.
Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss to coat.
Arrange the salad on a platter and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Since this easy Tomato Caprese Salad is so simple, we like to serve it alongside equally simple entrees like this Baked Chicken Breast for a super healthy dinner.
MORE EASY SALAD RECIPES
If you love this Tomato Mozzarella Salad, you’ll also like this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad…it’s simple, fresh and sooo healthy.
But we also like making this Watermelon Feta Salad because it’s quick and refreshing for hot summer days.
Or for a fun twist on summer appetizers, try these easy Strawberry Caprese Skewers!
Originally published August 2012 and updated June 2020.
Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Salad Recipe
- 2 cups Cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella balls cut in half (Or cut a large mozzarella ball into 1/2 inch dice.)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Basil Pesto
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Add the tomatoes and mozzarella to a bowl. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and pesto.
- Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the basil.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.