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I love making the most of summer tomatoes by showing them in recipes like tomato and avocado salad, stuffed tomatoes and this super easy tomato mozzarella dish.
Every spring I plant a variety of tomato plants in my garden in hopes of getting lots of fresh tomatoes during the summer. Sometimes I am lucky and get a good harvest, other times my kids pluck all the tomatoes from the plants before I can reach them! My favorite way to display tomatoes is a caprese salad and I've been on a mission to create my perfect version of the classic recipe.
What is caprese salad?
Caprese salad means "Capri salad" and is an Italian dish consisting of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Many times you will also see balsamic vinegar or balsamic frosting in this salad. Italian tomato salad can be served with large slices of tomato and mozzarella, or tomatoes and cheese can be cut into smaller pieces to make a smaller salad.
How is the caprese salad made?
The first component of this dish is tomatoes: get the best tomatoes you can. If you don't grow yours, stop by the local farmers market to pick something up. Tomatoes are cut into small pieces, then placed in a bowl with fresh mozzarella balls and basil leaves. A drizzle of olive oil passes over it and everything is mixed. The final touch is a drizzle of balsamic enamel.
Tips for the best tomato salad.
- You can use ripe vine tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Campari tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes for this recipe. Choose whatever is seasonal and fresh.
- I like to use whole basil leaves, but you can cut it if you prefer.
- I use small mozzarella balls known as ciliegine, they come packed in tubs of water in the deli section. You can also cut a ball of fresh mozzarella into cubes.
- Balsamic Enamel is a thick balsamic vinegar with a richer, more complex flavor. You can find this frosting at most grocery stores near vinegars or salad dressings.
Tomato salad variations
This salad is delicious as is, but you can add a variety of other ingredients to customize this recipe to your liking.
- Protein: Add up to 1 cup of grilled diced chicken, chickpeas, cooked shrimp, or white beans. You can also add 1/2 cup of cooked crumbled bacon.
- Vegetables: Expand the vegetarian factor with the addition of avocado, zucchini noodles, artichoke hearts, or roasted peppers.
- Herbs: Add up to 1/4 cup of mixed herbs like parsley, dill, and chives.
How long does the Caprese salad last in the refrigerator?
Caprese salad is best served immediately after it is prepared. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 6 hours, just keep in mind that tomatoes tend to get mealy after being in the fridge for an extended period of time.
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I make this salad on repeat throughout the summer; It's too good not to!
MORE SALAD RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE
- Avocado and chickpea salad
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Israeli salad
- Brocoli salad
- Tortellini salad
This traditional caprese salad is a mix of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and condiments, all topped with balsamic frosting. A classic summer salad that is a must for any picnic or gathering!
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 minute Total time: 11 minutes
Servings: 6 servings Calories: 232kcal
- 5 cups of tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups small mozzarella balls, like ciliegine
- 1/2 cup small basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic enamel
- Place the tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the olive oil over the tomato mixture and stir gently to coat.
- Drizzle the balsamic frosting over the salad, then serve immediately.
Calories :: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 7 g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 363 mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield. This post was originally published on June 22, 2016 and was updated on July 24, 2019 with new content.