4.69 from 57 votes

Caprese Salad

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Caprese Salad with cherry tomatoes is hands down one of the most delicious salads and often the favorite of everyone you are serving. And why not?

Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and fresh basil, all drizzled with a perfect balsamic dressing, make it flavorful and easy!

This Italian Salad, which contains simple ingredients of small tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls, originates from Capri.

cherry tomato caprese salad in a bowl.

Why you will love this Classic Salad

The beautiful part of a Caprese salad is that all traditional and class flavors pair well with chicken or creatives like crumbles of blue cheese or avocado. Do not be afraid to experiment and make a custom Caprese salad that you will love to change up and eat daily!

While many people love to serve fresh salads like this in the holidays due to the colors and general idea that tomatoes and mozzarella go with EVERYTHING, the best time to enjoy a Caprese salad is when fresh tomatoes hit, around July.

In other Caprese versions, we experimented with everything but the bagel Caprese salad and even this sweeter version of Caprese with peaches.

Ingredients

  • Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes are relatively similar in that, in a pinch, grape tomatoes are an acceptable substitute. That said, colorful cherry tomatoes go best in classic Caprese salad as they are larger and have a sweeter juice, which balances well with the balsamic. Colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes or wonder tomatoes are also a vibrant and delicious choice. 

  • Mozzarella cheese – Mozzarella balls, also called Mozzarella pearls, are a great choice not only in the aesthetics of a beautiful salad but in flavor. You can cut down the pearls into smaller pieces if preferred, which can help with the cost of fresh mozzarella.

  • Fresh basil – Do not use dried basil for this dish. Fresh basil is an absolute must. I like to purchase fresh basil plants from Lowes and grow my own. 

  • Regular balsamic vinegar – many classic Caprese salads only include a drizzle of olive oil, but balsamic vinegar combined with honey is a delicious balsamic glaze done in a pinch.
  • Seasonings like fresh cracked pepper and season with a bit of kosher salt.

ALTERNATIVELY: You can also make this 10 minute Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette that goes with this recipe beautifully.

tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a cutting board.

Is Caprese Salad Keto Friendly?

Delicious fresh salad recipes are all in the details and, while generally considered healthy, are not always great for every diet.

Dietary: Heads up! This salad with cherry tomatoes is also Gluten-Free and Paleo!

Disclaimer: Dietary information below is provided by Carb Manager If you are on a KETO or Low Carb diet, always double-check your data with this or My Fitness Pal based on the brands and weights you use. I am not responsible for the calculations but try to provide as much information as possible for readers to make informed decisions.

How to Make Classic Caprese Salad

  1. Make the honey balsamic dressing: Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to make a sweet vinaigrette in a small bowl. Whisk together both ingredients well to incorporate honey.
  2. Add Tomatoes: Add whole or halved cherry tomatoes to the serving dish.
  3. Add cheese: Add mozzarella cheese balls. You can cut the cheese into halves or even quarter them if desired. I left them whole because it looks prettier/more contrast of large and small and white. I like to cut them smaller so I can quickly eat the combination of the three delicious ingredients in every spoonful!
  4. Combine: Combine Balsamic Honey drizzle and tomato salad. Mix all ingredients well until tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are covered with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with sliced fresh basil; before serving, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
collage on how to make caprese salad.

Mozzarella Pearls or Mozzarella Slices?

My favorite part of Caprese Salad is the mozzarella cheese.

Thankfully now that just about every grocery store has a specialty cheese section, there are so many different types of fresh mozzarella to add. While the original recipe used cow’s milk fresh mozzarella, buffalo-milk mozzarella has become the modern favorite.

When I’m looking to get this appetizer on the table even faster, I use balls, otherwise known as pearls, of mozzarella – no slicing necessary.

However, if you’re looking to add a boost of flavor to your salad, try smoked mozzarella – not only is the color lovely, but the additional flavor from the cheese also adds something new and tasty to a simple salad.

The slightly smoky flavor plays well with balsamic vinegar and basil.

Grape Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes in Caprese?

As far as the variety of tomatoes goes, I used grape tomatoes in my Caprese Salad, but you can use cherry tomatoes as well.

Cutting them in half is usually best. Although the classic Caprese Salad uses stunning vine-ripened red tomatoes, you shouldn’t feel limited to these alone.

  • While red tomatoes have a rich and robust flavor, other colors of tomatoes have different flavors. While pinks are much like reds, orange tomatoes are sweet-tasting, nearly like eating fruit! The sweet taste is lovely, besides the creamy mozzarella and the balsamic vinegar.

  • Yellow tomatoes are less tangy than their red counterparts, partially because they are a lower-acid tomato variety.
  • I always use grape or cherry tomatoes in this recipe. While you can use them interchangeably, cherry tomatoes are sweeter and more watery than grape ones. Still, grape tomatoes tend to last longer in the fridge and are sometimes more accessible at the grocery store.
bowl of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to make caprese salad.

Related Caprese Salad Recipes

  • Love the melty taste of hot cheese and fresh tomatoes? Try this Hot Caprese Dip Recipe. It’s a great dip to serve to a crowd!
  • To bring the great flavors of Caprese into dinner, try this Caprese Stuffed Chicken recipe that puts all that cheese and tomatoes right in the center of the chicken breast.
  • Strawberry Caprese Salad is a delightful filling salad that balances sweet summer strawberries, tomatoes, and tangy balsamic into one.

  • Caprese Ladybugs is the perfect summertime appetizer tray! Turn mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives into adorable little ladybugs. No need for talent; this one is EASY.
  • Homemade Caprese Pizza is as delicious as it is beautiful with heirloom tomatoes.
  • You won’t believe how well Ensalada Caprese with Pear goes with a summer BBQ.
  • If you are looking for a simple summer dinner, this Caprese Sliders Recipe is done in mere minutes with ALL the flavor.
4.69 from 57 votes

Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes


Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Caprese Salad is an easy recipe with cherry tomatoes, balls of mozzarella pearls, and fresh basil all drizzled with a perfect honey balsamic dressing! An easy Caprese salad recipe that will have you licking your plate and begging for more. This simple salad is fantastic to eat as a lunch or to serve up as a side dish or appetizer.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella Pearls fresh Mozzarella cheese balls, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  • Add halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese balls, and fresh chopped or torn basil to a bowl and mix well.
  • In a small bowl, add balsamic vinegar and honey.
  • Whisk together to combine.
  • Drizzle Balsamic honey dressing over cherry tomato and mozzarella cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper if desired.
  • Caprese salad can be served immediately or put in the fridge for an hour to get cold and combine flavors.
  • Store salad covered in a refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • You can substitute cherry tomatoes for grape tomatoes
  • If you cannot find mozzarella cheese balls, grab fresh mozzarella logs and quarter into bite sized pieces.
  • Easily use this recipe convert salad into Caprese skewers or add avocado and chicken for a more hearty dinner salad!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 363mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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4.69 from 57 votes

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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. Bruce Elliott says:

    Made this salad per the recipe and it was fabulous.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, so glad you enjoyed this caprese salad, its my personal favorite!

  2. Rose Serianni Ridgeley says:

    love this salad but adding red onions to this salad is the way to go. cut up very fine just adds another flavor. I also add a little olive oil to this salad and a little regular vinegar…..serve with fresh italian bread for dipping in the juices is just fantastic…….

    1. That sounds great too!

  3. Joan Janzen says:

    For easy slicing of small tomatoes, try your kitchen scissors. Way faster and more convenient than some knives. Just snip them right into the bowl. Sometimes a quick small cut is better at first so the seeds don’t spray all over you.

  4. Adam K Ingersoll says:

    I made this but added some avocado 🥑! Phenomenal! I love this salad!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Adam! Avocado and Caprese salad is excellent, so great addition!

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