Caprese salad signifies the beginning of summer for me, and I anxiously await the arrival of the local heirloom tomatoes in the farmer's market each year so that I can make this easy, classic combination of tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil.
how to make caprese salad
The MOST important thing to do when making a Caprese Salad starts at the market:
Buy good quality ingredients.
In this case, if you can find heirloom tomatoes, go with those. You'll recognize them by their weird shapes and colors! Don't let that be off-putting though - these tomatoes are the tastiest you'll find.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is non-negotiable for a good Caprese Salad recipe. It comes in balls and is packed in brine. Sometimes you'll find it vacuum sealed - and those are good too! There's actually still a small amount of brine in those packages that keeps it nice and moist.
Once you've selected tomatoes and mozzarella, grab some fresh basil and you should be all set!
Arrange the sliced ingredients on a cheeseboard or plate, drizzle with some balsamic reduction / glaze, and serve!
If you want to add a bit more flavor, a few cracks of pepper and pinch of flakey salt really takes this summery plate to the next level.
Do I need a balsamic glaze for Caprese Salad?
Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with basil are delicious in their own right. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you MUST make a balsamic reduction or glaze to drizzle on top.
However - I think they glaze adds a lot of flavor and ties everything together. If you don't want to make the glaze, most grocery stores carry a variety premade versions that you can find with the vinegars that is delicious!
Is caprese salad healthy?
As always, this question is relative to what your personal needs are. I love cheese with a passion that burns like the fire of a thousand suns, but large amounts of cheese do not fit in with my health goals, so I save this caprese salad recipe as a special treat.
what to serve with caprese salad
I serve Caprese salad as an appetizer on its own. If you'd like to make it part of your dinner or another meal, I recommend pairing it with the following:
- Fresh crusty bread
- Grilled meats like chicken or lamb
- Roasted vegetables
- Kebabs of all kinds
Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction
For the Caprese Salad
- 2 hierloom tomatoes ¼" slices
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella ¼" slices
- 5-10 fresh basil leaves
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- large flake salt to taste (I prefer Maldon )
For the balsamic glaze for caprese salad
- ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- Beginning with a tomato slice, alternate tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate.
- Drizzle the slices with balsamic reduction, and top with basil and a twist or two of freshly ground pepper. Optionally, sprinkle with salt.
To make the Balsamic Reduction
- In a heavy saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a simmer over medium heat.
- Stir in the sugar, and simmer while stirring frequently to avoid burning, until the liquid has reduced by approximately one half.
- Allow to come to room temperature before using. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Hey! This is a recipe that I put on my blog in the verrrrry beginning. I decided to update the photos to be more appealing, but I love looking at the before/afters of other bloggers when they update photos, so I've left the old photos so you can compare too!