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Simple to make and rife with herby and juicy goodness, our Caprese salad recipe is a wonderful way to bring a decadent and delicious Italian classic to life in your own home.
Caprese Salad Recipe
A salad that maximizes flavor with minimal ingredients, Caprese salad can be chopped and assembled in a matter of minutes.
Whether it be for a hearty appetizer or lunch or as a centerpiece salad at a dinner party, there’s plenty of texture and flavor to savor when it comes to this Italian favorite.
What is Traditional Caprese Salad?
Named after Capri, believed to be its place of origin, authentic Caprese salad is a simple 5-ingredient dish of sliced mozzarella, tomato, and basil, finished with olive oil and salt. As with the pizza Margherita, its colors of red, white, and green symbolize the Italian flag.
Additional ingredients: Some modern recipes add ingredients such as romaine lettuce, arugula, and olives, or add pasta or rice for a hearty grain-based salad.
Dressings: Basil pesto, balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of oregano, and/or a twist of black pepper are all used in Caprese salad variations.
Cheese: Buffalo mozzarella is used instead of mozzarella in some variations. If using buffalo mozzarella, you may not need the salt, depending on the saltiness of the cheese.
Serving style: While traditional Caprese salad is served with the ingredients arranged in a circular formation, many variations exist. You can find Caprese salads served with the ingredients stacked, skewered, or served on top of rice or pasta.
In fact, you can use the Caprese ingredients in many creative ways, such as this Caprese-inspired panini recipe.
To make our Caprese salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tomatoes – 5-6 medium tomatoes, sliced
- Mozzarella – 2 mozzarella balls (or buffalo mozzarella balls) (8.8 oz or 250 grams total)
- Basil – 16-20 leaves
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – 1-2 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp finishing salt (like Maldon) or to taste
- Balsamic Glaze (sweetened reduced balsamic vinegar), optional/not traditional – 1 tsp
Step 1 – Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into slices of roughly equal thickness (about 1 cm or 0.4 inches).
Step 2 – Assemble the Caprese salad by alternating a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, and a basil leaf.
As you can see, the salad arranged in a circular formation is incredibly beautiful to behold. As mentioned above, it makes for a great centerpiece dish for a feast, birthday, or dinner party.
Step 3 – Drizzle (high-quality) extra-virgin olive oil on the Caprese salad and sprinkle the finishing salt (we used about 1/2 teaspoon of Maldon flaky sea salt).
Balsamic Glaze – To add some rich, sweet notes to the dish, we finished it with a drizzle of balsamic glaze (sweetened reduced balsamic vinegar). We love how simple and diverse this salad is, and we’re sure if you make it you’ll agree too!
Bread – While purists will say to eat Caprese salad as it is, if you do want some more ideas, some crusty Italian bread is a great pairing.
Pasta or Rice Salad – Likewise, as suggested in the variations section, you could prepare a side of Italian pasta or rice to serve with the Caprese salad as part of a larger main. However, this will not be considered traditional.
Caprese Salad Recipe Card
- 5-6 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 8.8 oz or 250 grams fresh mozzarella
- 16-20 fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp finishing salt (like Maldon), or to taste
- 1 tsp balsamic glaze (sweetened reduced balsamic vinegar), optional
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into slices of roughly equal thickness (about 1 cm or 0.4 inch).
- Assemble the Caprese salad by alternating a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, and a basil leaf.
- Drizzle (high-quality) extra-virgin olive oil on the Caprese salad and sprinkle the finishing salt (we used about 1/2 teaspoon of Maldon flaky sea salt).
(Optional) To add some rich, sweet notes to the dish, finish it with a drizzle of balsamic glaze (sweetened reduced balsamic vinegar).
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