Summers are meant for tomatoes, and this easy caprese tomato salad is made with fresh ingredients: sun-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and delicate mozzarella.
Our first caprese tomato salad of the year means summer has truly arrived. One bite of this sweet and simple salad will convince even the most skeptical tomato hater to change their minds. Grab some fresh mozzarella, a handful of basil, and the best tomatoes you can find (preferably homegrown), and make this caprese salad recipe before summer slips away!
During the summer, this caprese tomato salad is on regular rotation in our house. Not only is this refreshing salad so easy to make, but most of the ingredients are also always on-hand. Our garden is always brimming with basil and tomatoes from July to October, so we only make this dish when those two ingredients are at the peak of their flavor.
If you're looking for a light summer side dish that is bursting with flavor, this caprese tomato salad recipe will be your new go-to. With tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, it'll taste like summer in every bite. This salad is light and refreshing, with the perfect balance of flavors and textures while still allowing the humble tomato to take center stage.
The Best Tomatoes for Caprese Salad
The great thing about making a caprese tomato salad in the summertime is that pretty much any tomato you use will taste great. I prefer to use smaller tomatoes like honey delight, green envy, yellow pear and super sweet cherry tomatoes. More petite tomatoes tend to be less watery than larger tomatoes. But any tomato will do. My husband prefers larger heirloom tomatoes, like Cherokee purple, Brandywine, black krim and wellington for his salad and it still tastes amazing. So indeed, any sun-ripened tomato will do!
Suppose you don't have a garden with tomatoes. In that case, I suggest heading down to the farmer's market and selecting a variety of heirloom tomatoes. You won't be disappointed!
How to Make a Caprese Tomato Salad
This light and refreshing summer-in-a-bowl salad is so simple to make. The most crucial ingredient is the humble summer tomato. Nothing will compare to a sun-ripened tomato grown at the peak of its season, so try to find them at the farmer's market if you don't grow your own.
The first step is to grab the best summer tomatoes you can find. If you're using smaller, cherry-sized tomatoes, I just cut the tomatoes in half. If you're using larger heirloom tomatoes, dice them up into bite-sized pieces.
Next, add the mozzarella. I like to use marinated mozzarella balls (drained from their marinade) in my caprese tomato salad. Any type of fresh mozzarella will work. Try to avoid shredded or cheaper cheeses if possible. If you don't have mozzarella, I've also used feta cheese for this salad and it tastes incredible!
After adding the mozzarella, add in the basil. I like to chiffonade my basil (or use these fantastic herb scissors – I often do!) versus tearing it. To chiffonade basil, stack a few basil leaves on top of each other and roll neatly into a tight cylinder. Next, use a sharp knife to thinly slice the rolled-up basil.
Caprese Tomato Salad Recipe Variations
It's hard to beat a traditional Caprese salad made with delicious sun-ripened tomatoes. Although sometimes it's fun to change things up. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do it:
- Instead of mozzarella, use burrata or feta
- Add in cocktail or lemon cucumbers, avocados or red onions
- Try a combination of basil and mint
- Add in a tablespoon of pesto
- Top the salad with pine nuts
Caprese Tomato Salad
Summers are meant for tomatoes, and this easy caprese salad is made with fresh ingredients: sun-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and delicate mozzarella.
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: side
- Method: no bake
- Cuisine: American
- 8 cups halved multicolored cherry tomatoes
- 4 cups marinated mozzarella balls
- 12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
Keywords: tomato, basil, mozzarella