This recipe for easy caprese salad is just wonderful for summer! Fresh tomatoes, basil, and soft mozzarella – this is a great salad for a barbecue or picnic.
This is one of my favorite summer recipes – easy caprese salad. Simple and elegant, and so easy to put together. This is just the thing to make when you’re short on time, but want to make a dish that everyone will love.
I had this for the first time in Lucca, Italy when I was in grad school, and I will say that fresh Italian tomatoes and cheese take this dish to a different level. But until I get back there, I’ll make caprese salad with local ingredients – it’s still summery and delicious.
If you can’t find the mini buffalo mozzarella rounds, it’s fine to get a large ball of mozzarella and cut it into chunks. If you can’t find the soft, fresh, mozzarella, you can make a variation of this with regular mozzarella cut into cubes. But it isn’t quite the same. Fresh mozzarella is pretty easy to find – you can usually get it from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and once in a while Costco will carry it.
What is caprese salad?
It’s a salad that originated in Italy, and consists of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and olive oil.
Is caprese salad gluten free?
Yes, since this salad only contains tomatoes, basil, cheese, and olive oil, it is gluten free and grain free.
Is balsamic vinegar gluten free?
Yes, balsamic vinegar is gluten free. You can read more about gluten free vinegar here.
How long can you keep caprese salad in the refrigerator?
Caprese salad should last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, but it’s best when it’s fresh.
What can I use instead of dairy cheese in this salad?
If you can’t have dairy, you could try this salad with your favorite non-dairy cheese, or just add more vegetables, like cucumbers, peppers, or zucchini. This would also be very pretty with a variety of heirloom tomatoes in different colors.
Tips for making this easy caprese salad:
- assemble the salad immediately before serving
- get the freshest cheese that’s available
- use local tomatoes if possible
- cracked pepper and sea salt are a must!
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Summer Favorites: Caprese Salad
There's nothing like fresh tomatoes, cheese, and basil - this simple combination is what makes caprese salad so delicious!
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes
- 8 ounces buffalo mozzarella You can get the small balls, or if you get the large piece, just cut it into small pieces.
- 1/3 cup fresh basil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar optional
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Wash tomatoes and basil, pat dry. Put in a large salad bowl. Slice in half if desired.
Drain liquid from cheese and place in bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Caprese salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. However, it is best when it is fresh.
You can't freeze this salad.
If you can't have dairy, you could try this salad with your favorite non-dairy cheese, or you could add some more veggies, like cucumber, zucchini, or roasted red peppers.
Serving suggestion: Sometimes we make little kabobs on skewers, too – we just layer cheese, tomatoes, and basil, and drizzle with the vinegar and olive oil. It’s a fun way to serve this salad, and nice for a party!
And if you’re on a gluten free diet, this is a nice salad that everyone can enjoy, because you’ll never miss the gluten!
This post was originally published in May 2011. It has been updated.