Caprese Appetizer Salad with a simple Balsamic Glaze – the best salad EVER, especially with fresh summer tomatoes!
Caprese, or Caprese Salad (Insalata Caprese) means “salad of Capri” and is a traditional Italian entrée or antipasto. It is believed this salad was first created by a patriotic stone worker who fashioned this salad in the colors of the Italian flag, with the layered red tomatoes, green basil and white mozzarella.
Why You’ll Love this Appetizer Salad Recipe
- Best Appetizer: This antipasto salad is light and flavorful and the perfect appetizer to whet your appetite before the main course.
- Easy to Make: This salad takes just 10 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes if you use pre-sliced mozzarella.
- Flexible: This simple caprese salad is elegant enough for a dinner party yet simple enough to make for yourself as a quick snack. A great start to a meal or a delicious, easy lunch!
- Balsamic Glaze: The traditional characteristics of a caprese appetizer salad are made with slices of tomato, mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil. This recipe has a delicious twist that calls for balsamic instead of olive oil.
Caprese Appetizer Salad Ingredients
The best things in life are… fresh and there’s no better example of this than the caprese salad.
- Fresh Tomatoes: Heirloom tomatoes from a farmers market, garden tomatoes or fresh juicy tomatoes from the grocery store will all work.
- Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella cheese. I used pre-sliced fresh mozzarella from Costco. Try to stay clear of the milky vacuum-packed variety which is not as good as fresh mozzarella. This salad can also be made with burrata!
- Basil Leaves: Fresh basil adds a sweet and savory taste with peppery and minty undertones.
- Balsamic Glaze: It’s the balsamic glaze is really what makes this Caprese Appetizer Salad pop. Make your own Balsamic glaze or use store bought. You can absolutely use “regular” balsamic vinegar for this Caprese Appetizer Salad in a pinch, but once you’ve made it with the glaze, you’ll never go back. It’s sweeter and thicker, which means it doesn’t immediately become a wet mess on the bottom of your plate. Olive oil will also work if you prefer a traditional caprese.
- Coarse Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper: Coarse salt, sea salt and even regular salt will work (skip the iodized) and again, fresh ground black pepper is the way to go.
How can those few ingredients combine for so much flavor?!
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)
How to Make Caprese Salad
This easy caprese salad takes just 5 minutes to make!
Simply assemble tomatoes and mozzarella on a serving place, slightly overlapping and alternating. Top with basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Caprese Appetizer Salad Variations
Here are a few creative twists on a classic caprese salad:
- Replace the tomatoes with sweet, juicy watermelon.
- Burrata is an excellent substitute for mozzarella in a caprese. Many people actually prefer the softer, creamier burrata.
- Drizzle with Italian dressing instead of balsamic.
- Add some creaminess with avocado or substitute the cheese with avocado.
- Top the salad off with pine nuts for a little crunchiness.
- Substitute the basil with mint.
- Add a traditional pesto sauce on top or even basil or mint pesto for extra variation.
- 2 large fresh summer tomatoes, sliced (about 10 slices)
- 10 slices fresh mozzarella
- 20 fresh basil leaves
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup balsamic glaze, plus more for serving
- Assemble tomatoes and mozzarella on a serving place, slightly overlapping and alternating. Top with basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Serve immediately.
Burrata can be substituted for mozzarella, if you prefer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 9g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
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