A classic Italian Caprese Salad recipe made with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, and a simple caprese dressing.

I love this Caprese Salad because it can be served as a side dish or appetizer, it’s made with fresh ingredients, and it has zero cook time!  This is also a quality I appreciate about these Mini Cheese Ball Bites and this Bleu Cheese Wedge Salad.

An overhead view of Caprese salad layered in a white dish with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
Caprese Salad

I had the chance to visit Italy recently and one of the things I loved most (as far as dining is concerned) was that we were served a Caprese Salad with every dinner that we ate!  I fell in love with this simple and elegant salad.

There are few recipes as easy as this Caprese Salad.  It takes just a few minutes to throw together and you can’t go wrong when serving fresh and simple ingredients to your guests.  You can also adapt this salad to your taste.  You could substitute cherry tomatoes (whole or sliced), add extra produce (cucumbers, lettuce, etc), and add balsamic vinegar if you desire.

Caprese salad in a dish on a marble cutting board with a fork on the plate.

Why is it called a Caprese salad?

Caprese salad is an Italian dish, also referred to as Insalata Caprese.  The dish received its name from Capri, an island off the coast of Naples, Italy.

You will notice that my recipe doesn’t include balsamic vinegar.  A true caprese salad isn’t served with balsamic vinegar, but feel free to add it if you love the flavor!  Simply drizzle 1-2 teaspoons on top of the salad when you add the olive oil.

Ingredients in Caprese Salad:
  • Mozzarella – large portions of mozzarella are preferable to the small mozzarella balls because they have a better flavor.
  • Tomatoes– be sure your tomatoes are not overly ripe.  You want them to be slightly firm with a copper red coloring.
  • Basil– rip your basil leaves gently, by hand, rather than cutting them with a knife.
  • Olive oil- lightly drizzled on top.
  • Salt and pepper– to taste

The ingredients for Caprese salad including fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil.

How to make Caprese Salad:
  • Slice a large ball of fresh mozzarella and a large tomatoe.
  • Sprinkle a little bit of salt on your tomato slices.  This will help draw out the tomato juices.
  • Make your caprese salad by placing a layer of mozzarella on a plate.
  • Top the mozzarella with a slice of tomato.
  • Pour a little bit of olive oil on the tomato (this serves as the caprese salad dressing).
  • Place a basil leaf on top and sprinkle a little salt and pepper.
  • Serve your caprese salad fresh!

Slices of tomatoes on a cutting board.

How long will a Caprese salad last?

Caprese salad is definitely best served fresh but it can stay in the fridge for 2-3 days.  If you need to make it ahead of time, slice the mozzarella and tomatoes and store them separately in the refrigerator.

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Recipe

tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella fanned out in a circle on a white plate.
Prep 10 mins
Total 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large tomato , sliced into medium thin slices (about 8)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced into medium thin slices (about 8)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • After slicing your fresh mozzarella and tomato, sprinkle a little bit of salt on your tomato slices.  This will help draw out a little of the juices.
  • Make your caprese salad by placing a layer of mozzarella on a plate.  
  • Top the mozzarella with a slice of tomato. 
  • Pour a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the tomato.  This serves as the caprese salad dressing.
  • Place a basil leaf on top and sprinkle a little salt and pepper.
  • Serve your caprese salad fresh!

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 6gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 179mgPotassium: 75mgVitamin A: 395IUVitamin C: 3.1mgCalcium: 145mgIron: 0.2mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for a simple recipe. It was better than caprese salad I’ve had at an Italian restaurant.I used fresh mozzarella from Costco and it was perfect.

  2. hi lauren, I am sharing this salad on the weekend edit over at everyday edits dot co. I love the simplicity (no toothpicks required)! Ha! laura