Caprese Salad Recipe with Garlic Balsamic Dressing

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Nothing beats a Caprese Salad Recipe. Fresh, flavorful and delicious made with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil, and a homemade garlic balsamic dressing! It’s truly the perfect salad all year long. Delicious served with Spaghetti and Meatballs and Garlic Bread. Yum!

Caprese Salad

There are very few {healthy} foods I love much more than brownies. And cookies. And fries. But one thing that actually makes my heart go pitter-patter is a really good salad. More specifically, this Caprese salad. This Italian salad is delicious on its own, but particularly good with my homemade garlic balsamic dressing. SO so tasty!

But First, What is Caprese Salad?

A Caprese Salad is a simple Italian salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt, and olive oil. Like the Italian flag, this salad features the white, red, and green colors. It’s extremely popular and for good reason. One bite and you’ll understand the juicy sweet tomatoes paired with the herby basil and the creamy mozzarella is AMAZING.

Main Ingredients Needed

There are three main ingredients needed for a traditional Caprese Salad. While I include a few more for the overall recipe, these are the main ones that you’re going to want to find. Remember: since this recipe is only made up of a handful of ingredients, try to use the best quality ingredients you can find.

  • Fresh Mozzarella. This mozzarella cheese is the kind that is softer, creamier, and packed in saltwater. I use Bocconcini which are the mini mozzarella balls, but the slices of mozzarella work just fine as well, cut into cubes.
  • Fresh Tomatoes. I love using sweet grape tomatoes because regardless of the time of year, these always taste sweet and the quality is good. I hate a grainy tomato in the winter, so always gravitate towards the grape or cherry tomatoes most of the time. If you can find some ripe heirloom tomatoes, by all means, use those. But in case you can’t find those or don’t want to spend the money, the grape tomatoes work great!
  • Fresh Basil. Herby and delicious, this is the last ingredient needed for a classic Caprese Salad. There is no real substitute for this. But the nice thing about fresh basil is it’s becoming more and more readily available at grocery stores around the country which means it’s getting more and more affordable to buy.

For the Garlic Balsamic Dressing

Honorable mentions for my recipe include balsamic vinegar, pepper, olive oil, garlic and a few extra lettuce greens to fill the salad out more and make it go a little further. If you’re feeding a crowd, this is a great way to stretch a dollar. Of course, the addition of lettuce is totally optional.

Make it a Meal!

Plus you could add this with a protein to make it a meal. Chicken Parmesan would be super tasty with this salad recipe.

caprese salad laid out in a white dish

How to Make Caprese Salad

This Caprese Salad could not be any easier to make. Follow these quick and simple steps to make your tasty salad.

Assembling the Salad

Place baby greens onto a serving platter. Top with bocconcini (mini mozzarellas), tomatoes, basil, and pepper.

When plating, try putting blocks of color together instead of spreading everything out evenly over the top to make it look pretty. That’s what I did in these photos and it makes for a beautiful presentation.

Making the Balsamic Dressing

I LOVE a good garlicky dressing and this one does not disappoint. While balsamic vinegar is a traditional topping for this salad, the garlic isn’t. But I’m not one to shy away from making the classics a tiny bit more flavorful and garlic seemed like an obvious choice.

Measure out garlic, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper into a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it up to emulsify, then drizzle it over the salad. Again, makes for a great presentation!

Caprese Salad in a white serving dish

Can This Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes! Absolutely you can make this ahead. Just be sure to store the dressing separately and as much moisture is removed from the fresh mozzarella as possible. Moisture tends to ruin the integrity of the other ingredients, so making sure there isn’t much is key. This Caprese Salad will last up to 3 days in the fridge. Right before serving, top with dressing.

This salad tastes best when freshly made and assembled. Plus it’s super quick to throw together.

Other Italian Favorites!

And there you have it. Printable recipe card is below, make sure to save/pin/print this one out. Enjoy!

Caprese Salad

Easy Caprese Salad

Nothing beats a Caprese Salad made with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil and a homemade garlic balsamic dressing! The perfect salad all year long.

Instructions

  • Place baby greens onto a serving platter. Top with bocconcini, tomatoes, basil, and pepper.

  • Measure all ingredients for dressing into a small jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake and drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1010IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 424mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Keyword: caprese salad, caprese sald recipe



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