This summer Tomato Basil Mozzarella Appetizer is a classic layered Caprese salad featuring juicy sliced tomatoes and sliced mozzarella cheese garnished with fresh basil leaves.
Whether you're hosting a cookout or attending a potluck, this easy and delicious appetizer is sure to impress your guests.
- Why You'll Love This Appetizer
- Try More Tomato Recipes Next!
- What is a Caprese Salad?
- What goes well with a Caprese salad?
- What are the best tomatoes for caprese?
- Caprese Salad Popular Substitutions
- What does caprese taste like?
- Is tomato basil mozzarella salad healthy?
- What can I use instead of balsamic vinegar in Caprese salad?
- Storage Instructions
- 👪Serving Suggestions
- 🤷Frequently Asked Questions
- Easy Salad Recipes
- 💬 Comments
Why You'll Love This Appetizer
- Easy to prepare - With just five ingredients, this recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.
- Irresistible taste - The combination of fresh mozzarella, crunchy tomatoes, balsamic glaze, and fragrant basil creates a perfect blend of summer flavors.
- Healthy and light - this tasty appetizer, also known as Caprese salad is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients and low in calories, making it almost a guilt-free choice.
- Budget-friendly - Feed your family for less than $10, making this appetizer an affordable option for any occasion.
Try More Tomato Recipes Next!
What is a Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad is a tomato basil mozzarella salad made with fresh sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese layered with fresh basil leaves tucked between these salad layers.
This simple salad is seasoned with salt and pepper with an optional drizzle of balsamic glaze.
What goes well with a Caprese salad?
What are the best tomatoes for caprese?
When creating a classic layered tomato basil mozzarella salad, medium to large tomatoes are best for slicing.
Beef steak or heirloom tomatoes are by far the best option thanks to their meaty textures but flavorful ripened cherry or grape tomatoes are also an excellent choice.
- Tomatoes - I’ve used one pound of ripe tomatoes for this tomato basil mozzarella salad which is about 3-4 medium tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into ¼-inch thickness. Opt for ripened heirloom tomatoes.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese - Sliced ¼-inches thick. You can also use mini fresh mozzarella balls or dice a larger mozzarella ball into 1-inch pieces.
- Fresh basil - I’ve used one bunch, which is about ⅓ cup of basil leaves. You can add these as a garnish or tuck larger leaves between the tomato and mozzarella slices. In this case, look for medium to medium-large basil leaves, which you can often find at local grocery stores or farmer's markets.
- Sea salt and black pepper - You can also use other seasonings such as Italian seasoning, or a mixture of dried herbs (Herbs de Provence).
- Balsamic glaze - Optional. A pesto dressing or balsamic glaze could be used instead of balsamic glaze. Balsamic glaze adds tangy sweetness, which enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down to where you'll find the recipe card.
Start by layering slices of tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle the tomato slices with olive oil.
Tuck slices of cheese between each tomato so both are visible.
Garnish with basil leaves or if you have larger leaves tuck them in between the slices.
Season generously with salt and pepper, drizzle all over balsamic glaze.
Caprese Salad Popular Substitutions
Tomatoes: If heirloom tomatoes are not available, cherry or plum tomatoes can be a suitable replacement, although they are less meaty but will taste delicious and sweet.
Balsamic Glaze: If you can't find balsamic glaze, mix 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar with 2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup as a substitution. Alternatively, just a good quality olive oil will also taste great here.
Basil: substitute basil with fresh baby spinach leaves or dark leafy greens.
Mozzarella Cheese: the closest substitution would be Burrata cheese which is another popular variation of this salad. Other options include cotija cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, halloumi cheese and paneer cheese.
What does caprese taste like?
A combination of creamy and milky mozarella cheese flavors combined with tomato's acidity balanced with sweet balsamic glaze. Fresh and fruity flavors!
Is tomato basil mozzarella salad healthy?
Absolutely! This tomato mozzarella basil salad contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
What can I use instead of balsamic vinegar in Caprese salad?
If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, combine one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar with 1 teaspoon of sugar or maple syrup (for every tablespoon of balsamic vinegar).
And to make a balsamic glaze substitute, combine one tablespoon of red wine vinegar with two teaspoons of honey or maple syrup for a thicker glaze.
- Always use fresh produce, especially when making fresh salads for appetizer.
- I like to garnish the salad with basil on top rather than tucking it between the mozzarella and tomato layers as basil will become wilted quickly.
- Try to slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese evenly into ¼-inch thickness for the best appearance.
- Layering the ingredients helps the flavors to meld together. If you don’t like a layered salad, use sliced cherry or heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella balls and create a tossed salad served in a bowl.
- Make your own balsamic glaze or use a store-bought version.
- Feel free to add extras like sliced avocados or mix in fresh pesto for an extra burst of basil flavor.
- This dish is best served immediately, but you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Garnish with basil later on when ready to serve.
- Transform this appetizer into a Caprese pasta salad by adding cooked pasta to bulk it up.
- 🍱To Store. While this appetizer is best served immediately, you can prepare it a few hours in advance by mixing the ingredients without the balsamic dressing and basil leaves. Drizzle the dressing over the salad right before serving.
- I don't recommend making it the night before, as the fresh mozzarella's high water content can cause the other ingredients to become milky and slimy.
- Enjoy it as part of hors d'oeuvres, as a side dish, or light meal with crusty bread, baguette or dinner rolls. You can make easy caprese skewers or pair it with crostini and make delicious caprese bruschetta bites!
- Pair with fresh salmon burgers, roast beef sandwiches or pasta salad with Italian dressing for a delightful summer feast.
- Serve at summertime BBQs alongside hamburgers, grilled chicken, or steak.
- Accompany with chicken kabobs and roasted potatoes for a satisfying chicken dinner.
- Seafood and fish - we love it with tuna pasta bake, garlic butter shrimp or shrimp carbonara.
- Casseroles - chicken ritz casserole, taco pasta, or chicken pasta bake.
🤷Frequently Asked Questions
You can add fruit like watermelon, melon, strawberries, peach, cherries, figs, cherry or vegetables such as spiralized zucchini, avocado, kale. For savory flavors try prosciutto or bacon which will taste delicious.
No these are not the same. Caprese is an italian salad dish and mozzarella is a type of cheese.
Mozzarella is made from pasteurized milk and it is dafe to eat raw.
Easy Salad Recipes
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Mozzarella Tomato Basil Appetizer
- 1 pound Ripe tomatoes, (3-4 medium) sliced ¼” thick
- 8 ounce Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼” thick
- 1 bunch Fresh basil, (about ⅓ cup basil leaves)
- 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- ½ teaspoon Sea salt, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon Black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic glaze, or added to taste (optional)
- Start by layering slices of tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle the tomato slices with olive oil.
- Tuck slices of cheese between each tomato so both are visible.
- Garnish with basil leaves or if you have larger leaves tuck them in between the slices.
- Season generously with salt and pepper, drizzle all over balsamic glaze.