Caprese Salad with Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef

For last week’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), we got some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and fresh sweet basil.  Now, I don’t know about you, but my mind goes two ways with these two fresh ingredients sitting on my counter: (1) Bruschetta or (2) Caprese Salad.  Since I also got some tasty organic grape tomatoes I could use for bruschetta, my decision was made.

Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef
Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef
Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef

I think I’ve said this about Caesar Salad before, but caprese salad, or insalata caprese (if you’re getting fancy and channeling your inner Italian), is the easiest of all easy salads to make.  Plus, it requires so few ingredients and looks really beautiful when plated.  Winner!

Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef
Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef

There is one unbreakable rule for this recipe, however.  Listen closely because this is very important.  You must only use fresh, ripe and high quality ingredients.

Caprese salad is really not worth eating otherwise. Trust me.  It’s like making canned alphabet soup in a Le Crueset — it’s just wrong.  Your basil should be fragrant and not wilting.  Your mozzarella should be so fresh it drips juices as you slice through it.  And, finally,  your tomatoes should actually smell and taste like actual tomatoes (isn’t it so sad how often this isn’t the case?).

Recipe and images of Caprese Salad by Lacey Stevens-Baier, a sweet pea chef

I am in love with the flavor combination of garlic, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes.  So, naturally, I made a garlic balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over this caprese salad.  Yum!

Caprese Salad with Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thick ¼-inch slices
  • 4-6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced into thick ¼-inch slices
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, whole
Instructions
  1. Combine garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  2. On a platter or plate, alternate and overlap a tomato slice, followed by a mozzarella slice and then a basil leaf. Continue until all ingredients are used.
  3. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar mixture over the tomatoes, basil and cheese.

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About the author: My name is Lacey and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a foodie, a photographer, a chef, and a project manager at a local tech start-up in Austin. But, most importantly, I am the mother of three adorable little kiddos (Jordan, Savannah and Hunter) and am madly in love with and married to my high school sweetheart, Dustin.

8 comments… add one

  1. Katie@Cozydelicious September 8, 2010, 6:47 pm

    Your tomatoes look amazing. So beautiful. Your salad looks really tasty – love the garlic here. So soon the tomatoes will be gone, must eat more of them today!

    Reply
  2. delicieux September 8, 2010, 10:30 pm

    Yum, yum, yum. Sometimes simple things, such as this salad, are the best. I can imagine how amazing it tastes!!

    I’m off to the farmer markets we have here on Saturday and hope to pick up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and I might have to make this to celebrate them!

    Reply
  3. Miss Becky September 9, 2010, 12:26 pm

    I usually just drizzle olive oil over my mozzarella & tomatoes, but I tried adding the balsamic and I like it. It adds a bit something more to it. Although I left out the garlic, it was really tasty! I’ve been living on this dish for weeks (my tomato plants are still producing) and I don’t think I could ever tire of it. Yummy.

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef September 9, 2010, 7:55 pm

      Hi Miss Becky! I have tried it with just the olive oil as well and find I enjoy the addition of balsamic vinegar. I’m very jealous of your tomato plants :)

      Reply
  4. FoodRenegade September 10, 2010, 5:16 pm

    Definitely my favorite summer time salad! Particularly with aged balsamic vinegar.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~KristenM
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    Reply

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