Easy, luxurious, and simple. A good Caprese Salad recipe will make jaws drop! This post will show you how to make a refreshing and light version of this lovely Italian dish at home.
Nothing says it’s summer than 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.
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. So do yourself a favor and nourish your body with this Italian wonder of a dish. It will have your taste buds screaming “Bellisimo!”
What Is In This Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad is one of those recipes where you can taste each ingredient (there’s no cooking involved obviously, and minimal spices). For this recipe, I made a garlic balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over this Caprese salad. Yum!
Here’s what else we’re working with…
- Garlic (minced): I am in love with the flavor combo of garlic, balsamic vinegar, and tomatoes. So we’re sprucing up this drizzle with some garlicky goodness and its antioxidants! Garlic also contains essential nutrients, boosts immunity, and lowers blood pressure.
- Ground black pepper: Not only does this add a nice kick to any dish but it can also be an added boost of protection from free radicals. Skip this and you’re basically making a Caprese Salad with no personality. You wouldn’t want that!
- Kosher salt: When I cook with salt, it’s almost always with kosher salt. It’s more uniform in size so it’s easier to pinch when cooking. This helps when seasoning your food, as you can better control how much sodium you’re using. It also has a less intense and more pure, salty taste than other types of salt.
- Balsamic vinegar: Packed with flavor and insane health benefits! It’s diabetes-friendly, weight loss-friendly, good for your gut, heart, and managing cholesterol levels. Mix it up with olive oil, salt, pepper, and that’s your homemade vinaigrette! Easy.
- Olive oil: Y’all know I use olive oil in a lot of my dishes. It’s a great replacement for unhealthy unsaturated fats. It’s loaded with antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties. If I could just drink this I would. But I shouldn’t. So I won’t.
- Heirloom tomatoes (sliced): Your tomatoes should actually smell and taste like actual tomatoes (isn’t it so sad how often this isn’t the case?) We want them fresh and plump! Like they’re happy to be on your plate. You’ll also be happy to know they’re good for your heart and pack tons of vitamins and nutrients.
- Fresh mozzarella (sliced): Make sure your mozzarella is so fresh it drips juices as you slice through it. Oh. My. Mozzarella. Goodness. Imagine that for a second. And who knew something soo good can be soo healthy? This cheese is rich in riboflavin, which has great antioxidant properties to boost your overall health and immunity.
- Basil leaves (whole): Your basil should be fragrant and not wilting. You’ll want to maximize its anti-inflammatory benefits too so make sure they’re vibrant and fresh. The sweetness of it will balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and vinaigrette. And together, they make a culinary blend of pure *chef’s kiss* bliss.
Do You Eat The Basil In A Caprese Salad?
Yes – eat the basil in your caprese salad! It adds a sweet, refreshing balance to the tangy and acidic flavors of your Caprese masterpiece. With my bruschetta and chicken cacciatore recipes, you’ll see how I add a generous sprinkle of basil on it as well. It is everything.
What Do You Eat Caprese Salad With?
This dish is so versatile. It’s hard enough to stop eating this meal on its own–which is good enough as is BTW. As a side, however, it’s also perfect to pair with some protein:
- Pan-fried salmon (Probably the most-cooked recipe in my kitchen. Not kidding. In half a decade, I’ve probably made this 30 times. Yep, it’s mind-blowing.)
- Pan-roasted steak (Juicy and tender perfection on a pan you can make in 10 mins. Yes, 10 mins. That easy. Amazeballs with the salad, I tell you.)
- Healthy oven-roasted chicken (Imagine the savory juicy goodness of this chicken with the sweet and luxurious textures of the Caprese Salad. Too good…)
- Almond-crusted sea bass (This meal is awesomeness on a plate. We’ve leveled up the usual bread crumbs or panko version to almonds. BOMB.)
You can also serve Caprese Salad with bread to soak up the yummy vinaigrette.
Is Caprese Salad Good For You?
If you’re wondering whether this dish is healthy, the answer is a resounding YES. Since we ditched the store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, that saves us a lot of excess sodium. The use of olive oil and a controlled amount of kosher salt brings full-on flavor (minus the unhealthy saturated fats). It’s also an Italian flag-colored garden of wellness on your plate with antioxidants and nutrients from the fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
Is Caprese Salad Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, since it’s low in calories (only 221 per serving) but should fill you up enough that you can eat it as a snack or light dinner on it’s own. The mozzarella also serves as a good source of protein with 26 grams per serving of a hundred. I could eat this yumminess every day!
More Healthy Salads
I just love how versatile and healthy salads are. Have it on its own, as a side, switch up the toppings… There’s just so much you can do! If you’re looking to try this awesome Caprese recipe, you might want to check these out as well:
- 16 Best Salad Recipes (That are healthy and filling)
- Mason Jar Salad for Meal Prep (Killer Clean Honey Mustard Dressing)
- Healthy Chicken Caesar Salad
- Healthy Taco Salad
This post contains affiliate links to products I use regularly and highly recommend.
This Caprese Salad (or Insalata Caprese) is so easy to make and uses fresh ingredients. Plus, it looks beautiful when plated.
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes sliced into thick 1/4-inch slices
- 4-6 oz fresh mozzarella sliced into thick 1/4-inch slices
- 6-8 large basil leaves whole
Combine garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
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.
Drizzle the balsamic vinegar mixture over the tomatoes, basil and cheese.