This Caprese salad platter with fresh basil is a simple Italian-style salad made of everyday ingredients. Fresh Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and freshly torn basil are the basis of this salad.
This is an easy recipe made with simple and clean ingredients. Upgrade a humble tomato salad with a balsamic vinegar glaze and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Do you have friends that claim to hate raw tomatoes? Make this salad for them and ask them to try it and they will likely change their minds.
With creamy Mozzarella, zesty tomatoes and fragrant basil, this is a perfect no-cook end-of-summer meal.
- Tomatoes: Using fresh and ripe tomatoes are of the upmost importance for this platter. I suggest using heirloom tomatoes for a juicy and plump salad.
- Mozzarella cheese: Fresh Mozzarella cheese in this salad will make all the difference. You can find fresh cheese packed in plastic or stored in salted water at your local grocery store.
- Basil: Buy fresh basil leaves from your favorite grocery store or from Amazon. Using freshly-torn basil in your salad will give it an herby and sweet zing.
- Olive Oil: Using an extra virgin olive oil in this recipe adds a subtle flavor and richness to the platter.
- Balsamic: Using balsamic vinegar or even balsamic glaze adds a bit of acid to the sweet tomatoes and rich cheese.
Best Tomatoes for a Caprese Salad Platter
There are many options when making Caprese salad. The most important feature about the tomato you select is that is has a lot of flesh and not too many seeds.
- Heirloom tomatoes: The creme de la creme of tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are known for their uncomely appearance and low seed count, these tomatoes are the best tomatoes money can buy. They have a rich flavor and tend to spoil more quickly than other varieties.
- Beefsteak tomatoes: The Beefsteak is just what you would expect, beefy. It’s one of the largest tomato varities and it also contains small seeds that generally go unnoticed to the consumer.
- Roma tomatoes: The roma tomato is a tomato that is firm in nature and will hold it’s shape well. It also is engineered to have a relatively long shelf life.
What to Serve with Caprese Salad
This salad is a summertime favorite. While you can easily make this dish the star, you can also serve it with other sides.
Some of my favorites to serve with this dish are:
- Easy Cucumber Salad
- Corn Fritters
- Grilled Cheese
- Zucchini Fries
- Sour Cream Biscuits
- Chicken Liver Pate
- Elote in a Cup
How to Choose a Mozzarella Cheese
When entering any grocery store and looking at the cheese section, you will see about 10 different options for Mozzarella cheese. There are so many different options!
When I make a Caprese salad, I look for the fresh Mozzarella sitting in a brine. It’s going to be the freshest choice and also the softest. There is also Mozzarella that is packaged in brine (see above). There are often large balls of Mozzarella for sale and small balls, often around the size of a quarter sitting in a brine. Either choice is fine. The smaller Mozzarella balls will be easier to portion out to serve, but the larger ball or log of Mozzarella is easier to slice and makes for a nicer presentation. It just depends on what kind of presentation for your salad you are going for. But whatever you do, don’t buy the prepackaged shredded Kraft Mozzarella cheese. That will not give you a delicious result!
How to Make a Caprese Salad Platter
Making the Caprese salad platter with fresh basil is actually quite straightforward and easy.
Just slice your tomatoes into about 1/4 inch slices and cut your cheese into slices of 1/4 inch or less.
- Slice your Mozzarella to the desired thickness, usually around a fourth of an inch. Slice your tomatoes to match.
- Arrange the slices and add fresh basil on top.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balamic vinegar & salt and pepper to taste.
Another way to arrange this salad is to hasselback the tomato and insert the Mozzarella into it. It makes for quite the presentation.
This salad is great to share at dinner parties or with family. It also works as an appetizer or as a full meal.
Dressing for Caprese Salad
The dressing for this salad is quite straightforward – just add balsamic vinegar and olive oil!
Drizzle on as much (or as little) as you’d like. The vinegar and olive oil will mix with the sweetness of the tomatoes and the richness of the cheese giving it a boost.
Once you’ve dressed your salad, add freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.