Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad is an Italian salad that is quick and simple to prepare! With a fresh and vibrant feel the salad has a balsamic glaze dressing to tantalize your taste buds! This caprese salad with mozzarella balls is either a meal in one or the perfect side.
The things that you will come to know and love about this salad are highlighted in the points below:
- Everyday ingredients: the ingredients for the salad are simple and easy to find at the local supermarket. Kept to a minimum for maximum simplicity.
- Perfect pairings: this salad sits beautifully alongside a number of recipes. Due to the basic combination of flavours, it can be served with a side variety of mains.
- Fuss free and effortless: this salad comes together in an effortless manner, meaning you can focus on the mains or spending time with loved ones.
- Versatile: this recipe can be taken to picnics, pot lucks and BBQs.
- Budget friendly: each ingredient is cost effective and won't break the family budget!
- Fresh, healthy and easy: this salad ticks the healthy box, it is super easy to make and has bright fresh ingredients. No baking, roasting or complication needed.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Refer to the printable recipe card for exact measurements.
As you can see, the recipe calls for:
- Cherry tomatoes: readily available and an all year round vegetable, these are perfect for salads and snacks! All we need to do is chop them in half and they are ready for serving.
- Mozzarella balls: you will find these in the fridge section of the supermarket in a small tub. They come in liquid. This can be drained and discarded. There is no need to rinse these.
- Basil leaves: these are a herby freshness and great contrasting colour to the salad. We prepare these simply by trimming the stems (pulling the leaves off).
- Olive oil: a massively popular ingredient in many Italian recipes, this ingredient helps bring the salad together. You can use extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil.
- Salt and pepper: only a small amount of each is needed to season the dish.
- Balsamic glaze:
Top Tip: If making this salad in advance, hold off on seasoning and combining ingredients. When ready, season and drizzle, this will keep the salad from going soggy.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. You will need a knife and chopping board to start with.
- Use a knife to slice the tomatoes in ½ (Photo 1)
- Prepare the basil by trimming the stems (Photo 2)
- Slice the mozzarella balls in halves (Photo 3)
- Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper (Photo 4)
How to Make Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
To make the salad, start by preparing the ingredients. This is as simple as slicing the tomatoes and mozzarella, seasoning with salt and pepper and trimming the herbs.
If serving straight away, the next steps are to pour the olive oil over the salad, however you can hold off on this step till ready to serve.
- Combine starting with the tomatoes and mozzarella (Photo 5)
- Drizzle with a little olive oil (Photo 6)
- Spread the basil leaves on top (Photo 7)
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze (Photo 8)
With the balsamic glaze that you can see in the photos throughout in the post, it is thick. So it is fine to drizzle in a haphazard fashion bringing a togetherness to the dish as well as an aesthetic appeal.
The best thing about the glaze is that it won't pool underneath the salad like some dressings do. The thing to keep in mind when using it is a little goes a long way. The flavour is bold and can overwhelm if used in abundance.
How to Guide
How to Store
Store the salad prior to serving on a plate with cling wrap or in a sealed, air tight container.
Hold off drizzling with olive oil and balsamic glaze until ready to serve to avoid soggy salad!
Substitutions and Variations
As this salad is very basic, there is no need to add a wide variety of additional ingredients. However, these suggestions are provided so that if you want to turn it into a main meal or switch it up a little, you can. Try any of the following ideas:
- Add spinach and or arugula leaves.
- Use balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic glaze. Add to the olive oil and shake to combine.
- Regular tomatoes do work in this salad. Simply slice into thin pieces.
- You can use grape tomatoes instead of round cherry tomatoes.
- Extra virgin olive oil is more expensive than regular olive oil. You can use either.
- You can use white balsamic vinegar instead of the traditional dark coloured balsamic vinegar.
There are so many ways to serve this salad that you will be spoilt for choice!
I mentioned above that you can serve as a complete meal or as a side salad. It works perfectly if you want to pair it with another Italian favourite - pizza! Try pairing with my Garlic Pizza Bread, Pear Gorgonzola Pizza or Basil Artichoke Pizza.
Frequently asked questions
Why do they call it Caprese salad?
The origins of the salad are the Isle of Capri in Italy. Hence the name Caprese salad.
What goes with Caprese Salad?
A caprese salad is perfect to serve on its own or as a side to grilled chicken, fish, lamb or kebabs.
Do you eat the basil in a Caprese salad?
Yes, you can eat the basil in the salad. It is a readily available herb that has an aromatic taste. Highly palatable, it can be consumed as part of the dish.
How do you cut tomatoes for caprese?
Using a knife and chopping board, cut the tomatoes in half if using cherry tomatoes or in thin round slices if using regular tomatoes.
Here are my top tips and tricks so that you can get this recipe right from the get go:
- Use a knife and chopping board to prepare the tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Simply pull the basil leaves from the stems and add to the salad.
- To avoid the salad going soggy, prep everything but hold off seasoning and drizzling until serving.
- The balsamic glaze is thick, rich and sensational. A small amount goes a long way!
More Light and Easy recipes
- Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
- Pear Gorgonzola Salad
- Air Fryer Chicken Skewers
- Burrata Salad
- Caprese Bruschetta
- Zucchini Slice
- Cold Stuffed Tomatoes
- Roast Chicken Salad (using store bought chicken)
- Air Fryer Beef Kabobs
All of my salad recipes are in the one location. This one is all about the simplicity my friends!
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Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
- Chopping board
- Serving platter
- Small bowl
- Honey Dipper
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes Note 1
- 220 grams mozzarella balls drained, not rinsed, Note 2
- ½ bunch basil leaves trimmed from stems
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic glaze Note 3
- Prepare the cherry tomatoes: use a knife and chopping board to slice each of the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Prepare the mozzarella balls: use the same knife and chopping board to slice the mozzarella balls in half.
- Trim the herbs: gently pull the basil leaves from the stems and discard stems.
- Combine: begin platting and season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Note 4. Add sliced mozzarella balls to the tomato and drizzle with olive oil. The spread the basil leaves on top of the cherry tomato layer.
- To serve: drizzle the salad with balsamic glaze, serve immediately.
- Note 1 - Cherry Tomatoes: I use 2 x 500 gram punnets of cherry tomatoes, which measure approximately 2 cups.
- Note 2 - Cheese: The mozzarella balls will be in a small tub in the fridge section at the store, where the other cheeses are. If you can't find it, you can use bocconcini balls instead. They are a cream based mozzarella and very similar.
- Note 3 - Balsamic Glaze: For the balsamic glaze, drizzle only the slightest amount on the salad itself and have the rest of it there for people to add more. It is a strong flavour and some people will need time to work up to it.
- Note 4 - Tossing: I encourage very little 'stirring' with this salad as it is all so fragile. It is better to plate and season lightly, than to combine in a bowl.
Published January 2021, updated July 2022, original recipe.