Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Light, flavorful and so easy to make, this cherry tomato caprese salad is a favorite summer side dish. The fresh basil and mozzarella take it way over the top!
With the beastly hot weather in my neck of the woods, tasty summer salads seem like the perfect solution to dinnertime…or anytime…woes.
I adore the classic caprese ingredients – tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.
And this delicious salad combines them perfectly with a splash of tart balsamic vinegar.
The flavors of this salad are intensified by simmering down the tomato juice, garlic and vinegar and whisking together a quick vinaigrette.
That might seem like an unnecessary step, but there is a reason this cherry tomato caprese salad is so highly prized at BBQ’s, potlucks, luncheons (and ok, just for those times when I want to make it and dig in all by my lonesome).
It’s in a class all its own with the tart tomato flavor and other fresh ingredients.
Fresh mozz, I’m looking at you.
After I got over the hesitancy to dig into something so pretty, this was definitely a hard one to stop eating.
Light, flavorful and so very fresh, this is a perfect side dish for so many meals!
If your garden (or ahem, your neighbor’s garden) has a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes and basil, this tomato caprese salad should skyrocket to the top of your what-to-make-next list!
One Year Ago: Hot Fudge Sauce
Two Years Ago: Angel Hair Pasta Salad
Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and patted dry
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt together. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes so that the tomatoes give up some of their juices.
- Transfer the tomatoes and any accumulated liquid to a salad spinner and spin to remove the seeds and the liquid. Then pour the accumulated seeds and liquid into a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds, reserving the liquid. (I don’t have a salad spinner, so I dumped the all of the tomatoes and juices into a fine mesh strainer set over a liquid measuring cup and pressed on the tomatoes lightly to give up more of their juices. I picked out a few of the seeds but didn’t worry so much about eliminating all of them.)
- Return the tomatoes to the original bowl and pour the tomato liquid into a small saucepan (you should have between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of liquid).
- To the small saucepan, add the vinegar and garlic. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. This will take about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then whisk in the olive oil.
- Add the mozzarella cheese, basil and cooled dressing to the bowl with the tomatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Recipe Source: from Cook’s Country Aug/Sept 2009
39 Comments on “Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad”
Hi Mel. I’m a 2020 transplant to Idaho (from Iowa, not California..ha). The recipe looks great. I was wondering your thoughts on adding additional greens such as arugula or the like to the salad. I know it would alter it, but still think it may make a delicious side dish. Wondering if you’ve tried this. Thanks
Hi David, I haven’t tried that, but I think it’s a great idea! Welcome to Idaho!
I have a question. In your ingredient list you say 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar. But in the directions, you say to reduce vinegar and garlic
to 3 Tablespoons. What am I missing?
It’s a little confusing, but you are adding the vinegar and garlic to the saucepan with the reserved tomato liquid (end of step #1).
Yum, I’ve made it twice, so easy and our new favorite salad!
I’m thinking of making this for our beach trip. How long do you think it will last, if I make ahead to take?
You could probably make it a day ahead of time.
I LOVE this recipe! I have made it at least a dozen times since I found it! I grow my own Basil, so I always have it fresh. (We live in FL) We have an Avocado tree that is VERY productive this year, and I am trying to think of ways to use them. Tonite, I diced up an avocado, and added it to the Caprese salad, and what a treat! It is amazing! Unfortunately, it only has avocados in July and August. It is a Brogdan, not a Haas, so I can’t get them the rest of the year, but the Haas would be good too. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Jealous about that avocado tree, Marita!
I’ve made this several times and it is ymmy! I don’t ever seem to get very much juice and wondered if it was the way I was cutting the tomatoes. Your picture shows halved but you say to quarter them. Which do you recommend?
I actually do either for this recipe, depending on my mood. 🙂 I’ve found I get different amounts of juice and I think it might be the cutting but also the time of year for tomatoes (seems like they are juicier in summer).
This will be one of my “standard” go to’s– so excited to have such a flavorful yet low-fat salad to got to that I can enjoy while losing weight (and beyond). Thanks!
This is a summer staple at our house. Our garden gives a a fresh supply of basil and cherry tomatoes all season. I’ve never done anything to remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Can you please explain the benefit of this extra step? Thanks!
Amy Y – I don’t always remove all the seeds either, but I do try to extract juice from the tomatoes since it helps concentrate the flavor of the dressing a little bit.
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Very interesting combinations
I just went out and picked a couple of quarts of cherry tomatoes and can’t wait to make this salad for dinner. The idea of draining the tomatoes and using the juice in the dressing is a stroke of genius. We have been eating Caprese salad all summer long, but it really seemed to need a little something more. The addition of a bit of vinegar and garlic will take this salad to a whole new level. Thanks, Mel! I just discovered your site yesterday, and I love, love, love it.
I made this for a dinner party and it turned out great! I will definitely make it again to have more to myself.
This is an outstanding salad recipe. I first encountered it a year ago on foodgawker and have made it a few times. It’s so easy to make and is absolutely delicious! You’re an absolute treasure. Thank you so much for sharing this.
I made this salad for a meeting at church I substituted red wine vinegar, my fave, and added a bag of the new mini pepperonis, and right before serving tossed in a bag of seasoned croutons. It was a hit to say the least. I did increase the oil and vinegar a little to compensate for the addition of the croutons. When I find a recipe that I love, I mess around with it, i made the same recipe with the pepperonis, left out the croutons, increased the vinaigrette, added some diced green pepper, and sliced black olives and tossed it with bowtie pasta. I called it Pizza pasta salad, it to was a hit.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Stephanie – Yes, you could make this the morning before serving. I had leftovers the last time I made this and the flavors were a bit too strong after refrigerating overnight, but that may have been just a matter of my preference.
What a great way to enjoy those great summer flavours!
Made this for a party over the weekend and cut the tomatoes and mozzerella even smaller and served with a toasted french loaf….best brushcetta ever! Got rave reviews from everyone. Thank you so much again!
Thanks, Beth! Love the idea of serving this as bruschetta.
Made this tonight!!!! HOMERUN! Ridiculously good! Thanks for this great recipe, it will become a summer staple!
I love me a Caprese salad and pretty much live off them when I have fresh basil and tomatoes in my garden. This took it to a whole new level. So yummy!
Love caprese salad! I recently had a very large party where I served mainly finger foods–but really wanted a salad! I used roma tomatoes (quartered), fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil and skewered them. I put all of the skewers on a large platter and drizzled with some basalmic vinaigrette and let it sit for several hours. It was so yum and could be easily eaten by hand. Just thought I would pass along the idea!
This recipe is awesome, and so easy to make! Thank you so much for sharing; all of my friends love it 🙂
classic and fantastic. the balsamic is essential, and the reduced juice is an awesome touch.
I think you would LOVE this recipe. Use italian parsley. we omited the capers and thought black olives would be a nice addition. It was even better after sitting in the fridge a few hours!
I am in LOVE with Caprese! Unfortunatly my tomato plants were a loss this year =( My basil is growing like a weed tho! =) I’m gonna see if I can score some nice heirlooms at the farmer’s market one of these weekends & see if I can throw this salad together. I’ve never tried reducing the tomato juice. What a stroke of brilliance!
oh, we also used fresh mozzerella (not buffalo style)
Caprese is one of my absolute summer favorites. Soon we’ll have fresh garden tomatoes and basil and then off we’ll go.
Your photo is gorgeous, Melanie! I love caprese salad! What a brilliant idea to spin the tomatoes in a salad spinner to remove the seeds and juice…I would have never thought of that! I have everything to make this right now, so this will be lunch today (and a side dish for grilled chicken tonight). Thanks for sharing! 🙂