Caprese Salad

What better way to end the season than with a dish that is the essence of an Italian summer garden…tomatoes and basil.  Each summer one of my favorite antipasto dishes is  a caprese salad of sliced vine ripe tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil that is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. If topped with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, so much the better.

Caprese Salad Made With A Black Krim Heirloom Tomato

Another way to present the dish is to have it a look like a tomato sandwich and dress it with a light pesto vinaigrette.

Caprese Brandywine Tomato Sandwich With Pesto Vinaigrette

Both of these examples only take minutes to prepare, look beautiful on a plate and have an amazing flavor. There is no recipe needed for this dish. Just use vine ripe tomatoes (heirloom for the ultimate taste) and the best quality ingredients that you can find.

Even though the tomato and basil plants have been pulled from my garden, it is not the end of my enjoyment of summer’s bounty. I have the last of the picked tomatoes sitting on trays in the kitchen waiting to be made into sauce for the freezer, bowls of cherry tomatoes that are being enjoyed on lunch salads and piles of basil leaves being made into pesto. A couple of the prettiest tomatoes are being saved for one more caprese salad. If you have a wonderful vine ripe tomato sitting in your kitchen, think about preparing one of the best Italian antipasto dishes there is…a caprese salad. Perfect for either a dinner party or a simple weeknight meal.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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159 Responses to Caprese Salad

  1. hotlyspiced says:

    That’s a great looking dish. Your tomatoes are such a rich colour. And I love your dish, too. xx

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charlie, this is one of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes. The heirloom tomatoes do have a wonderful color…especially the one in the first photo. That is a Black Krim tomato, one of my all time favorite tomatoes to grow.

  2. What better way…..? There is no better way!! I live on this salad all summer and never get tired of it. I am lying in bed reading this post…maybe I will have it for breakfast!

    • Karen says:

      I think I have to agree with you Heather. A caprese salad made with the best ingredients is so good. This would be a good way to start the day. See…I can make something that fits into your new way of eating, at least every once in a while.

  3. Carolyn Chan says:

    Your tomatoes are gorgeous !! And this is one of my favourite salads.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn, The tomato crop this year really produced some beauties. I think a caprese salad is a favorite of a lot of people. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Gorgeous stacked salad!

  5. One of my favourite salads. So simple but with the best ingredients just wonderful! Beautiful photos Karen.

  6. Norma Chang says:

    Both looks mouth watering delicious especially the super thick slices of black krim heirloom. Agree the flavor and aroma of heirloom can’t be beat. My tomato season has ended, looking forward to next year’s harvest.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Norma, The Black Krim is one of my favorite tomatoes. It was the first to ripen, loaded with tomatoes and they had an outstanding taste. My kitchen counter is lined with all the tomatoes that we had to pick. I’ll be going home with a bunch packed up and lots of frozen sauce.

  7. Chef Emil says:

    Caprese is such a refreshing salad! Yours are not only refreshing but beautiful works of art! I could even smell the basil!!!

  8. viveka says:

    Wonderful … I did this on our menu in 2004 – I did the costing the recipe spec in 2003- God that is now 10 years ago – here is my post about it. http://wp.me/p293Pw-11O – this time you didn’t bring me something new – but you brought me stunning photos and they are far better then mine – my was so bad I couldn’t use it when scanning it from the spec. Have to borrow somebody’s. Totally agree this is a fantastic and refreshing salad and one of my all year around.

  9. Simple but delicious! We have salad every meal, this will be a nice addition to our meals (and a change), thanks!

  10. Such a classic and always a favorite in our gluttonous house.

  11. dazzling simple and attractive

  12. bishop9396 says:

    Yum! I am still a bit of a country bumpkin. About two years ago I was visiting my daughter in Camarillo California and she made a small tray of the sandwich version with her vine ripe tomatoes and fresh basil picked moments before. Wow…drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar – I was hooked. Now I add to my education and the garden treat has a name. Gall durn! I larn sumpin new every dag burned day!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bishop, You certainly gave me a chuckle. It really is easy to get hooked on this salad. I know you had a nice crop of tomatoes with which to make this dish. By the way…I wouldn’t ever call you a country bumpkin. LOL.

  13. reg45 says:

    Down here in Mexico I make this quite often for ourselves and guests. If I stack it I call it a Caprese Neopolitano *like the dessert name (since it is layered). In place of mozzarella, I use slices of herbed goat cheese for a bolder flavor.

  14. Both my husband and I were brought up in an Italian household so this is bliss for us! I love the little changes you added here so you can keep making it fresh although a straight caprese salad will do just fine too!

  15. Simply sensational Karen! :-) Mandy xo

  16. You can’t go wrong with caprese salad made from the freshest ingredients. And yours are beautiful!

  17. Oh my goodness Karen you must should enter your second photo into a contest. It is amazing…My fork and knife are ready for this feast!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Bam, for your kind words. The second photo was when we had friends for dinner and I wouldn’t let anyone eat until I took the photo. Thank goodness they are such good friends…they never have a meal at our house without my photographing the entire meal. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

  18. Little Sis says:

    Classic and timeless. My tomatoes finally came ripe and we’ve been enjoying them like this (without the cheese) with some regularity. What a luxury.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Little Sis, Homegrown tomatoes really are a luxury. I will certainly miss mine when they are gone…only a couple of meals worth of fresh ones left. Enjoy yours while they last. Thank you for your comment.

  19. Conor Bofin says:

    Another keeper for sure Karen. Great photography and lovely presentation.
    Best,
    Conor

  20. Monique says:

    We love this too Karen..favorite flavors..and lots of color!

  21. Gorgeous salad, I love caprese!

  22. Dena says:

    I just bought some cheese for our homemade pizza night – sundried tomato and basil cheddar, suggested by the cheesemaker himself for homemade pizza. Your post has me really looking forward to our family’s pizza night (although I doubt any salad will be involved) :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dena, I’m sure your pizza will be delicious, especially with a recommendation on what cheese to use from the cheese maker himself. You could take all the components of my salad sometime and make a delicious pizza Margarita…very Italian.

  23. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well that certainly looks wonderful!

  24. I love these so much! I used my very last tomatoes last week. I was so sad. Now I have to wait another 6 months before I can enjoy another caprese salad. I should have planted more tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anna, I have been making sauce with a lot of my tomatoes as the rest had to be picked at once since we are closing the cottage. I have enough fresh ones left for just a couple more sliced tomato salads. I know what you mean…we will have to wait a long time to enjoy tomatoes right off the vine. Every year I say I’m not going to plant as many…but I planted 15 this year.

      • I am going for 6 next year, staggering their planting time so I have a few that are peaking later. All four of mine peaked at the same time. Next year things will be different…. :)

      • Karen says:

        I will be interested to hear if staggering your planting effects when your crop ripens. For my garden, I don’t have any wiggle room as the season is so short. I can’t plant before the last week of May because of the possibility of frost. I’ve had to pick the remainder of the crop all at once because we have had two nights with temperatures at freezing or below.

  25. dhphotosite says:

    Super photos of a yummy dish! My Mom made this for dinner quite often when we were children. We didn’t have a lot, but Mom sure fed us well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi David, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It sounds like your mom fed you very will. Simple dishes like this are very good.

  26. I love this salad my friend, so vibrant :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  27. glamorous glutton says:

    Heirloom tomatoes are so delicious and topped with mozzarella and EVO what could be better. A great end to the summer. GG

  28. A_Boleyn says:

    Even though they contain my nemesis, the raw tomato, the presentations are beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Boleyn, Thank you for your comment…I’m glad you liked the presentation. As they say “looks are everything” especially if you don’t eat raw tomatoes.

  29. Kristy says:

    This is by far my favorite salad! You’ve done it beautifully Karen. I can just smell the cracked pepper and basil from here. Yum!

  30. kitchenriffs says:

    Really nice photos. Great garnishing job. This salad is one of my favorites, too. I hate saying goodbye to all of these great summer flavors, but really excited about the heartier food I always associate with fall. Always good to have something to look forward to! Nice post – thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you John, for your nice compliment. I’m like you…I will really miss the wonderful flavor of summer tomatoes. Fall in New Hampshire is such a beautiful time of the year that I don’t mind leaving summer behind.

  31. I love this salad, and have enjoyed it in some vey nice restaurants. But I haven’t made it at home, and I have no idea why I haven’t. Yours look so beautiful! I only have a few tomatoes left, too, but I do have some buffalo mozzarella in the refrigerator and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it. I bought it on impulse! :-) Now I know, so thank you, Karen! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, I’m happy to have given you inspiration of what to do with the buffalo mozzarella. I think it will do the last of your tomatoes justice. Enjoy!

  32. Beautiful, as always. I wish I could get tomatoes to grow. :( Insalata Caprese is wonderful with store bought tomatoes but vine ripened home grown tomatoes take it over the top. I’m jealous.

  33. mjskit says:

    You are so right – the caprese IS the best way to send out the summer. There’s very few things as fresh and tasty. These are two beautiful presentations!

    • Karen says:

      Hi MJ, I’m glad you agree with me…caprese is such a delicious salad and I wanted to showcase the last of my tomatoes in a gppd way. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  34. The second caprese photo reminded me of The Flying Nun! Enjoy the last tastes of summer and best wishes for an easy move to autumn digs!

    • Karen says:

      That is so funny but I think you are right, Natalia. Thank you for your kind wish…our New Hampshire home and apples trees just waiting to be picked are calling. Autumn is probably the prettiest time of the year there.

  35. emmycooks says:

    It looks like you’ve had some divine caprese salads this summer! We had one ourselves tonight–there’s no better way to celebrate very last of summer’s tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emmy, We certainly have had some great caprese salads. Each time is a little different, depending on which variety of tomato I’m using but they all all delicious. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed a caprese salad as well. A nice way to end summer. Thank you for your comment.

  36. rsmacaalay says:

    That salad looks good, I love a simple caprese

  37. Beautiful shots, Karen! We’ve eaten our share of them this summer!
    Have you seen that Maplebrook Farm is making a Burrata now? I bought some last week -Oh, My!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your compliment, Marie. I know you have had a nice crop of tomatoes as well. This salad is a great way of using some of them. Thanks for your tip about the Burrata which I love. We will be back in New Hampshire tomorrow and I will have to check at the market.

  38. What a delicious way to present that, Karen! It looks visually fantastic.

  39. My Kitchen Stories says:

    Yes there is nothing better than basil , tomato and buf motzarella at he height of the season. It looks so beautiful too . very impressive

  40. Mad Dog says:

    I’ll have to try both of those – I love basil, mozzarella and tomato!

  41. Kathy says:

    This looks so delicious, Karen! What a perfect time of year for you to post this–when our gardens still have a few luscious ripe tomatoes and perhaps some basil. We pulled our tomatoes last week but there are still some rosy red ones sitting in the basement. Now, if only there was a place to buy fresh mozzarella in town. Will have to keep this in mind if we go to the city soon. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathy, I think a lot of us gardeners still have some tomatoes in the house this time of the year. I hope you get a chance to make the caprese but even if you don’t, I know you will enjoy your remaining tomatoes. Thank you for your compliment.

  42. twisterfish says:

    So simple yet so delicious! A favorite of mine.
    Gorgeous photos!

  43. That is just about my favorite and you make it look so beautiful. I’ve found a balsamic glaze that is thicker than the vinegar & just perfect for this.

  44. There are few dishes a simply perfect as a caprese salad, in my mind. Love! And i’m beyond jealous that you have an apple orchard on your property – how lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy, I have to agree with you. Caprese salad is simple to make but is so good. As they say…simple is best in many situations. The main thing is to have the very best of ingredients for this particular dish. I do love being surrounded by an apple orchard at our home in New Hampshire but it is a lot of work. I do love that we have a 100 different varieties of apples…they are so good.

  45. Ah, beautiful caprese salad. Both versions look delicious and how nice that you still have this bit of summer to enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I have made quarts of tomato sauce and we still have a couple of dozen tomatoes to take back to New Hampshire. The cottage will be closed tomorrow. It was a good year overall with the garden even though there was late blight to work around with the tomatoes.

  46. This is hands down one of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes.. especially varieties like you’ve presented here. I can only dream of having a Black Krim tomato, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in our markets here. My favorite is the pesto, a restaurant here serves a version of this one with pesto.. I would have yours for dinner.. maybe two or three, please:)

  47. musingmar says:

    Oh my, so simple, so beautiful and classic, so delicious! Thanks for sharing this caprese salad. Funny you should mention you have tomatoes on trays waiting to be made into sauce. I bought one more 25 pound box of Roma tomatoes at the market yesterday, the last my vendor will have this season. I made a batch of sauce with the ripest tomatoes this morning; the rest are spread out on my dining table to continuing ripening until it’s time to turn them into sauce too. We’ll be enjoying them all winter long!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, It sounds like we will have our big pots busy. There is nothing better than sauce made from vine ripe tomatoes…especially in the middle of winter.

  48. This is one of my favourite salads because of its simplicity and fresh flavours. However, even though it is a simple dish — I must say that yours looks spectacular. Great way to wrap up the season Karen … I couldn’t agree more!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Barb, for your nice compliment. I do like to make the salad as pretty as it is tasty. I will certainly miss having fresh tomatoes…they have been wonderful.

  49. Misky says:

    My new daughter-in-law’s parents from Columbia are visiting at the moment, and I served this very thing as a starter last weekend. Had to hunt down “real and proper” buffalo mozzarella, put I did find it eventually. Not always easy to source such things from the heart of hilly Sussex. It was a huge success; they’d never tasted mozzarella or seen this combination before.

  50. Something so simple made to look and taste so beautiful – wonderful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, You must be missing homegrown tomatoes since you are away from your garden. Although I know you are enjoying foods you can’t get at home while you are in England. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  51. Caprese salad just really represents Italy to me-it’s the flag too :D And yours looks so luscious Karen!

  52. Andrea says:

    Karen, are you serving this utterly beautiful and ever popular appetizer from “Villeroy Boch” plates?! The Insalata Caprese looks wonderful when served this way and it looks even more appetizing when served on beautiful plates like yours!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, You are right, my china at the cottage is Villeroy Boch. They are such a pretty pattern…too bad the beautiful lemon in the center doesn’t show when food is on the salad plate. Thank you for your lovely compliment.

  53. Simplicity at its perfection! I am too a fan of caprese salad.

  54. Gardengirl says:

    The Caprese Salad looks delicious! I am always looking for new ways to use my tomatoes and basil. Simple is best and this is certainly simple! Thanks for sharing! I also checked out a couple other posts and loved them too. The lobster looks delish. I’m a seafood girl at heart.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed some of my other posts. Seafood in New England is always so fresh so you will often find me creating a new dish using it. I look forward to your visits.

  55. Classic and always good. One of my favourite summer lunch!

  56. I need one more caprese salad this year! I do still have basil growing, and the version above with pesto sounds perfect right now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. My basil is going strong even after two nights of 32 degrees. Enjoy the caprese salad. Thank you for your comment.

  57. twbarritt says:

    Beautiful, elegant photo and dish. It really does show the simplicity of summer at its finest. I will miss the tomato crop of 2012!

  58. just perfection. a dish that sums up the beauty of the end of summer! Love it

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Jessica, for your nice compliment. Just what I thought…tomatoes and basil are such a wonderful part of a summer garden. I’ll miss having them right outside my door.

  59. I love caprese salads! I am pretty sure we had one every night this summer! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christina, Caprese salads are so good that I can see why you would want to eat them every night during the summer. I only have a few tomatoes left.

  60. ladyfi says:

    How utterly delicious and lovely in its simplicity.

  61. I know those tomatoes tasted as fresh and good as they look. Simple but classy plates. I like it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy, This summer’s tomatoes were so tasty and the caprese salads were terrific. Only a few left on the kitchen counter now. Thank you for your comment.

  62. Karista says:

    Well my heart is beating rapidly Karen. I was scrolling down to make this comment and my eye caught a comment from someone that I though said ” Chef Emeril”. :) I nearly choked! I thought, oh my gosh, I wonder if Karen can introduce me. Hahaha! I love Emeril. My very first Chef crush. But as I looked back it said Chef Emil. Now I’ll have to go check out his blog. But back to this lovely salad… one of my absolute faves. I never tire of this lovely salad! Beautiful pictures too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karista, I chuckled reading your comment. Do stop by Chef Emil’s blog…he is also known as The Tin Man in the comments. Thank you for your compliment.

  63. ChgoJohn says:

    I so agree with you, Karen. Soon all we’ll have left are memories of this season’s tomatoes as we eagerly await next year’s crop. What better way to enjoy these last few than with a Caprese salad? Well, we just might be able to eke out a BLT or two but I bet you’re way ahead of me. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, With only a few tomatoes left, a sandwich is definitely in order besides having them sliced in this salad. Even with blight, this summer’s crop of tomatoes was very good.

  64. Tandy says:

    I am going to try my luck with tomatoes again this summer! PS, re an RSS feed – if you want to add one to your blog (so I can read you on my RSS reader) then you would have to go into the widgets and drag the RSS widget into your side bar. Have a great day :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tandy, I do think that you should try growing tomatoes again. The rewards are really great especially if you grow some of the heirloom varieties that have so much flavor. Thanks for the explanation about the RSS.

  65. How playful you are in setting and creating your dishes Karen ! And what better way to enjoy fresh ingredients like your heirloom tomatoes. Lovely !!

  66. Katerina says:

    Yes, caprese salad is an all time classic Karen! Yours looks absolutely fabulous!

  67. Susan says:

    There is indeed nothing better in the summer than a delicious Caprese salad made with the finest tomatoes! I also have lots of my own tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be used for just such a treat and also for sauce. I love your Caprese ‘sandwich’ salad :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, I brought two boxes home from the cottage and made sauce with all but three. I most have another caprese sandwich with the last ones. Enjoy your tomatoes while they last. Thank you for your comment.

  68. Oooh la la. And delicious as well!

  69. Don’t remind me that Summer is ending. :( Although, this gorgeous and tasty recipe cheered me up over the fact!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashley, I can’t believe that summer flew by so fast. My tomatoes were delicious…only three left to enjoy. I’m glad you like the post and photos.

  70. I adore caprese salad, especially when it is topped with a great balsamic vinegar! This is a great way to say goodbye to summer.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christine, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I really hate that my vine ripe tomatoes are coming to an end. This salad was a nice way to use one of the last ones.

  71. bellini says:

    You’re living the dream surrounded by apple orchards and all these “critters”. Both versions of your Caprese salad look mouth watering as well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bellini, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. The vegetable garden in Maine produced a lovely crop of tomatoes this year. Now that we are back at our home in New Hampshire it is time to start picking apples.

  72. cabinet stew says:

    be still my heart – the Caprese salad is perhaps one of life’s most perfect little bites! And a favorite of mine. If you don’t have “perfect” looking pieces you can do the whole thing as a sandwich on french loaf. That is a lunchtime favorite of mine at a local sandwich shop. (sometimes I even have them add a little prosciutto!)

    • Karen says:

      H Carol, I have really enjoyed the summer tomato season and the caprese salads were one of my favorite ways of enjoying them. Oh yes, putting the caprese salad into a sandwich is delicious as well.

  73. lvaletutto says:

    Love this dish and how pretty you made it look! And homemade pesto too. Delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, Thank you for your compliment. This is such a simple dish to prepare that you don’t mind taking a little time to make it look pretty.

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