Heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and salt beautifully arranged. This 5 ingredient heirloom tomato caprese relies on using the best quality ingredients. This is the best way to enjoy a vine-ripened heirloom tomato!
What is Caprese Salad?
Caprese is an Italian salad made from tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. It’s called Insalata caprese or salad of Capri and contains the colors of the Italian flag.
“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”-Anthony Bourdain
Caprese is simplicity at its finest. It’s one of my favorite meals in the world!
Make this with the best ingredients. Fresh, vine-ripened, peak-of-season heirloom tomatoes make this simple salad shine.
Ingredients for making Caprese salad
- Heirloom tomatoes: First, use the best darn tomatoes you can find. You’ve waited all year for this. I prefer to use a few different colored heirloom tomatoes. Some of my favorite varieties of heirloom tomatoes are Brandywine, Beefsteak, Mr. Stripey, and Cherokee Purple. Keep reading for tips on sourcing heirloom tomatoes.
- Fresh mozzarella: Preferably that has been in stored its brine. I like to buy whole pieces and slice them. You also use pre-sliced mozzarella.
- Fresh basil: You ought to have a few plants in your garden! It even does well in containers on a patio or balcony. I can sometimes find little refrigerated backs of basil in the produce section.
- Extra virgin olive oil: You’ll be able to taste the difference in quality if you use a good olive oil. Here is a guide to help you choose an olive oil.
- Sea salt flakes or kosher salt: A little salt sprinkled on top will enhance the flavor of the tomatoes and mozzarella. It really takes this Caprese to the next level.
Variations of traditional Caprese
- Burrata Caprese: Use creamy burrata cheese in place of the mozzarella and tear it instead of slicing.
- Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese: Slice 12 ounces of buffalo mozzarella in place of the regular mozzarella.
- Vegan Caprese: Swap the mozzarella for a vegan mozzarella, such as cashew milk mozzarella.
- Add pesto: Drizzle it with fresh made pesto after assembly.
- Add balsamic glaze: Top it off with a swirl of balsamic glaze.
All you need is a knife and a serving platter.
How to make heirloom tomato Caprese salad
Start by slicing your tomatoes and mozzarella.
Then arrange them all pretty. Alternate slices of cheese and tomato. I like to alternate the colors too for a make it more visually stimulating.
Tear up the basil leaves and sprinkle them over the salad.
Tuck some basil in while you’re at it. You want to get a pop of basil in every bite!
Now drizzle that baby with some good extra virgin olive oil.
Top it off with some sea salt flakes or kosher salt. Then garnish with a few whole basil leaves.
Go ahead and dig in!
Savor every bite of the best summer salad you’ll ever eat!
Where can I find heirloom tomatoes?
The perfect summer heirloom tomatoes are a seasonal delicacy. The ones you’re looking for are vine-ripened and straight from a farm or garden! In my neck of the woods, they are only available during the peak of the summer. We have a few-week stretch every year where our diet is about 90% tomato-based! And a big part of that is caprese!
- Check your grocery store in late July or August. It will depend on the store and your location. It’s becoming more common for small grocery stores to source local produce.
- Visit a local farm or a farmers market! If you have trouble finding one, check out www.usdalocalfoodportal.com/
- Be friendly with your neighbors! When you have a strong local community, people will share! Always be kind, and remember, sharing is caring. 🙂
- Grow them yourself. My favorite seeds are from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. We’ve been ordering from them for a couple decades!
What to serve with Caprese salad
Are you wondering what goes with Caprese salad?
- My favorite way to enjoy a summer Caprese salad is by itself. It makes a refreshing, light summer meal all on its own! Try pairing it with a glass of white wine or an IPA.
- You can make a platter and allow people to serve themselves or make it into individual salads.
- A platter of heirloom tomato Caprese is a perfect meal for date nights. It is easy to make, light on the belly and tastes like heaven. It also looks stunning and pairs well with wine. What a winner! My husband and I love sharing a platter of Caprese. Each person gets a fork and digs in. Sharing a single plate brings intimacy to the dinner. We end up sitting close and talking and bonding over tomatoes and cheese. It’s the simple things in life that are best.
Other ideas for serving caprese salad
- Serve it as an appetizer.
- Make an antipasto platter. Bruschetta, grilled vegetables, olives, cured meats, and cheese make great accompaniments.
Looking for a Caprese salad without tomatoes? You’ll love my Watermelon Burrata Salad.
Or try my Caprese Crostini with Balsamic Glaze.
More heirloom tomato recipes
What are your favorite heirloom tomato varieties? Do you grow them in your garden? Let me know in the comments!
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