First created in the aftermath of the First World War the Caprese salad is a dish of patriotic significance in Italy. You’ll have noticed, if you’ve ever eaten this tasty delicacy, that the colours of this salad reflect the Italian flag. Vibrant green basil, fresh white mozzarella and bright red tomatoes all come together to make this delicious, nutritious platter which evokes summer afternoons spent soaking up the Italian sunshine.
Drizzled with a zingy vinaigrette dressing this salad combines some of the finest flavours of summer and the creamy cheese is perfectly offset by the juiciest of tomatoes and the earthy impression of the basil. Whether you’re making this for a light lunch or as a show-stopping salad at an al fresco dinner party, we know that it will hit the spot and is always a popular crowd-pleaser, and what’s more, it couldn’t be easier to throw together!
The simple Caprese has only three main ingredients, but we love to make variations on this theme throughout the summer months. Why not mix the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with your favourite fresh pasta variety as a slightly more substantial dish; we love to toss our salad with orecchiette or farfalle for an authentic taste of summer in Italia. Alternatively, serve with toasted ciabatta bread as a modern take on the classic bruschetta.
Make our classic caprese salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 329 kcal
- 250g fresh mozzarella
- 4 medium tomatoes (use 200g vine-ripened Piccolo tomatoes if you’re going to serve with pasta)
- Large handful fresh basil leaves
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- A little salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cut the mozzarella and tomatoes into slices of a similar size, about ½ cm thick. Arrange the pieces on a large plate, layering mozzarella and tomato alternatively.
- Roughly tear the basil leaves, to release their flavour, and sprinkle over the mozzarella and tomato.
- Combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bottle with a small pinch of salt and a little ground black pepper. Shake well to combine thoroughly and pour a small amount over the salad to taste, be careful not to overdress it as this will drown out the natural flavour.
- Serve immediately and enjoy al fresco. Buon appetito!
Chef’s tip: If you’re making a Caprese pasta salad, cook and drain the pasta first and allow it to cool whilst you slice the ingredients. We recommend you use Piccolo tomatoes for this and slice them each in half lengthways. Ensure you cut the mozzarella into smaller pieces so that it mixes well with the pasta. Apply the vinaigrette liberally and toss the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil so that all of the salad is coated in the dressing. Buon appetito!