Fresh and healthy, our easy recipe for Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad is full of juicy tomatoes, mellow fresh mozzarella, a shower of fragrant basil leaves, and finished with a drizzle of tangy balsamic glaze. Perfect any time of year as an appetizer salad or pair it with grilled chicken for a main meal!
Easy Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
You may think of caprese salad as a summer dish, but think again! Tomatoes are available year-round and add gorgeous color and flavor to any dish. We particularly love cherry tomatoes – they’re small concentrated bursts of punchy tomato flavor that are so good cut up and tossed in salads. This easy salad is always a crowd pleaser making it a perfect addition to a potluck or bbq!
Our easy cherry tomato caprese salad recipe takes 10 minutes or less to put together and will bring the flavors of Italy to your plate with a few simple steps. We definitely advise using fresh basil leaves like the ingredients list calls for, dried basil leaves just won’t be the same.
If you love the flavors of caprese, try our Caprese Stuffed Air Fried Avocados for a light and refreshing main dish!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
It’s not hard to see why this caprese salad is a total winner.
- Healthy: Mozzarella is lower in fat and salt than other kinds of cheese, making it a great choice for a salad. Tomatoes are loaded with potassium, vitamins B and E, and other great nutrients your body needs.
- Quick and Easy: This salad comes together in a matter of minutes. There is no cooking required, just tossing everything together.
- Perfect For A Party: This salad is great for a potluck or a summer bbq! It’s a crowd pleasing dish that is bright, flavorful and travels well! You can also prep the ingredients separately ahead of time and quickly toss everything together right before you serve.
- Versatile: You can serve this as an appetizer or add sliced fresh Italian bread to make a tasty lunch that’s on the lighter side, but still satisfying.
- Fresh and flavorful: We *love* balsamic vinegar. It really adds so much flavor to a dish and plays so nicely off the fresh mozzarella cheese. Loads of juicy red tomatoes bring color and texture.
What is Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad is an Italian layered salad that incorporates the colors of the Italian flag – green, white, and red – in the form of basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. You’ll find it as an appetizer on Italian menus, called insalata caprese or simply caprese.
A traditional caprese salad is arranged on a plate rather than being tossed together (we happen to think both methods are great!) in layers of sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and dressed with salt and olive oil.
A caprese salad is named for the island of Capri in Southern Italy, where it is believed to have originated, perhaps in honor of the flag’s colors. Some variations and additions to caprese include pesto instead of olive oil, olives, arugula, lettuce, oregano, and black pepper. We’d like to try all of these!
What You’ll Need to Make Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
You can grab all of these ingredients in one trip to the grocery store, so definitely add them to your list. Be sure to check the recipe card below for the full amounts needed to make this recipe.
- Cherry tomatoes: You can use heirloom tomatoes if you prefer.
- Olive oil: I like extra virgin olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh mozzarella pearls: Fresh mozzarella is the mozzarella on the cheese shelf that’s stored in water. You cannot use shredded mozzarella in this recipe!
- Fresh basil: Wash and pat dry before using.
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic glaze: For drizzling on top when ready to serve. This adds a great amount of balsamic flavor, we highly recommend it!
How to Make Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Did I mention it takes less than 10 minutes to make this salad? Here’s my quick and easy method with just two steps:
Combine ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mozzarella pearls and toss to incorporate. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve. Top the salad with the fresh basil. Serve this salad immediately with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top. You can also refrigerate it for up to 2 hours. Wait to add the basil until just before serving the salad if you refrigerate it first.
Tips for Success
This salad really needs fresh, vibrant vegetables so don’t skimp on good produce. A few other tips for creating the best caprese salad are below:
- Use whole basil leaves. When you cut fresh basil it almost immediately starts to brown (not pretty!). So I use the whole leaves to keep things looking nice. If you really want to chop the basil, chop it right before adding it to the salad and serve right away.
- Substitute other tomatoes if you can’t find cherry tomatoes. If I can’t get cherry tomatoes, I like to use heirloom tomatoes instead. You’ll want to quarter and then roughly chop the tomatoes to use in the recipe. Keep in mind that larger tomatoes hold more juice.
- Make it lunch. You can serve cherry tomato caprese salad with some Grilled Chicken to make a well-rounded lunch, or serve it with a crusty fresh loaf of bread.
- Make it into a quick-grab appetizer. Slice a baguette into rounds, brush them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then toast. Pile spoonfuls of cherry tomato caprese salad atop each piece and plate as an appetizer.
- Add onion. For a bit more flavor punch, add thinly sliced raw red onion or shallot to the salad.
How to Store Caprese Salad
You can store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. If you can, remove the basil leaves before putting in the container. Then, add new fresh basil leaves when you eat the leftovers.
We don’t recommend freezing this recipe because the fresh vegetables and cheese will get mushy when defrosted.
More Healthy Side Dish Recipes
- Bacon Broccoli Salad
- Easy Cucumber Salad
- Roasted Tomatoes
- Chickpea Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Orzo Salad with Arugula
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dry
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Balsamic glaze, garnish
- Use a medium size bowl, toss to combine tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mozzarella pearls. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Top the salad with fresh basil and serve immediately with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
- Storage: You can store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. If you can, remove the basil leaves before putting in the container. Then, add new fresh basil leaves when you eat the leftovers. We don't recommend freezing this recipe because the fresh vegetables and cheese will get mushy when defrosted.
- I use the whole leaf of basil instead of cutting the basil. Once fresh basil is cut, it quickly starts to change color and brown. So you can use the whole leaves, or if you want to chop the basil, make sure to add it right before serving.
- I love using cherry tomatoes to make caprese salad because they are super common and always found at the grocery store. Heirloom tomatoes can be substituted if you can find them!
- Make sure to use fresh mozzarella, the kind stored in water. This will give you the best flavor/texture.
- For a hearty lunch, I will serve this with leftover grilled chicken. It’s hearty and so delicious.
- If you enjoy onions, thinly sliced red onion (or shallot) adds a punch to this salad.