Learn how to make the classic mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad, or switch it up with other produce powerhouses.

By Kelly Vaughan
August 04, 2020
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Caprese Salad
Credit: Owsamael334/Getty Images

Some of the most delicious and satisfying dishes are also the simplest. That's where the caprese salad comes in. This four-ingredient Italian-inspired starter is made with mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar—plus, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Of course, this basic formula can be adjusted. For the cheese, use buffalo mozzarella for richer, slightly sweeter flavor or uber-creamy burrata if you really want to wow. For the tomatoes, choose from readily available vine tomatoes or colorful heirlooms that you can pick up at the farmers' market. Swap in pesto in place of fresh basil and feel free to add a drizzle of syrupy balsamic vinegar. Because caprese salads are made with just a few ingredients, it's important that each is of the highest-quality you can find.

From here, you can layer the makings of a caprese salad between ciabatta bread or serve it on a rectangular platter for an al fresco appetizer. Below, we're sharing three inspired takes on this Italian classic.

Chicken Paillard With Caprese Panzanella
Credit: Con Poulos

The Main Course

Caprese salad meets a Panzanella salad in this family-friendly dinner entrée. Toss a variety of heirloom and cherry tomatoes with crusty sourdough croutons, celery hearts, capers, torn fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. Top it off with breaded chicken cutlets.

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A Simple Sandwich

A basic caprese sandwich makes a delicious vegetarian bite. However, this protein-packed version is just as delicious and includes a grilled turkey cutlet. Serve it hot or cold for lunch—either way, it's sure to satisfy.

tomato peach mozzarella bresaola tartine
Credit: Dana Gallagher

Seasonal Star

Instead of the traditional tri-color combination of tomato, basil, and mozzarella, this tartine takes it to the next level. Heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes share the stage with bright peaches and bresaola—an aged salted beef. It's the perfect thing to serve at warm-weather parties.

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