A simple Caprese Salad, broken into bite-sized pieces, perfect for an evening in or for bringing to a party or potluck!
The Easiest Caprese Salad Recipe
It’s almost that time of year. The time when those of you who have planted gardens can begin to really anticipate reaping the fruits of your labor.
I’m pretty sad that I won’t be among you this year. Between moving and just life in general we (meaning mostly Zach, he’s the gardener) just didn’t have time to plant a garden this year. All of the fresh summer produce we’ll need for our bruschetta, corn salad, and Caprese Salads are going to have to come to us courtesy of family members, farmer’s markets, or roadside produce stands.
Whether or not you have a garden in your own backyard, you’re going want to take whatever steps necessary to procure yourself some fresh cherry tomatoes and basil to make yourself this Caprese Salad.
Caprese salad is simple. It’s composed of four main ingredients: fresh tomato, mozzarella, basil, and a balsamic glaze. It’s that glaze (or balsamic reduction) that you drizzle overtop that really sets this salad apart from others.
You don’t want to use just straight balsamic vinegar; that would be too thin and it doesn’t pack the same potent punch that a reduction does. Instead, you’ll need to cook your balsamic vinegar on the stovetop (I like to add a bit of honey to mine for some depth of flavor) until it’s reduced to one third of its original volume.
Heads-up! Cooking vinegar stinks. Literally. Your house is going to smell like cooked vinegar, so open a window if you can. If you plan on serving this Caprese Salad to guests in your house, I strongly recommend you make the glaze the day before. This will give the odor a chance to dissipate. Since it takes several hours for the glaze to thicken after it’s been cooked, this isn’t a bad recommendation anyway, whether or not you’re expecting company.
What Kind of Mozzarella to Use for Caprese Salad
If you can get your hands on it, I recommend using mozzarella “pearls” (I used these in my video). These are small, bite-sized balls of mozzarella that are usually available in your grocery store’s specialty cheese section. Drain them and pat them dry and toss them into your salad. Easy-peasy.
If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, you should be able to find larger balls of mozzarella, ones that are probably about the same size as cherry tomatoes. These are a bit big and what I love most about this Caprese Salad is that everything in it is bite-sized (no knife necessary!), so in keeping in line with this, I recommend cutting the mozzarella balls into thirds. That’s what I did with the mozzarella in the photos you see here.
How do You pronounce “Caprese”
I’m throwing this tip in here for those of you who have been reading this as “kuh-prees” all along. Been there, and been embarrassed by it when the waitress at the restaurant asked me if I meant “kuh-prey-sey”.
“kuh-prey-sey” is the correct pronunciation (though some countries do pronounce it “kah-pray-zee”). Now did everyone know that and no one ever told me?
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Be sure to check out my Caprese Salad video at the bottom of the recipe! If you enjoy watching, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’ve already uploaded over 150 recipe videos that you can watch for free!
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar (235ml)
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 lb mozzarella pearls² well-drained and gently patted dry (455g)
- 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half (570g)
- ⅓ cup basil ribbons³ see note
- finely ground sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook (stirring occasionally) until the mixture is reduced in volume to ⅓ cup (⅓ of its original volume).
- Allow to cool completely before drizzling over salad. Glaze will continue to thicken as it cools.
To Assemble Salad
- I recommend assembling this salad within 30-60 minutes of serving. To assemble: Combine mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil ribbons in a bowl and use a spatula to gently toss until combined. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, to taste and stir again. Place in a serving dish.
- Once ready to serve, drizzle with completely cooled balsamic glaze. If desired, you may toss the salad, but it looks much prettier if left untossed.
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