Easy and Healthy Caprese Salad Recipe

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

With food there is often a beauty in simplicity. One of my personal favorites is Italian Classic Caprese Salad. This simple salad is as much a celebration of pure and simple ingredients as it is of Italy itself. 

What is Caprese Salad?

Caprese Salad is a salad made of tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and olive oil. The salad is seasoned with salt, pepper, and in many cases, balsamic vinegar is added. The colors in the salad are red, green, and white, which are representative of the Italian “Tricolore” flag. 

Caprese salad topped with basil and olive oil on a white plate

My Approach to Insalata Caprese

Whenever you are working with so few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients becomes highlighted. This is even more so when you are preparing food raw – the need for top quality ingredients become paramount. 

While I am normally okay with buying generic ingredients for dishes, when it comes to something like this caprese salad, I prefer to splurge a bit to ensure my ingredients are higher quality.

For this salad, I’m going to be using heirloom tomatoes, which are famous for their sweet flavor. I will also be using fresh basil, premium cold pressed olive oil, sea salt, aged balsamic for flavor, and fresh whole mozzarella for richness.  

Slicing heirloom tomatoes with a chef's knife for a caprese salad

Developing Flavors

The most common flavor additions I can think of for a Caprese are herbs and greens. The addition of fresh savory oregano or spicy arugula immediately come to mind to help elevate the flavors of the salad. Another popular variation is to use burrata or buffalo mozzarella for the cheese. 

Pairing Ideas for Caprese

Caprese is most traditionally served as an antipasto (starter dish) rather than a contorno (side dish). Because of this, you should pair it with other starters rather than main dishes. Cured meats, cheeses, nuts, and breads are common antipasto faire. Even light fish dishes can be considered antipasto, including cured anchovies for the more culinary daring. 

Tools Required

Similar to other tomato starter dishes I have made, such as my tomato and basil bruschetta, you won’t need many tools to prepare it. All you will need is a good knife (very important for tomatoes), a cutting board, and a bowl or plate to serve the salad on.

Close-up Caprese salad garnished with herbs and olive oil served on a white plate placed on a wooden table

Caprese Salad

No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 221kcal


  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 8 ounces whole fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic to taste


  • Wash and dry vegetables
  • Slice tomatoes
  • Chiffonade the basil
  • Slice mozzarella
  • Place the tomatoes and mozzarella together by lining them up and alternating each ingredient (tomato, mozzarella, repeat)
  • Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Garnish with basil 
  • Serve


Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1157IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 297mg | Iron: 1mg
Beginner Side Dish Guide

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.

Leave a Comment