Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

5 from 7 votes
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This easy Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes has only 3 easy ingredients and can be made in 5 minutes. A bright and fresh side dish that is perfect for summer!

A small plate of cherry tomatoes and baby mozzarella next to a large bowl of the same. Both are garnished with basil.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in a Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
  2. Instructions for Making Homemade Mozzarella Balls
  3. Tips For Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
  4. Add A Little Balsamic Reduction
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Storing Leftover Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
  7. More Caprese-Inspired Recipes
  8. How to Make Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
  9. Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes Recipe

This recipe is a slight twist on your traditional Caprese salad. When you make traditional Caprese salad, you layer big slices of tomato, basil, and mozzarella together. Although I love the traditional way, I also love this easy, “toss-it-all-together” variation. It is a fresh, gorgeous, vibrant salad that you will be craving all summer long!

The key to the best Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes is making it with high-quality fresh ingredients. The combination of cherry tomatoes, sliced or bite-sized mozzarella balls, with fresh basil makes the complete meal! This is the perfect way to share a delicious side dish with family and friends!

Ingredients in a Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

With this salad, you don’t want to take shortcuts. Use fresh, high-quality ingredients, all the way down to the salt and pepper. After all, if you are going to make this salad, it is worth making right!

  • Tomatoes For this recipe, you can use cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or any bite-sized tomato. You can also dice up your favorite garden tomato if you don’t have any cherry tomatoes.
  • Mozzarella We like using bite-sized marinated fresh mozzarella balls (aka mozzarella ciliegine) in this recipe because they are just so convenient. You can also use bocconcini or dice fresh mozzarella into small cubes.
  • Fresh Basil This is a must! Not only does it taste the best, hands-down, but it is also part of what makes this dish so gorgeous! Sprinkle smaller pieces of fresh basil over top for a beautiful appearance on a serving platter.
  • Salt and Pepper – We always use Kosher salt or sea salt. Additionally, if you want to bring out those flavors, use a course variety. In addition to that, you will want to use a grinder for the pepper. You want to have fresh, ground pepper for this recipe!
A carton of cherry tomatoes, a container of mozzarella balls, and a basil plant.


Instructions for Making Homemade Mozzarella Balls

If you can’t find marinated mozzarella balls at your local store, you can always marinate your own! You can use plain ciliegine or bocconcini, or additionally, you can cut up fresh mozzarella cheese into cubes and marinate those. Here’s what to do:

  1. Combine – Combine ½ cup olive oil, 2 to 3 cloves fresh minced garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh basil, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon finely chopped green onion, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl.
  2. Stir – Stir in fresh mozzarella pearls or cubed fresh mozzarella until well coated.
  3. Refrigerate – Then, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (best overnight).
A top-view of a bowl of caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and seasonings.

Tips For Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

Caprese salad recipe with cherry tomatoes is simple to make and even better with these helpful tips. Preparing and choosing tomatoes is the most important tip then adding herbs or learning how to cut or tear fresh basil will make this the perfect dish!

  • Drain – Drain off some of the oil from the marinated mozzarella. Sometimes the mozzarella comes packed with a lot of oil. It is ok to drain some off to make it healthier.
  • Cut or tear basil – This is a big debate among chefs. I like to tear the basil to keep the bright green color and get a punch of flavor when I bite into it. Some prefer to cut the basil to release the flavors throughout the whole dish, however, it all comes down to personal preference.
  • Ripe tomatoes – Choose the most ripe tomatoes for this
  • Types of tomatoes – Use a variety of tomatoes. When they are in season, we like to use cherry tomatoes and sun gold tomatoes from our garden. However, if they are not in season, we like to use the big variety pack from Costco. Serve at room temperature.
  • Herbs – Try it with fresh basil, mint, or parsley for different variations!
  • Storing tomatoes – This one is a biggie. Do not refrigerate before serving. You want this salad to be bursting with flavor and that can only happen at room temperature.
A plate with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction.

Add A Little Balsamic Reduction

Take this Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes a notch and add a little balsamic vinegar or reduction to your Caprese salad. We love using “Nonna Pia’s” Balsamic Glaze. It is a little sweet with a rich, bright, vinegary punch so, it pairs perfectly with this dish.

“Yum! This salad was so good even though its so simple. I will definitely make it again!”

-Ashley

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes something “Caprese”?

“Caprese” is a culinary term that refers to a dish consisting of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. It is said to have originated from the island of Capri in Italy. Especially when layered on a plate, these ingredients are believed to symbolize the Italian flag.

Should Caprese salad be refrigerated?

In short, no. Do not make this dish ahead of time and refrigerate. It is meant to be served at room temperature. To clarify, tomatoes DO NOT do well in the cold. Tomatoes are not meant to be refrigerated. They will lose so much flavor. Moreover, they just don’t taste right when they are cold. Prepare up to an hour ahead of time and, most importantly, serve at room temperature.

What are the little mozzarella balls called?

Small mozzarella balls (like the ones in this recipe) are called Ciliegine. Additionally, the slightly larger mozzarella balls are called bocconcini. Either one can be used in this recipe.

Is Caprese salad healthy?

In short, yes! To clarify, Caprese salad is low in carbs and sugars and high in protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium. Tomatoes are high in lycopene and very healthy for you. If you want to make this dish even healthier, drain most of the oil from the mozzarella balls before tossing it with the tomatoes.

Where can you find marinated mozzarella balls?

You can find marinated mozzarella balls at most grocery stores. We found a LARGE tub of them at Costco for a great price. I usually also see them at Trader Joe’s. Typically, you can find them near the FRESH mozzarella near the deli in most stores.

What tomatoes are best for caprese?

Roma tomatoes are a popular choice. For this Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, we cut smaller tomatoes in half. A traditional Caprese salad has heirloom tomatoes that have tomato slices in between the mozzarella cheese slices.

A side-view of a large bowl of caprese salad made with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.

Storing Leftover Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

When making caprese salad with cherry tomatoes it is best to make it the day of. It is not a salad recipe that can be stored or made ahead to save. Luckily this is a simple recipe that takes minutes to make and can be made hours before serving your friends and family!

  • Storing – If you have leftovers and absolutely MUST store them, you can store them in the refrigerator. It won’t be the same, but it’s better than letting them go to waste.
  • Serving – When ready to serve, take the salad out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

More Caprese-Inspired Recipes

You can’t go wrong with this Caprese-inspired recipes that are fun twists on our favorite salad! This dish can be served with sliced baguette bread, pasta, grilled chicken, or any number of dishes like these fun recipes.

How to Make Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

A top-view of a bowl of caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and seasonings.

Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

5 from 7 votes
This easy Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes has only 3 easy ingredients and can be made in 5 minutes. A bright and fresh side dish that is perfect for summer!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 12 to 16 ounces marinated mozzarella balls (aka bocconcini or ciliegine)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (or to taste)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
  • balsamic glaze or reduction (optional, to taste)

Instructions

  • Rinse tomatoes and basil. Cut about half of the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a serving bowl.
    A carton of cherry tomatoes, a container of mozzarella balls, and a basil plant.
  • Cut about half of the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a serving bowl. Add mozzarella balls (marinade and all, drain lightly if desired) and stir gently until well combined.
    A mixing bowl with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
  • Tear basil leaves and place them over the top. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze (optional). Serve at room temperature.
    A side-view of a large bowl of caprese salad made with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 668IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 144mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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