Make Ahead Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes – bright cherry tomatoes paired with creamy, bite-sized fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.
Make Ahead Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
This make ahead version of the classic Caprese Salad is the perfect summer salad. Instead of using whole sliced tomatoes, I used always in season, bite-sized cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes don’t need to be chopped or sliced.
Traditionally, Caprese salad is prepared just before serving so you can enjoy the ripe tomatoes paired with fresh mozzarella without the juices from the tomatoes watering down the salad. This make ahead alternative is perfect for taking to a party or snacking on throughout the weekend.
Make Ahead Caprese Salad Ingredients
- Cherry Tomatoes – look for cherry tomatoes that are dark red and about the same size at the mozzarella.
- Fresh Mozzarella – look for Ciliegine (cherry size) Mozzarella packed in water.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – olive oil should smell fresh and not waxy. If your olive oil smells like crayons, it is old and should be replaced.
- Kosher Salt – can also substitute sea salt.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper – a coarse grind works well for this recipe.
- Fresh Basil – look for fresh green basil leaves with no spots.
- Balsamic Vinegar – splash this on just before serving to avoid discoloring the fresh mozzarella.
- Avocado – adding diced avocado to this recipe is absolutely delicious. If making ahead, only add avocado before serving.
- Garlic – add a clove of finely minced garlic.
- Lemon – substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for balsamic vinegar.
- Chicken or shrimp – add diced grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a complete meal.
- Red, yellow, and orange cherry tomatoes – this salad would be beautiful with colorful cherry tomatoes or heirloom cherry tomatoes.
- Look for dark red cherry tomatoes that are about the same size as the fresh mozzarella.
- Look for fresh mozzarella packed in water for perfectly round mozzarella balls. They are also available vacuum packed but will be slightly misshapen.
- Pat tomatoes and mozzarella dry before combining to avoid extra liquid in the salad.
- Olive oil can become slightly cloudy when refrigerated. Let salad sit at room temperature before serving to avoid the cloudiness.
Bright cherry tomatoes and creamy bite-sized fresh mozzarella make the perfect summer salad.
- 2 pints Cherry Tomatoes (about 18 oz) washed and patted dry
- 16 oz Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine (Cherry Size) drained and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- balsamic vinegar splash
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper Freshly Ground
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves finely cut
In a medium sized bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.
Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Add a splash of balasmic vinegar before serving.
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Caprese is one of my very favorite summer flavors! I love that this can be made ahead and it keeps wonderfully!
We loved this Caprese salad, I love the use of cherry tomatoes and circle mozzarella balls, this was so delicious, a staple for the summer!!
Loved the salad and that I could make it ahead. Your tips about the ingredients were helpful. I totally needed to toss my olive oil!