Use fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic if possible.
This heirloom tomato caprese salad is a great simple summer salad. Originally believed to be from the island of Capri, it is no coincidence the sliced tomato, mozzarella and basil look like the Italian flag when arranged on a platter. While it is quick and easy to assemble, use the highest quality ingredients to up the flavors.
Use fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic if possible. While classic caprese salads use beefsteak tomatoes, I like to step this summertime favorite up a notch and use juicy, heirloom tomatoes. Serve as an appetizer or a side salad.
Heirloom Tomato – With their superior flavor, heirloom tomatoes come from seeds passed down and are typically at least 50 years old. Look for a variety of colors. If you like heirloom tomatoes check out these other recipes here. I always recommend salting tomatoes or marinating them before adding them to sandwiches.
Mozzarella – Use fresh mozzarella cheese in this recipe. The fresher the better! Cut the mozzarella in to slices or tear into pieces for a more rustic look. For a creamier twist, swap burrata for the mozzarella.
Basil – Basil leaves stay freshest when they’re on the plant so I recommend growing your own or getting a potted basil plant from the grocery store. Simply pinch the leaves off at the stem.
Olive oil – While all olive oil comes from the fruit of olive trees, it’s not all created equal. Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and made from pure, cold-pressed olives, giving it more of a true olive taste. Regular olive oil is made from a blend of both cold-pressed and processed oils. I typically cook with extra-virgin olive oil when deciding between the two. This is a great way to use any fancy, high quality olive oil you’ve been saving. The simple flavors can shine in this salad.
Salt – I prefer to sprinkle a finishing salt with larger crystals like Maldon flaky sea salt over this caprese salad for more concentrated flavor.
How to Make This Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
Slice tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into ¼”-thick slices.
Plate the ingredients. Arrange the mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves on a large platter.
Finish and serve. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Season with salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Tips and Tricks for This Recipe
Use a serrated knife to easily cut your tomatoes!
Marinating your tomatoes in a bit of olive oil gives them the best flavor.
The fresh mozzarella can be swapped with mozzarella balls or even burrata cheese.
Try swapping the fresh basil leaves in this recipe for a few spoonfuls of pesto.
Another style of serving this salad is by alternating the tomato slices with the mozzarella slices and basil leaves.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this heirloom tomato caprese salad recipe, I recommend checking out some of these: