Classic Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Candi Randolph

You’ve probably heard that what you eat can be your ticket to good health, and a classic Caprese salad checks all the right boxes. Imagine sinking your teeth into ripe, juicy tomatoes paired with soft, creamy mozzarella and finished with a burst of fresh basil—a delightful dance of colors and flavors not only pleasing to the palette but also kind to the waistline. 

classic caprese salad

This ensemble, drizzled with a smidgen of olive oil and a healthy dash of balsamic vinegar, represents a powerhouse of nutrients, delivering a healthy dose of antioxidants, calcium, and heart-friendly unsaturated fats. No wonder Caprese salad holds its place among the healthiest of salads; after all, it brings together ingredients that speak the language of health like few others do. 

Simple yet sophisticated, it captures the essence of eating well without complicating your shopping list or cooking process. So, if you’re after a dish that’s as beneficial as it is straightforward to whip up, Caprese is your go-to salad superhero.

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simple healthy caprese salad recipe

Caprese 101: A Slice of History

You stroll into the sun-drenched landscape of Capri and there it is, the dish that carries the island’s name with pride: Caprese salad. Legend whispers that it was crafted to resemble the Italian flag with its lively red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil leaves. It’s a vibrant tribute to the patria.

Caprese salad found its fame as a humble yet flavorful terranean appetizer, a poster child for the ‘less is more’ philosophy in the culinary world. It’s the simplicity and the freshness of the ingredients that make this dish stand out. It’s said that the salad skyrocketed to popularity post-World War I, charming visitors from around the globe who brought tales and tastes of this Italian emblem back home.

Suddenly, Caprese salad was not just an Italian staple but a global sensation. Its name, ‘Insalata Caprese’ literally ‘Salad of Capri’, became synonymous with effortless elegance. So, you see, it owes its name to its birthplace, much like it owes its international acclaim to the tastebuds it has delighted. Tuck this savory slice of history into your apron pocket – it’s a conversational tidbit as delicious as the salad itself.

Salad in Seconds: The Quick and Easy Caprese

classic caprese salad ingredients

You glance at the clock and your stomach grumbles. Company’s coming over, and you need something impressive yet effortless to whip up. Fear not! Caprese salad has got your back—or should we say, your plate? Let’s dive into how you can orchestrate this symphony of flavors in no time.

First things first, nab yourself some ripe tomatoes—the juicier, the better. Give them a wash and slice them thick enough to hold their own against a hearty chunk of mozzarella. Speaking of which, it’s time to talk cheese. Pick up fresh mozzarella. Yes, you could use the pre-sliced stuff, but where’s the fun in that?

Now, basil. You want leaves that look like they’ve just taken a spa day—vibrant and fresh. A tip: Keep a little plant on your windowsill, and you’ll always be ready for Caprese o’clock. Grab the balsamic vinegar from the pantry. And last but not least, a quality olive oil and some good ol’ sea salt are your finishing touches.

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classic caprese salad

Classic Caprese Salad

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It’s hard to beat the classic flavor combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. However, this version adds another dimension by adding a rich and syrupy balsamic glaze instead of straight vinegar to top it off. This, combined with a really 

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4


4 large ripe tomatoes

12 oz. fresh mozzarella, large ball

1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried

3 T. really good extra virgin olive oil.

1 cup of balsamic vinegar

sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste


Thoroughly wash and pat tomatoes and fresh basil dry. Slice tomatoes, working from top to bottom, into evenly sized slices approximately ¼” thick, and set aside. Discard the bottom and top slices. Cut fresh mozzarella into ¼” thick slices, as well.

On each plate, start with a tomato slice, followed by mozzarella and a large, fresh basil leaf. Repeat this pattern until you’ve added 1 tomato and approximately 3 oz. of mozzarella to each plate, finishing each arrangement with a tomato slice. Drizzle with high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

To make the balsamic glaze, heat 1 cup of good balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume, stirring continually. When the liquid becomes thick and syrupy, it is ready to use.

Let glaze cool slightly before drizzling over the fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with additional sprigs of fresh basil, if desired.

  • Author: Candi Randolph
  • Prep Time: 10 min.
  • Cook Time: 10 min.
  • Category: lunch, dinner
  • Cuisine: salad


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 212
  • Sugar: 11.5 g
  • Sodium: 648 mg
  • Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.3 g
  • Protein: 27.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.3 mg

Conclusion: Classic Caprese Salad Recipe

tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic dressing in a caprese salad

Creating the perfect Caprese salad doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right ingredients and a dash of love, you can create a masterpiece that would be the pride of any Italian kitchen.

From selecting the ripest tomatoes to layering them with fresh mozzarella and basil, each step is an opportunity to infuse your dish with personality. Remember, it’s more than just a salad—it’s a culinary journey that transports you straight to the heart of Italy. Bon appetit!

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2 thoughts on “Classic Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze”

  1. Hi Candi. I love salads and eat them all the time. I prefer the balsamic glaze and didn’t know that it was so easy to make. We have always but the bottle kind. I used it sparingly because I always thought that it had too much sugar. This sounds like a much healthier version. Thank you for sharing. xx sharing to FB

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