Introduction: Easy Caprese

About: Christian, small business owner, college student, & always catching up.

Make your own beautiful heirloom tomato caprese in just a few simple steps. This traditional Italian dish, arranged as a salad, is great served with pasta and / or pesto (or just about any other Italian food). The preparation is easy, requires minimal time, and, as long as the ingredients are fresh, is extremely delicious.

Step 1: Apparatus

Here is what you'll need to create a tomato caprese salad (try to find ingredients that are as fresh as possible):
  • Four or five tomatoes (yes, really), preferably of different colors. Using heirloom, garden-fresh tomatoes enhances the flavor considerably.
  • One log of fresh mozzarella cheese, as unprocessed as possible
  • Fresh basil (of different colors if possible)
  • A knife
  • A plate
  • Any other spices, oils, or vinegars you wish to add (be creative).
Whether you picked your produce from the garden or the grocery store, always wash it thoroughly before use.

Step 2: Slice the Cheese

Cut your log of cheese into roughly equal slices. Here I cut them about one centimeter thick.

Step 3: Slice Your Tomatoes

Go ahead and cut your tomatoes into equal slices (again, around a centimeter thick), being sure to cut off any brown spots or impurities. Here we used a simple red and yellow tomato combination, but you can also throw in purple, black, white, or green tomatoes depending on your taste preferences and how artistic you want your meal to look.

Step 4: Pick Out Your Basil Leaves

Now simply pick off a handful of basil leaves to add to your salad. A couple stems of basil should do the trick. This will add to both the flavor and looks of the salad.

Step 5: Arrange Your Ingredients

Once everything is sliced and picked, begin to arrange the ingredients in a way that is aesthetically appealing to you and your dinner guests. We generally alternate tomatoes and cheese in a wreath-like pattern or simply in parallel rows with basil leaves scattered on top, but these can be arranged into many creative shapes. Once arranged, you may wish to add dried culinary herbs such as oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Step 6: Devour

Now it is time to enjoy the caprese salad you so artfully arranged. One caprese salad such as this one (with four to five tomatoes and a log of cheese) should serve about three or four people, depending on what you are eating along with it. Feel free to make it ahead of time and refrigerate it, or serve it right away. Since there is no cooking time involved, the preparation time is as quick as you are. In general, it takes around ten to twenty minutes to prepare.