Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction is a classic Italian dish with mozzarella, tomato, and basil all topped in a homemade sweet and tangy dressing.
This easy and light Side Dish is perfect to pair with heavier Italian dishes like Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs, Meat Lasagna, or Easy Alfredo. It’s bursting with flavor and makes a nice change in pace to the pasta dishes.
Caprese Salad is a simple and classic Italian dish. It’s traditionally made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and all topped in some olive oil, just like in our Tomato Mozzarella Salad. This salad recipe has those same traditional components but with a sweet balsamic reduction topping it off.
The dressing is made with just two ingredients, balsamic vinegar, and honey. The two combined make a tangy and sweet blend that’s then cooked down to a thicker, richer dressing. The slight sweetness from the honey brings out the sweet and tart taste of the vine tomatoes.
This dish is all about contrast. The tart, tangy, and juicy dressings and tomatoes have a completely different taste and texture from the creamy mozzarella. Bringing all the ingredients together makes each one of them shine. It’s one of the simplest recipes, but it’s packed with unbelievable flavor.
You can serve Caprese Salad as an easy side dish to go with Chicken Parmesan and other favorite Italian dishes. It only takes a few minutes to make and it’s a beautiful, colorful addition to any table. You could also serve it as a light lunch on its own. To make it more filling serve it up with some leftover Chicken Breast or cooked pasta, and it will keep you full until dinner.
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TIPS FOR MAKING CAPRESE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION
- Balsamic Reduction: Put a saucepan over high heat and add balsamic vinegar and honey. Mix the two ingredients together, and bring them to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook for exactly 10 minutes to reduce the dressing. Turn off the stove and let the Balsamic Reduction cool.
- Salad: Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into thin circles. To julienne the basil, stack the leaves on top of each other and thinly slice them. Once the ingredients are ready, place the mozzarella and tomatoes on a plate or serving bowl in alternating order. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine: Drizzle olive oil over the salad then pour the cooled balsamic reduction over the top. Sprinkle the basil on top right before serving and enjoy.
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VARIATIONS ON CAPRESE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION
- Cheese: If you don’t have mozzarella or just want to try a different kind of cheese goat cheese, provolone cheese, caciocavallo, Queso Oaxaca, or Bel Paese would make great replacements.
- Tomatoes: You can also use different kinds of tomatoes like cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes.
- Pasta: To make the recipe more filling try adding in some cooked pasta. Rotini, orzo, macaroni, or shell pasta could make great additions.
- Seasoning: To experiment with some different flavorings try sprinkling on some seasoning along with the basil like thyme, rosemary, or oregano. You could also add some heat with hot chili flakes.
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HOW TO STORE CAPRESE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION
- Serve: Don’t leave Caprese Salad at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Though Caprese Salad is best served fresh, you can keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Keep the dressing and the salad separate if you’re planning on storing some so that the salad remains as fresh as possible. Cover it tightly in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container to store in the fridge.
- Freeze: Without the Balsamic Reduction added on you can freeze Caprese Salad for up to 3 months. Just make sure to seal it in an airtight container first. Let the salad thaw, then you can add a fresh dressing over the top.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 vine tomatoes , sliced
- 2 balls fresh mozzarella cheese , sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil , julienned
- Add balsamic vinegar and honey to a saucepan and bring to a simmer on high heat.
- Lower the heat to low and cook for exactly 10 minutes.
- Let the vinegar cool.
- Add tomato slices and mozzarella slices in alternating order and season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle olive oil over the tomato and mozzarella then gently pour over the cooled balsamic reduction.
- Sprinkle the basil over the top and serve.