Light, Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Salad
If you love the Italian classic caprese salad, you simply must try our Tomato Mozzarella Salad! It’s got all the same flavors, but we’re kicking things up a notch with our homemade Lemon Basil Vinaigrette. Essentially, it’s a fancier basil olive oil that has a bright citrus flavor with a slight kick from red pepper flakes and garlic. It’s so delicious, you’ll want to serve the basil vinaigrette on everything!
But back to the tomato mozzarella salad — it’s a beautiful way to celebrate the freshness of summer tomatoes! Make sure to use fresh mozzarella cheese instead of pre shredded or packaged, it will make all the difference in the world!
Clean, Simple Ingredients
This tomato mozzarella salad has 4 components: fresh summer tomatoes (though you can have fun with it and used a variety of shapes and sizes for improved texture, flavor, and appearance!, fresh mozzarella, flaky sea salt, and our lemon basil vinaigrette! Feel free to use bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) or fresh burrata in place of traditional mozzarella!
In a twist on a traditional caprese salad, instead of simply using fresh basil leaves as an ingredient, we’re puréeing them with extra virgin olive oil, chopped shallot, a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and Kosher salt. If you could bottle the flavor of summer up and sell it, it would taste like this basil vinaigrette, hands down!
How To Make Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
If you have a personal size or mini blender, those are great for making salad dressings or small batch sauces. We recommend the Zwilling Enfinigy Personal Blender.
Place fresh basil leaves in the blender cup, then add one chopped shallot, a clove of sliced garlic, fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar), Kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and an extra virgin olive oil that you love. Purée until smooth, then pour into a small bowl for serving and taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Basil vinaigrette will keep for up to 2 weeks in a fridge.
Uses For Leftover Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Serve over any and all salads, grilled vegetables or proteins, such as chicken, salmon, shrimp, steak, or pork chops. This dressing is especially delicious served over grilled bread slices with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar — speaking from personal experience here!!
How To Make Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Rinse and dry tomatoes, then slice, place on a plate or platter, then season with flaky sea salt. Let the seasoned tomatoes sit for at least 10 minutes. The salt will bring out their natural flavor.
Next, rip or tear the fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. Alternatively, you could use bocconcini (those little mozzarella balls) either whole or halved. Scatter around and on top of the tomatoes, then drizzle the whole plate with lots of basil vinaigrette. We add a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper. Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves, then serve immediately!
If you want, you can do a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or reduced balsamic glaze on top, but we find that flavor competes with the basil vinaigrette, which honestly is the star of the show.
What’s The Best Type Of Tomato To Use?
We tend to stick to heirloom tomatoes for their enhanced tomato flavor, but certainly use whatever is fresh, ripe, and looks best. We recommend using a variety of tomatoes, with the larger ones lending better to slices or wedges, while grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes are best sliced in half. You end up with a beautiful presentation and a variety of textures that is seriously pleasing.
Make It A Complete Meal!
While this is our idea of a perfect summer side dish, you can add roast chicken, grilled sausages, or any protein you love to make this more of a complete meal. Steak, seafood, pork, burgers — you name it, it will probably work well here.
This is one of those easy salad recipes you’ll make again and again! From the inexpensive ingredients to the quick prep time and big flavor the vinaigrette delivers, it’s a total crowd pleaser!
If you make this Tomato Mozzarella Salad recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More summer recipes to try!
- Peach Burrata Salad
- Grilled Swordfish Skewers with Italian Salsa Verde
- Smoked Salmon Salad
- Pappardelle With Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil Cream Sauce
- Grilled Lobster Tails and Clams
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Personal-size or standard blender
Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ cups packed basil leaves
- 1 medium shallot peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes cut into slices of wedges
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes any color, cut in half
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella hand ripped or torn
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Basil leaves for garnish
- Make the lemon basil vinaigrette. Place all dressing ingredients — 1 ½ cups basil, 1 chopped shallot, 1 clove chopped garlic, ½ cup EVOO, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes — in a blender (personal blenders are the perfect size for sauces and dressings!), then purée until very smooth. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad. Place sliced tomatoes or wedges on a large platter or serving plate. Add halved cherry or grape tomatoes, then season the tomatoes with a few generous pinches of flaky sea salt. Let the tomatoes sit for 10 minutes. Scatter the mozzarella pieces on top.
- Dress the salad. Drizzle as much of the lemon basil vinaigrette on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella. Season with freshly ground black pepper, if using, then garnish with a few small basil leaves. Serve immediately or within 1-2 hours.