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Many salad lovers out there will always favor the vibrant yet contrasting textures of Caprese salad. A tribute to the Italian flag, with red, white, and green in the form of juicy tomatoes, thick balls of mozzarella, and freshly plucked basil. These impeccable flavors, which are undoubtedly enjoyed alone, become incredibly enhanced when coupled with any main dish. So if you’re looking to serve something with your Caprese salad, but cannot figure out what will pair perfectly with this salad, then I’ve got you!
Table of Contents
What is Caprese Salad?
If you’re new here, then Caprese salad is essentially a cold salad made of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Originating from Italy, it was initially created by tossing the freshly plucked ingredients from their back garden. This salad is also great for parties and picnics, simply create a Caprese salad platter and enjoy! Caprese salad is especially great to have during the hot summer months when the rich and heavier meals aren’t so appealing anymore, and you’re craving something cool, light, and delicious. If you can get your hands on some fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella balls, then you’ll end up with the tastiest treat on your plate!
How to Make Caprese Salad?
Making Caprese salad is fairly simple; as long as you’re dealing with the freshest, juiciest ingredients, you’re good to go! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ripe tomatoes: Tomatoes are the key element in Caprese salad, so make sure they’re perfectly ripe and oozing with delicious juices.
- Fresh basil Leaves: A key ingredient in Caprese salad
- Fresh mozzarella: Fresh balls of mozzarella cheese are great for Caprese salad.
- Olive oil: Drizzle your favorite olive oil over your salad, and you’ll really be able to taste the flavors that are normally lost in cooking
- Balsamic vinegar: Always opt for the best balsamic vinegar, as this will bring forth more flavor to your salad dish. You can also make your own balsamic reduction if you’d prefer to lighten the intense flavors
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper: Try to use salt and freshly ground pepper from a grinder for a gorgeous flavor.
Combine all these ingredients in your favorite bowl, and enjoy!
How to Make a Simple Balsamic Reduction?
This balsamic reduction or balsamic glaze is great for drizzling over your Caprese salad. The reduction is thicker, with a sweeter tone, and tends to stick to the contents of your salad better. Making a balsamic reduction is fairly simple, and here’s how:
- Add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil
- Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat allowing the vinegar to simmer for about 15 minutes
- Once it’s reduced by 1/2, remove it from the heat and let it cool down
What to Serve with Caprese Salad?
Salads like Caprese salad are the perfect summertime food. While undoubtedly tasty on its own, they can sometimes do with a delicious side dish to accompany this light lunch, providing more contrast and flavor. Choose your favorites from the simple recipe ideas listed below:
- Avocado Toast
- Fried Zucchini
- Mashed Potatoes
- Fried Rice
- Roasted Potatoes
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Chips and Salsa
Avocado toast happens to be a very popular side dish for Caprese salad, and since it’s such a delicious addition, it would be a crime to have missed it from the list! Avocado toast adds an additional creaminess to the overall dish, offering something tasty to your palate while remaining in the realms of light and fresh.
Simply cut your avocado in half, removing the pit from the center. Remove the skin, slice and layer it on your toast, sprinkling some salt and pepper, some red pepper flakes if you’re feeling adventurous, and with a drizzle of lime juice (if you wish), serve alongside your Caprese salad.
Another popular accompaniment that has made it to the list of side dishes is fried zucchini. You can fry these crispy veggies with whatever batter you prefer and serve it alongside your Caprese salad.
Cut your zucchini into thick slices, and drop them into a batter, coating them generously before pan frying and serving as one of your main dishes.
A common favorite amongst many potato lovers, this creamy, fluffy, light mush will pair wonderfully when served along with your bowl of Caprese salad. Mashed potatoes are simple to prepare and can be flavored with anything you wish. You can add more flavor by adding garlic or cheese when preparing the potatoes for mashing. Simply sprinkle some garlic powder, and add a dash of mozzarella cheese, then get smashing!
Another popular option to serve with your tomato mixture is fried rice. You can make it as simple as white rice fried in some olive oil or as complex as adding some of your favorite vegetables and spices for extra flavor. As long as you’re aware of the cooking time, then whatever you’re particularly craving will do. Serve immediately, with your salad being the appetizer.
Roast potatoes are my favorite side dish, especially when served alongside a bowl of salad brimming with fresh ingredients. You can roast your potatoes in a variety of ways, but the simpler method is to cut your potatoes into cubes, drizzle them with some olive oil, and pop them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
Once your potatoes are tender and thoroughly cooked, transfer them to a serving bowl, seasoning them with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning your desire.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Another great side dish to have with your Caprese salad are these grilled cheese sandwiches. A gooey center with a crunchy texture that pairs beautifully with tomato slices and fresh herbs found in Caprese salad, this grilled cheese sandwich will not disappoint.
Try a bite of this sandwich with a spoonful of fresh mozzarella cheese from your classic Caprese salad, making it the perfect accompaniment altogether.
Chips and Salsa
Chips and salsa are a great combination to have, especially when Caprese salad is involved. You can choose from canned or jarred salsa, ensuring that the ingredients used are fresh before digging in.
Bonus Recipe: Caprese Chicken Topped With Caprese Salad
Caprese salad certainly is certainly the perfect summertime dish, but with an addition of grilled chicken, this perfect dish transitions to Caprese chicken salad and increasingly delicious.
- Start by marinating your chicken overnight; this helps infuse your raw chicken meat with flavors that’ll tickle your tongue once grilled. It’s important to keep an eye on the heat when grilling marinated chicken because you may end up burning the chicken.
- Make your Caprese salad 15 minutes prior to serving your main meal, essentially allowing the contents to marinate before digging in. Once you’ve allowed the olive oil to seep into the tomatoes, cheese, and basil, the results are heavenly.
- Once you’ve made your Caprese salad, set it aside, and preheat the grill, it’s time for your Caprese chicken. This recipe is also great with zucchini slices, so slice some of those as well.
- Grill your marinated chicken and zucchini over medium to medium-high heat, then flip your chicken, allowing it to cook on either side for 8 to 12 minutes.
- Grill the Caprese chicken and zucchini until their tender and done
- Slice the grilled chicken and pop it with your Caprese salad, finally drizzling your fantastic creation with a little balsamic glaze and a fresh sprinkle of sea salt, and there you have it, your Caprese chicken is ready to devour!
Finally, Caprese salad is a wonderful dish, and you can add anything you like to your bowl of salad to enhance the flavors creating a gorgeous yet delicious art piece!
How Do You Eat Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad can be served as an appetizer, light lunch, or as a side with your main meal. It pairs well with crusty bread and any grilled protein.
Is Eating Caprese Salad Healthy?
Caprese salad is initially created with healthy ingredients, such as basil and tomatoes, both of which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.