This super easy Calabrian Caprese salad recipe is the perfect easy to make, spicy summer side dish for any day! Whether you're having just a small family dinner, a big barbecue or even a holiday get together, if its summer time and you're trying to find the perfect side dish, this is it!!
What's in this calabrian caprese salad?
- tomatoes - I like cherry or grape tomatoes for a sweeter flavor and less prep work!
- fresh mozzerella - I like the fresh mozzerella Ciliegine or fresh mozzerella pearls for the bite sized portions and again no prep required for it
- fresh basil
- balsamic vinegar
- calabrian chilli paste - I like the Bomba sauce from Trader Joe's but there are also varieties in supermarkets or online
How can I elevate a simple salad?
For me, its all about how you dress a salad that makes all the difference! And a caprese salad is really no different! If you're looking for even more variations, try some of these other suggestions as well.
Here are my favorite ways to dress up a simple caprese salad
- Just a nice olive oil drizzle. Maybe even try a flavored olive oil. Rosemary or citrus flavored one would be amazing.
- balsamic vinaigrette
- a spicy garlic chili oil - like that one that's in this pasta recipe
- Add some fresh veggies like bell peppers, corn, green beans or minced onions
- Add fresh summer fruit. strawberries, apricots, peaches pair perfectly with this summer salad
- Add some pickled veggies like onions, peppers or artichokes
- But salt & pepper is a MUST for every variation.
How to serve a caprese salad?
I know caprese salads are typically plated on a large platter with slice of fresh mozzarella and summer ripe tomatoes. But I really like to serve a spoonable version for larger get togethers. Its so much easier to assemble and toss with the dressing. Plus I think its a little easier for guest to help themselves because they can use a large serving spoon.
I also like to have some crackers on the side for an additional crunch!
Calabrian Caprese Salad
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
- 1 cup grape tomatoes leave whole or slice in half depending on your preference
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons calabrian chili paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper
- In a mixing ball, add the calabrian chilli paste, balasamic vinegar, olive oil. Whisk together to make the spicy vinaigrette. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Stir to toss in the vinaigrette.
- Right before serving, top with chopped fresh basil leaves and a fresh sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Serve just as is or with sliced baguette or crackers!