Are you looking for a light dish for those hot summer nights? When the weather warms, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or prepare a hot, heavy meal. This fancy caprese salad has the perfect balance of refreshing cherry tomatoes, delicious cheese, caramelized onions and zesty balsamic vinegar. What a great recipe for a vegetarian, summer appetizer or side salad out on the back patio!
What is a Caprese Salad?
Caprese salad is an Italian starter salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt. It is named after the island of Capri (Campania region of Italy). As for the origin, it is believed to have been a patriotic tribute to Italy by a mason in the early 1920's that included the colors of the flag. In terms of print, it first appears on the Hotel Quisisana menu, which is in Capri.
Caprese salad is traditionally made without onions, but the addition of these caramelized onions gives this recipe a step-up in sweetness and will help bring out the flavors of the other ingredients. The caramelization will also add a tinge of nuttiness to the dish, as well as adding extra color variation.
It is fairly low carb and high fat and protein, making it a good keto salad option.
- red onions - These will be caramelized and added as a topping, adding an extra depth of flavor and texture.
- cherry tomatoes - I find that cherry tomatoes are the best tomatoes for caprese salad because they are small (about the same size as the bocconcini balls), juicy and sweet. Simply cut them in half for this recipe.
- olive oil - Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent choice for this salad.
- fresh bocconcini cheese - Bocconcini is merely a fancy term for small mozzarella balls. These cheese balls can be the perfect compliment to nearly any Italian appetizer or zesty dish, as they provide just the right amount of cheese without overpowering the other flavors.
- fresh basil leaves
- balsamic vinegar - Choose a high quality balsamic vinegar from Italy for a more traditional, authentic experience. Or, you could make this dish even more unique by choosing a non-traditional flavored balsamic vinegar, such as an oregano balsamic or even a fruit-flavored vinegar for an extra dash of sweetness.
- freshly ground sea salt
How to Make Caprese Salad
For these mini caprese salads, you’ll simply be tossing together juicy diced tomatoes with olive oil and salt while the onions are caramelizing in your skillet. At that point, your meal preparation is as easy as layering the tomatoes, bocconcini, basil leaves, and onions in your serving dish and then drizzling balsamic vinegar over the top.
- Melt the butter. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions. Toss with a spatula until the onions are fully coated in the butter.
- Caramelize onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until soft and golden.
- Prep the tomatoes. In a medium bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, olive oil and salt and mix well.
- Assemble and serve. In each serving dish, stack the tomatoes, bocconcini balls, basil leaves and caramelized onions. Top with the balsamic vinegar and serve.
What to Serve With it
Here is some of the best food and drink that goes with caprese salad.
- Mains: Grilled chicken is a very popular choice to accompany this salad. You can also serve it with Italian sausage sandwiches, stuffed pasta or this easy lemon basil pasta.
- Side Dishes: Garlic bread, grilled vegetables, focaccia, risotto, arancini and polenta.
- Drinks: Wines such as Pinot Grigio, dry Rosé, Prosecco and Chianti. For something sweeter, you could try a Bellini.
Each serving of this salad contains approximately 208 calories.
I hope you enjoyed this healthy caprese recipe! What do you think of the addition of caramelized onions? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments. Please share this recipe if you liked it!
Caprese Salad Recipe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large red onions - thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes - cut in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup fresh bocconcini cheese - cut in half
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar - one for each salad
- freshly ground sea salt - to taste
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions. Toss with a spatula until the onions are fully coated in the butter.2 tablespoons butter, 2 large red onions
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until soft and golden.
- In a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, olive oil and salt and mix well.1 cup cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In each serving dish, stack the tomatoes, bocconcini, basil leaves and caramelized onions. Top with balsamic vinegar and serve.1 cup fresh bocconcini cheese, ½ cup fresh basil leaves, 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.
You might also enjoy this tasty starter...Melon & Prosciutto Skewers over Greens Mix