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Caprese Salad

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 6 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Also known as tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, this is a dead-simple late-summer classic. It is served traditionally as lunch or an appetizer, but on especially hot days we eat it for dinner, which might sound like not enough food, but we eat kind of a lot of it. Especially my 15-year-old daughter Birdy, who identifies this as her “actual favorite meal.” If you don’t have great tomatoes and good mozzarella, then it might not really be worth making, although in a pinch, Polly-O whole-milk mozzarella, which is not fresh, works, but it has to be that exact kind of that exact brand, and anyway my husband disagrees with me about it so it's probably best to go with fresh if at all possible Also, if you don’t have fresh basil, you can swap a blob of prepared pesto for both the olive and oil and basil, but this is not ideal. (It turns out I am very bossy about a very basic dish!)

Ingredients

2-3 large tomatoes

Kosher salt

12 ounces fresh mozzarella (Trader Joe’s is my favorite, and it is the least expensive one I’ve found)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 dozen (or so) fresh basil leaves

Instructions

Slice the tomatoes and lay them out on a platter. Salt them generously. Slice the mozzarella similarly, and lay the slices on the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil, then top each piece with a large, fresh leaf of basil and serve.

Or: I love the gorgeousness and spectacle of serving the salad on a platter, but you can do it more humbly too: Just dice the tomatoes and cheese, sliver the basil, and toss everything in a bowl with the olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Why do I use balsamic vinegar here, but not in the above version? I don’t know. But that’s what I do.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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