Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Caprese Salad

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Heirloom tomato, basil, Mozzarella caprese salad made with beautiful, ripe heirloom tomatoes. Classic Italian Caprese salad recipe.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Summer is tomato and basil season, and there is nothing better than heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil from the garden and fresh mozzarella cheese.

What are “heirloom tomatoes”?

Heirloom tomatoes are what tomatoes used to be before all of the variety and flavor were bred out of them so they could be more easily transported in trucks to supermarkets.

You can find them at farmers’ markets and at Whole Foods, or you can grow your own. They come in many shades of red, yellow, orange, and green, and are somewhat oddly shaped compared to everyday beefsteak tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomatoes on Simply Recipes

Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Caprese Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tomato serves 1 to 2 people


  • Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • Fresh basil, leaves carefully chopped as not to bruise
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


Assemble the salad with slices of tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices.

Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over the salad.

Add a dash of vinegar and a very light sprinkling of salt and pepper.

For a completely different flavor, you can substitute the mozzarella with thin slices of Parmesan.

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Heirloom tomato seeds

Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Showing 4 of 16 Comments / Reviews

  • Niketa

    I tried this recipe with pan fried halloumi …..and some crumbled feta too….all soo soo good.

  • Lisa Morgan

    Elise, thanks for this recipe and for the directions on how to use del.icio.us. I signed up there. I’ve had exactly the problem of the best way to save individual recipes I run into on blogs; print them out? Save in Gmail archives? Bookmark entire site? This seems like a great alternative. I don’t know all about how to use del.icio.us yet, but I did add this recipe to my bookmarks there (this is my first one!). Cheers! LM

  • harmony

    What a coincidence! We are making this for dinner tomorrow night. I have gorgeous huge leaves of basil from my mom’s garden, and fresh farmer’s market tomatoes. Also, on a hint from her, I make this salad with white balsamic vinegar. It has the same wonderful flavor as regular balsamic, but it doesn’t stain your tomatoes and cheese dark, so you still get that beautiful contrast of red, green, and white.

  • JamiJo

    I’m not a fan of raw ‘maters (they don’t like me, either), but I do make this for my boyfriend fairly regularly. I use wedges of home-grown Roma tomatoes or whole or halved cherry tomatoes instead of beefsteaks. Our grocery store also carries these awesome mini-mozzerella balls – I don’t know the name of the manufacturer, but the packaging calls them Cielegini (which is Italian for cherries, i believe). We also add a healthy handful of crushed and chopped garlic to ours, and let everything marinade in the fridge for a few hours. Goes great with grilled chicken, or so he says!

  • Irene

    Ack! Pure tomato envy strikes! I LOVE heirloom tomatoes, and I love them even more with basil and fresh mozzarella. A couple thoughts:

    Heirloom tomatoes are in general better than other varieties, however, in a challenging climate like mine, they aren’t as easy to grow, at least from my past experience. Given a choice, I would indeed take an heirloom. Thankfully my CSA provides me with bags full of them each August!

    There is a wonderful restaurant in my town which I splurge on twice a year. It’s L’Etoile – centered completely around home grown, fresh produce, and I naturally time my twice a year visits to (you guessed it) tomato as well as asparagus seasons. It’s hard to justify spending $12 for the salad course alone… unless it’s L’Etoile’s Heirloom tomato salad.

    And last but not least, I truly believe that the world’s most perfect foods involve fresh, uncooked tomato, basil, mozzarella and garlic.

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