Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

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 Salad Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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18 Comments

  1. Sheeijan

    I tried this recipe out months ago, but I forgot to write a comment until now. Before this recipe, I have never eaten a raw tomato (not even in hamburgers). Now, I eat this dish at least once a week. This has become my absolute favorite dish. Over the summer, I hardly ate anything else. Once fresh tomatoes could no longer be found at the farmer’s markets, I had to turn to the grocery stores in desperation. They don’t taste nearly as good, but I think I can get by until next summer on them!

    Thanks so much for introducing me to such a lovely, healthy food.

    Note from Elise: I love hearing stories like this. Thank you for stepping out and trying something new!

  2. Teresa

    I love the tomato, mozzarella & basil salad also. We sometimes add slices of avacodo and a sprinkling of pignolli nuts. – it’s delicious. Try some different flavored oils too. I brought home a lemon flavored olive oil from a recent trip to Italy and I could have cried when the bottle was finally empty. It was wonderful on this salad.

  3. CJ McDonald

    A light sprinkle of chopped chives or sweet onions on top of tomatoes is also wonderful.

    Don’t forget— there’s only two things money can’t buy. True love……and home grown tomatoes! ;)

  4. Meena

    Ohh Elise!! I love this recipe! Gonna run out and get the ingredients for tonite’s dinner. :o)

  5. Tracy

    My Caspian Pink heirlooms are just ripening (SO yummy) and my basil is threatening to go to seed entirely if I don’t start using it up… So thanks for the reminder that I need to go buy some good mozzarella and make this salad tonight!

  6. Julie

    I love summer tomatoes. Any tips from you gardeners on which varieties are easiest to grow in a small space?
    Thanks!

  7. Elise

    Hi Julie – these heirlooms shown come from the farmer’s market. It’s a little early in the season here for tomatoes, mine are still quite green. I find the tomatoes that are easiest to grow, and mind you I’ve grown tomatoes in foggy and cold San Francisco of all places, are the cherry or grape tomatoes. They just don’t seem to need as much care as the large tomato plants and they are wonderfully prolific.

    • Cindy

      We live in San Francisco’s Richmond district, zip code 94121, near 48th Ave by the ocean, with lots of fog. It’s too late for this year, but do you think cherry/pear/grape tomatoes would do well in our climate next year.

      • Elise

        Hi Cindy, on 48th by the ocean? I used to live on 14th Ave and Fulton for a while, and even that place was too foggy to grow tomatoes. When I lived in Bernal Heights, with a sunny, protected, south facing patio, we could easily grown cherry tomatoes that still produced in November. But where you are in the fog belt, I think you would be disappointed trying to grow any type of tomato. What does grow well where you are, are artichokes. They love the fog.

  8. Oceanguy

    For summer, I prefer skipping the balsamic vinegar altogether. And of course, the best fresh mozzarella is mozzarella di bufala from Central and Southern Italy. Caprese… a big ball of cheese surrounded by sliced tomatoes with a bit of fresh basil and salt liberally drizzled with Olive Oil… maybe even add a couple of olives for garnish… For some reason I associate the salad with balsamic added with cooler months and heartier meals.

  9. Mel

    This is the first recipe that popped up on my search for a sald that included, Heirloom Toamatoes Mozzarella,and Basil. I’m so very delighted that all of these people had many wonderful things to say regarding this salad. I just returned from the farmers market and will prepare this salad tonight. I even picked up some local olive oil, Barianni that I’m certain will work absolutely superb with the tomatoes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Denise

    Whenever I make this, everyone goes nuts over it! You’d think I was Julia Child or something – lol! Thanks Elise! :)

  11. Julane

    I live in northern California & while it’s hard to grow heirlooms here our great farmer’s markets and Whole Foods keep me in supply.
    I have made this salad for years. If you have a really good olive oil this is the time to use it as all the flavors will be enhanced. I sometimes use fresh lemon juice instead of balsamic for a change, which gives a nice fresh flavor. Of course, the other great way to use the three primo ingredients is to cut up the tomatoes, lots of basil, garlic, mozzerella, olive oil, basalmic vinegar and mix it up with hot pasta. The best summer dish hands down!

  12. signaturetaste56

    There’s a variation on this classic Caprese salad that can be used as an appetizer. Instead of slices of a whole tomato, you use cherry tomatoes, bite-size blocks of cheese, and basil leaves doubled over, all served on a skewer similar to a kabob skewer. It’s great for parties, etc.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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