Summer Caprese Salad

The flavors of summer are all on one plate in this favorite! Impressive, stunning, and easy to make, a caprese salad is perfect for summer cookouts, dinner parties, or for a light lunch.

On a blue plate, a closeup of thick slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato are separated by thin leaves of basil. End photo ID.

For this recipe, you'll need two or three round red tomatoes, half a package of sliced fresh mozzarella, about three sprigs of fresh basil, and the sharpest knife in your drawer.

First, cut your tomato into slices, working from the blossom end up to the stem end. Each slice of tomato should be about 1/4 inch each. Set aside the blossom end pieces, because they're perfect for holding up your caprese salad at the perfect angle.

Next, trim off the largest leaves of your basil and set them aside. You'll sandwich them between your tomato and mozzarella slices in the next step. Keep the basil tops, though, because they make a wonderful garnish.

A pale blue platter of caprese salad sits on a wooden countertop. It's garnished with basil sprigs. End photo ID.

At the far end of your platter, place your two rounded blossom ends of the tomato. This is the base for your caprese salad. Place one slice of fresh mozzarella on each one, and then place your basil on top of that. One large leaf should cover the majority of your slice of mozzarella, but you can use two smaller ones instead if that works for you. (You can see in the photo that we used two smaller leaves.) Next, add on a slice of tomato.

Repeat this process until you reach the end of the platter, or until you run out of ingredients. Garnish with the tops of the basil sprigs and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and Italian seasoning.

Just before serving, dress with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (You can omit the balsamic vinegar if you don't have it, and just dress with oil instead.)

There it is! You've made an impressive caprese salad, and it took less than a half hour!

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