Pesto Caprese Salad

  • By KJ

Pesto Caprese Salad combines the best of two refreshing and vibrant dishes.

Creamy mozzarella balls and juicy tomatoes are tossed with smooth olive oil and nutty basil pesto — drizzled with a sweet, tangy balsamic glaze.

Pesto Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any summer gathering. But it also doubles as a refreshing appetizer or a topping on a main dish (grilled chicken, anyone?).

Without any distractions, this pesto caprese salad recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make.

But even with a playful pup or kiddo vying for your attention, you can whip this recipe up in no time!

Pesto caprese salad in a white serving bowl garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Pesto Caprese Salad combines the best of two refreshing and vibrant dishes. 

Creamy mozzarella balls and juicy tomatoes are tossed with smooth olive oil and nutty basil pesto — drizzled with a sweet, tangy balsamic glaze. 

Pesto Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any summer gathering. But it also doubles as a refreshing appetizer or a topping on a main dish (grilled chicken, anyone?). 

Without any distractions, this pesto caprese salad recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make.

But even with a playful pup or kiddo vying for your attention, you can whip this recipe up in no time!

Pesto caprese salad in a white serving bowl garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Why KJ Loves

Pesto Caprese Salad

Pesto Caprese Salad

All of the wonderful, bright flavors of a Caprese salad in one bite! I love how fun and easy this recipe is. It’s a spin off of a fresh caprese salad we would get from the local beach market on vacation in Florida and I couldn’t love it more!

What is pesto caprese made of?

Pesto Caprese Salad is a delightful fusion of two iconic Italian foods – Caprese salad and pesto sauce. 

The origins of Caprese salad can be traced back to the island of Capri in Southern Italy. It is believed to have been inspired by the colors of the Italian flag, with its red tomatoes, green basil leaves, and white mozzarella. 🇮🇹

Pesto, on the other hand, originated in northern Italy. The word “pesto” is derived from the Italian word “pestare,” which means to pound or crush, referring to the traditional method of making pesto using a mortar and pestle.

This vibrant and flavorful salad is made with ingredients from both dishes — a combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and pesto.

We added a drizzle of balsamic reduction to provide a little extra zing!

All of the ingredients needed for pesto caprese salad in bowls.

Pesto Caprese Salad Ingredients

Grape tomatoes (halved)

Grape or cherry tomatoes are the best for this recipe. You want a small, round, firm tomato to complement the other textures in this salad. 

Mozzarella pearls

Get the tiny, round balls of mozzarella to make things easy. You could also get a larger ball of mozzarella and cut it up yourself.  

Basil pesto

Use your favorite jarred pesto or homemade pesto. My favorite comes from Costco in the refrigerated section.

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper

Balsamic glaze

Pesto caprese salad ingredients being combined in a glass bowl.

How to Make Pesto Caprese Salad

1

Combine tomatoes and mozzarella pearls in a bowl.

2

Combine pesto and olive oil in a bowl. If your pesto is thicker, you may need to add an extra teaspoon of olive oil. 

3

Pour pesto and oil over the tomatoes and mozzarella, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

4

 Cover and put the Caprese salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or in an airtight container for up to two days.

5

Drizzle balsamic glaze over the top of the salad before serving.

6

Wash the dishes. How sad.

Pesto caprese salad combined in a glass bowl.

Serving Pesto Caprese Salad

This deliciously fresh dish is great by itself. Add some simple crostini or garlic bread for a super satisfying snack or vegetarian meal. 

Or, mix this salad into a fresh bowl of pasta. (Yum!)

Pesto Caprese salad is also delicious atop grilled chicken, pork, or steak.

A close-up photo of pesto caprese salad.

Wine List, Anyone?

The bright and fresh flavors of Pesto Caprese salad pair well with a variety of wines. 

If you’re looking to get fancy and want some wine pairings, try these on for size:

White wine: Opt for a crisp and dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. 

Red wine: Try a light-bodied red like Chianti or Beaujolais. 

The acidity and fruitiness of these wines complement the salad’s flavors beautifully.

A close-up photo of pesto caprese salad.

Pesto Caprese FAQ

How do you store pesto Caprese salad?

Cover the pesto Caprese salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

What is pesto Caprese made of?

Pesto Caprese marries the vibrant red tomatoes and creamy mozzarella of Caprese salad with the nutty, cheesy, basil flavors of classic pesto. 

How healthy is Caprese?

Caprese salad is a delicious, healthy choice for a side dish or light meal. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, this salad combines the nutritious goodness of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves.

Why is it called Caprese?

Caprese salad gets its name from the island of Capri, located off the coast of Italy. The salad is believed to have originated there, inspired by the colors of the Italian flag — red, white, and green. 

Other Italian-Inspired Recipes

 

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Pesto caprese salad in a white serving bowl garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Pesto Caprese Salad


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  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

Pesto Caprese Salad combines the best of two refreshing and vibrant dishes. 

Creamy mozzarella balls and juicy tomatoes are tossed with smooth olive oil and nutty basil pesto — drizzled with a sweet, tangy balsamic glaze. 

Pesto Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any summer gathering. But it also doubles as a refreshing appetizer or a topping on a main dish (grilled chicken, anyone?). 

Without any distractions, this pesto caprese salad recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make.

But even with a playful pup or kiddo vying for your attention, you can whip this recipe up in no time!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 20 oz grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls
  • ¼ cup basil pesto 
  • 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic glaze for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine tomatoes and mozzarella pearls in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the pesto and 1-2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl. Start with 1 tablespoon of oil and add more if necessary if your pesto is thicker. You want a smooth, somewhat pourable consistency.
  3. Pour the pesto mixture over the prepared tomatoes and toss to combine. 
  4. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or in an airtight container for up to 2 days in advance. 
  5. Prior to serving, drizzle with the balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes both work great for this recipe.
  • Nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 260
  • Sugar: 2.8g
  • Fat: 19.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.4g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 8.5g
  • Cholesterol: 42mg

Did you make this recipe?

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If you made this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using  #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures! Thanks for following and cooking along with me.

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