This ultimate caprese salad is light years beyond with additional ingredients that make it a statement platter.It’s a canvas of art for the eyes and belly!
Whenever we get asked to someone’s home for dinner, a party, cookout, gathering, movie night, whatever the reason might be, I, of course, always ask, ‘What can I bring?’ I love it when they say ‘salad’! Yes, salad recipes are perfect for guests to bring to a dinner party.
Not only are they easy to make, but there’s so many creative options for salads out there beyond what your mind’s eye might ‘see’ when you hear the word ‘salad’. You know, a bowl filled with some greens, maybe some chopped carrots, celery, tomatoes, dressing, and that’s about what constitutes a ‘salad’.
But, salads can be off the charts clever if you just think outside the bowl. And, that’s what this ‘unique caprese salad’ is, outside the bowl of thinking about the ultimate caprese salad. But, if you’re not in the mood for caprese salad, then dive into my cache of salads! I’m a fanatic with creating new salad recipes!
Caprese is really salad of Capri. In Italian it’s more like caprese insalata or insalata caprese. Who knows if this salad originiated from the island of Capri or not, but it’s one fine salad of tomatoes and basil that may have originally been served with different cheeses and meats.
What is a Caprese Salad
If you ask, what is a caprese salad, the answer, in its strictest sense, would be simple, tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. Usually served in a bowl or on a plate, it’s drizzled with olive oil and has balsamic or lemon juice, salt and pepper. Caprese salad is one popular salad, like Greek salad, cobb salad, wedge salad, that people love to have as a meal or with their meal.
Of course, like most salads, caprese salad is healthy. Just eating it might make you feel healthier and better. Nutritionally tomatoes have important compounds that can help protect us from vascular disease. So why not eat more tomatoes if you can.
Best Caprese Salad
The best Caprese salad is a super one made with the freshest ingredients. In the Summer when I have five to six basil plants growing, we are eating Caprese salad all the time. And, if I can source home grown tomatoes, I feel like I’ve hit pay dirt. The mozzarella is easier to control I think because you can find several varieties of mozzarella usually in your local grocery store. IF, and that’s a big if, I can find buffalo burrata mozzarella, you bet I’ll splurge on that type of mozzarella!
What to Serve with Caprese Salad
I think this ultimate caprese salad gives you an idea of what to serve with caprese salad. Making it stunning and like a canvas of fine art was my objective. It’s like a meal on a platter, but it’s not going to be the full meal. Serve it like a tapas or mezze, small plates, and let everyone get a little of everything that whets their appetite and palate from this stunning platter.
Caprese Salad Recipes
When we were invited to was a Derby Party, I decided to wear instead of a big bonnet, my newest dooorag. Mint juleps would be flowing. Googling caprese salad recipes made my head spin, so I decided I’d make my own version of a stunning caprese salad.
Knowing there’d be a crowd there, and plenty of food, I wanted to make this the ultimate salad, kind of like the salad of Wonder Woman. Since I had this huge vintage worn looking enamel platter, I knew it would be perfect for this big salad where folks can scoop and choose what they wanted to comprise their own version of their ‘caprese salad’.
Just a few tips.
- The greens can be any type, but I suggest small leafy greens, watercress, arugula, mini kales, combine them all together.
- Don’t chop your basil leaves. Leave the whole! OMG, they’re amazing when you bite into them in the greens.
- You can design your platter in any style. I just happened to like the layout that you see here in my photos. But if you want to add small bowls for the olives, cherry tomatoes and other things, I think that would be gorgeous.
Now what makes this salad ‘ultimate’ is the addition of other flavors and textures that you don’t normally see with a traditional caprese salad.
- I’ve added pan seared cumin and caper garbanzo beans. Oh, these warm buttery beans just melt in your mouth and add a new dimension of flavor.
- Then there’re the thinly sliced red onions, raw, because we want that tad bit of crunch.
- The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flair continues with olives, both black and green. Don’t think my ingredients are your only choices.
- Next time, I’m definitely adding mini cucumbers for more crunch, maybe some nuts, roasted corn…who knows!
And, last thing, you can adjust this quantity for just a few folks, too. We had some leftover and it was dang good on day two! I even took a picture. Check it out. It’s with chicken wings for lunch the next day!
In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the oil, beans, ground cumin, salt, chili flakes and capers. Cook for about 5 minutes tossing and turning the beans. Turn heat off. Set aside. On a large serving platter, arrange the greens and basil on opposite ends. Add the cherry tomatoes next to each of the greens. Place the garbanzo beans on the platter. Then make room for the mozzarella in the middle of the platter with space at the top/bottom for the red onions Sprinkle the olives on the cheese, beans and tomatoes. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Drizzle over all of the mixture. Serve immediately.
In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the oil, beans, ground cumin, salt, chili flakes and capers. Cook for about 5 minutes tossing and turning the beans. Turn heat off. Set aside.
On a large serving platter, arrange the greens and basil on opposite ends. Add the cherry tomatoes next to each of the greens. Place the garbanzo beans on the platter. Then make room for the mozzarella in the middle of the platter with space at the top/bottom for the red onions
Sprinkle the olives on the cheese, beans and tomatoes. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Drizzle over all of the mixture. Serve immediately.