Summer salads should be as beautiful as they are delicious, and an Italian burrata caprese fits that definition perfectly! It’s a delicious twist on a traditional caprese salad recipe, using gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese. Don’t let your summer pass by without making this incredible dish!
Why We Love Burrata Caprese
- It’s beautiful and colorful! It tastes great, but it sure looks great too. This Italian salad is full of red, green, and white colors — like the national flag!
- No ovens or heavy preparation is required. The last thing we want to do in the summer is slave over the stove!
- It also complements other meals really well. We’ll even pile it on skillet chicken for an herbaceous, juicy dinner.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Tomatoes – The best tomatoes for caprese are meaty, with plenty of flesh and very few seeds. Heirloom, Plum, Roma, and San Marzano are all good choices.
- Burrata – A unique, creamy cheese. We are using it in place of mozzarella, the usual cheese found in a caprese salad recipe. If you’d prefer to use mozzarella balls in its place, please feel free!
- Basil – Large, fresh, crisp leaves serve as the salad greens. Don’t hesitate to add additional leaves, such as baby spinach or a spring mix.
- Balsamic Glaze – This sweet glaze is present in a variety of tomato salad recipes — they’re a natural pair! It’s just a reduction of balsamic vinegar, so it’s easy to make at home.
- Basil Vinaigrette – A very light, acidic dressing infused with the sweet and spicy taste of basil. This is an optional ingredient, but it does add a vibrancy to the salad that is more than welcome!
What is Burrata?
This is a type of cheese that is soft and creamy. You’ll find it in the form of plump balls, often stored in a liquid. We usually find it sold in sets of two 4-ounce balls.
The exterior of the cheese is actually a thin pouch made of mozzarella. It hides a reservoir of milky, buttery liquid that spills out once the skin is punctured.
It isn’t always easy to find! Call your local grocery stores ahead of time to make sure they have it in stock.
Italian Salad Recipe Tips
- Use a serrated knife to prepare the tomatoes.
Rather than using a chef’s knife, a serrated knife is the best tool to cut through moist, juicy tomatoes.
Lay the tomato on its side and cut right through the core instead of trying to slice it from top to bottom — that’s a good way to accidentally cut yourself! Some also prefer to prepare tomato wedges in caprese salad rather than round slices.
- Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer for a prettier presentation.
- Wait to add the dressing.
If you’re prepping this dish ahead of time, it’s a good idea to wait to drizzle the dressing on top until right before serving. This ensures it looks beautiful and the balsamic doesn’t spread.
Burrata Caprese FAQs
It’s always, always best served fresh, at room temperature.
If possible, take it out of the fridge 15 to 30 minutes before serving the salad, so that it’s not too cold. This will give the creamy center a chance to soften.
The center liquid is stracciatella, which is a combination of cream and residual “stretched” mozzarella curds. It’s actually a liquid leftover from making mozzarella!
A very simple Italian salad consisting of basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. There is also usually a light drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar as a dressing.
For this type of caprese, we simply replace the mozzarella.
Other veggies (and fruits!) that are great in a burrata caprese salad.
The heirloom tomatoes and fresh cheese are very moist and juicy. Rather than introduce another wet ingredient, consider crisp radishes, or hot pepperoncini peppers.
By the way, if you’re a salad lover, our recipe for Tuscan bean salad is another great summer salad!
Storing and Serving Tomato Salad
If you’d like to make your burrata caprese salad ahead of time, don’t add the balsamic glaze or basil vinaigrette just yet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just before serving, then add the final drizzle.
The fresh cheese becomes runny at warm temperatures, so it’s important to keep it chilled until just shortly before serving. Any leftovers are best enjoyed within two days.
Serve with bread to enjoy every last drop!
There’s a lot of creaminess and juiciness in this dish. If you don’t want to leave any of that good stuff behind, serve it with some French bread to soak it all up!
You could also simply pile everything onto flatbread and bake it for a delicious appetizer.
To finish your meal off, our plump and sweet strawberry blueberry salad would make a great dessert!
- 6 medium tomatoes cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick. *see Notes
- 8 ounces burrata cheese *see Notes
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (also known as balsamic vinegar reduction)
- ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt, or more/less to your taste preference
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper or more/less to your taste preference
- 3 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette optional, to drizzle over top of salad
- Arrange tomato slices on a platter by fanning them out in layers, leaving some space in the center of the platter. Add burrata balls to the empty spot, then using the back of a large spoon, lightly press down, to spread them slightly. Arrange basil leaves evenly over the tomato slices.
- If you'll be serving the salad right away, drizzle balsamic glaze over the salad, then season with salt and pepper. Optionally, for an additional pop of flavor and color, also drizzle a bit of pesto vinaigrette over the top.
- If making the salad ahead, do not add balsamic glaze or vinaigrette; wait until just before serving. Instead, cover platter tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.