Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

There is nothing better than cooking with fruits and vegetables that are in season. Now a days we can find pretty much anything in the market, in season or not. But when you bake a cobbler with ripe in-season peaches…GLORIOUS! For the best tasting Caprese salad ever, I chose beautiful heirloom tomatoes because Summer=Tomatoes=Happiness.

sliced yellow and red heirloom tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and balsamic glaze
Quick and easy summer time salad with heirloom tomatoes and bufala mozzarella

WHAT IS A CAPRESE SALAD AND WHY THE HEIRLOOM TOMATOES?

Potted herb garden with basil thyme and rosemary
Basil, thyme and rosemary from the garden

Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Not only does this salad pack a punch of flavor but you can make it in 5 minutes, really. The tomatoes are sliced and are arranged on a plate alternating with thick slices of fresh mozzarella and garnished with basil. This is a very popular summer salad because its refreshinf, tomatoes are in season and did I mention its so easy to make. This is typically served as an appetizer but add slices of (store bought..yes you read correctly) roasted chicken breast for an delicious weeknight meal. This is a great time to use fresh basil from your garden. My garden is really small as I’m not so great (I’m terrible actually) at growing plants but herbs are a bit more manageable in small containers that I can place right on my windowsill. For my twist on the traditional Caprese, I left out the cracked pepper and olive oil. I did add a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

As I was shopping ingredients for another recipe I happened upon the most beautiful, colorful, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes today and voila an heirloom tomato salad appeared on my kitchen counter for lunch. I’m a little embarrassed to say that the first time I saw an heirloom tomato was not that long ago when they opened a Whole Foods market in my area. I’ve been a city girl my whole life so farmers markets were not something I had the opportunity to frequent growing up. When I finally did see them in the market though, I have to say, I walked right by them for the longest because, let’s be honest, they are a little weird looking. Until I saw them on a cooking show so I took the plunge and goodness was that a great choice. I look forward to summertime every year just to have a bite (or two or more but who’s counting) of these delicious treats.

Bowl of red, yellow and green heirloom tomatoes
Farm stand heirloom tomato varieties

Heirloom tomatoes have been grown by generations of gardeners who did not genetically modify the tomato seeds. This means heirlooms are not as resistant to disease and have a shorter shelf life. This is also what gives them that strong tomato flavor that you won’t get from a regular tomato. Heirloom variety tomatoes are open-pollinated which means you can actually take the seeds and plant them to grow your own.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium – large size heirloom tomatoes of your favorite variety and color, sliced thick
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thick
  • 10 sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. of balsamic glaze
  • Coarse sea salt to taste

Directions

Platter of bright and juicy heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella balsamic glaze and basil leaves
Best summer salad with fresh Burrata juicy heirloom tomatoes and sweet basi
  1. On a serving platter, arrange the tomato slices alternating with the mozzarella slices.
  2. Garnish with sweet basil leaves throughout.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

sliced yellow and red heirloom tomato salad with bufala mozzarella and toasted crostini
Serve this delicious heirloom tomato and bufala salad with a
toasted crostini or baguette slices
  • This can be served on its own or with crunchy slices of freshly toasted crostini.
  • You can drizzle good quality olive oil and season with fresh cracked black pepper for a closer version of the traditional.
  • This can be made up to 24 hours in advance but do not season until ready to serve. This includes the balsamic glaze and the olive oil, if using.
  • You probably won’t have leftovers but if you’re lucky then cover and refrigerate. Consume the following day. Note, it will not look the same as the glaze will spread and remember that the salt will bring out the juices from the tomatoes so you will see some liquid. It should still be very tasty.
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Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

Best summer salad ever. Make in 5 minutes with fresh mozzarella, ripe juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil, sea salt and balsamic glaze.

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Salad
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 34 medium to large heirloom tomatoes (sliced thick)
  • 4 oz. Mozzarella Burrata
  • 8 sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
  • sea salt (to taste)

Instructions

  1. On a serving platter, arrange alternating slices of tomato and burrata
  2. Garnish with sweet basil
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze

Notes

  • This can be served on its own or with crunchy slices of freshly toasted crostini.
  • You can drizzle good quality olive oil and season with fresh cracked black pepper for a closer version of the traditional.
  • This can be made up to 24 hours in advance but do not season until ready to serve. This includes the balsamic glaze and the olive oil, if using.
  • You probably won’t have leftovers but if you’re lucky then cover and refrigerate. Consume the following day. Note, it will not look the same as the glaze will spread through the tomatoes and the salt will bring out the juices from the tomatoes so you will see some liquid. It will still be very tasty though.

15 Minute Mini Flatbread Pizzas

Mini flatbread pizzas with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce
Mini pizzas great for lunch, snack or a party appetizer

Toasted mini flat bread, mouthwatering marinara sauce and hooey gooey melted mozzarella cheese, in 15 minutes? Totally! I’m going to show you how. I’m always looking to find different and healthier ways of making my five year old the foods he loves most. I mean what kid doesn’t absolutely love pizza right? The delivery kind as well as the frozen ones are not always the best option so when I found these flatbread rounds one day at the market it was like light bulb immediately went off. These mini pizzas are a hit with children and adults a like. I have a large immediate family and sometimes there are more children than adults, so even the smallest gathering (about 25 people) requires some serious planning for me. This is one of those appetizers you will want to make time and time again because they’re so delicious and quick to make. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anyone in my family who doesn’t love this delicious homemade pizza. That’s a win-win in my book.

Mini Flatbread Pizzas

How to make the mini pizzas

Cheesy mini flatbread pizzas

Now a days there are all sorts of flat breads to choose from in most markets. If you can’t find the small personal sized ones, you can use a cookie cutter or a glass cup even, to make them any size you like. The idea is to make them small enough to be served as a “finger food” appetizer. I would make as many as you can because most people will eat 2 or 3 of these bad boys. I like to brush the flatbread with some good quality olive oil and sprinkle with garlic granules. Then I toast them in the oven for a few minutes before topping it with the marinara. This gives it excellent texture and will only adds a couple of minutes prep time , but if you’re in a pinch you can definitely leave that part out. I typically use a good-quality jarred marinara sauce but by all means, if you happen to have some left over homemade marinara sauce, this would be a great time to use it. For the cheese, I find mozzarella to be difficult to shred when its fresh, so I buy it already shredded. I do prefer the thicker over the finely shredded. It just melts more pretty when topping a pizza. A sprinkle of parsley flakes on each or finely chopped fresh kind if you have is great too. You can prepare them in advance up to this point, cover them and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake for 5-8 minutes when ready to serve. These are best when served hot. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, you can reheat them at 400 degrees in the oven for a few of minutes.

Ingredients

  • Personal-size flatbread rounds, 12 pack
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic granules
  • Marinara sauce, good quality
  • 8 oz. Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Brush the flatbread rounds with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes until you see the toasty brown circles appear on the slices.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  5. Spread about 1 tbsp. of marinara sauce over each piece.
  6. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1 tbsp. on each pizza.
  7. Sprinkle with parsley.
  8. Place back in the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Enjoy!

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Baking dish filled with delicious spinach and artichoke dip and melted mozzarella cheese
Creamy cheesy spinach artichoke dip great for a crowd

I’ve been making this recipe for as long as I can remember and it’s one of those dishes that I get asked to make over and over again. From my five year old, who is still a picky eater, to my toughest adult critic, my husband, it’s a winner. Whether I bring it out at a cocktail party or take it to a potluck, everyone absolutely loves this dip. The list of ingredients is a bit long but you probably already have most of them in your fridge and pantry. This is one of those recipes where you only use one kitchen tool and one dish so cleanup couldn’t be easier. It takes about 5 minutes to prep or you can make it 2-3 days in advance and just keep it covered and refrigerated. All you have to do is put it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes right before serving. Make sure you sit down to have some the moment you put it down, because chances are, by the time you come back it will be GONE. You’ve been warned. If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, it tastes just as great the next day. If you’re sharing with more than about 6 people, you may even want to make two and be ready for people to ask you for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. package of cream cheese* at room temperature
  • 10 oz. package of frozen spinach defrosted (all the water squeezed out)
  • 14 oz. can of quartered artichokes, not marinated, liquid drained
  • 8 oz. sour cream*
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups or 6 oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese*
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2tsp. kosher salt
  • 1tsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2tsp. cayenne pepper or if you don’t have that, 3-4 dashes of your favorite hot sauce will work too.

*I use the whole milk version of all of these ingredients. You can use “part-skim” or “lite” versions of these ingredients but when you’re making it for a party and you want to impress your guests, I have to tell you, it just won’t taste the same.

Instructions

  • Place cream cheese and sour cream into a food processor first.
  • Add the artichokes, spinach and garlic. Pulse a few times.
  • Add remaining ingredients and half of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Pulse to mix to desired consistency. (I like to leave some small chunks for texture)
  • Spread evenly onto into a baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips. *Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet and place in the oven with the dip for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Squeeze some lime over them right out of the oven for an added burst of flavor.
  • Enjoy!
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Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Three cheese dip with shredded mozzarella, parmesan and cream cheese is a savory and delicious appetizer that will feed a crowd.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (Room temperature)
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach (Defrosted and water squeezed out)
  • 14 oz. quartered artichoke hearts (drained and rinsed)
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cream cheese and sour cream into a food processor with a steel blade inserted.
  2. Add the artichokes, spinach and garlic. Pulse a few times
  3. Add remaining ingredients and half of the mozzarella cheese
  4. Pulse to mix to desired consistency. (I like to leave some small chunks for texture)
  5. Spread evenly onto into a baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese
  6. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes
  7. Serve warm. Enjoy

Notes

We like to serve this with tortilla or pita chips. *Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet and place in the oven with the dip for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Squeeze some lime over them right out of the oven for an added burst of flavor.

It can also be served with veggies as a healthy alternative.