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Humble Gardener Recipe: Insalata Caprese

After plucking a few tomatoes off the vine, I’m always overcome with a craving for insalata caprese. It’s an old favorite for anyone with a garden full of tomatoes and basil. Juicy tomatoes topped with slices of mozzarella and just-picked basil, then drizzled with balsamic… it’s melt-in-your-mouth good. Freshness seems to practically ooze out of the dish. It also turns your little garden into a masterpiece on a plate.

There’s something satisfying about creating an edible work of art from start to finish.


Insalata Caprese


  • 3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar Reduction*
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter.

Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

*If you’d like to add a touch of sweetness, you can create a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction with 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar. Cook the vinegar/brown sugar mixture down on med-high heat until it is reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Food Network.


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