When you are planning an Italian meal, what is the first thing that pops in your head? Is it spaghetti, garlic bread, or possibly baked ziti? For me, I automatically think about having a big plate of caprese. Even though it may not be the “main dish” I still can’t imagine an Italian meal without it. I love the plump tomatoes, fresh basil and of course the drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. If I am making it at home, I make sure to include real mozzarella for my husband, and vegan mozzarella for myself. However, if I’m out at a restaurant I will just enjoy the balsamic dredged tomatoes. Either way, it still hits the spot.
Recently, I wanted to try a new variation of my favorite Italian appetizer. I decided to throw my tomatoes on the grill for a few minutes before building the caprese salad. Man, am I glad I did! The grill marks and smoky flavor add such a great taste to the tomatoes and make them much more tender. Then, once you add the mozzarella to the warm tomatoes, the cheese slowly begins to melt, creating this amazingly smooth creamy texture to the appetizer.
To prepare the tomatoes for the grill, I simply drizzle olive oil and a little salt & pepper over top of each slice. Make sure the slices are about 1/2 inch thick. This will make them easier to turn on the grill, and less likely to fall apart. While the tomatoes are grilling (approximately 3-4 minutes on each side), I slice the mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. As soon as the tomatoes are finished and have those beautiful grill marks, I place the slices on a large serving tray and top them with the mozzarella cheese. Lastly, I add another drizzle of olive oil along with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. It’s super simple and SUPER good!
As you can tell, I do not use very precise measurements for this dish. It’s not necessary. Add as much or as little cheese, basil, and balsamic vinegar as you wish. Have fun cooking and experimenting with your food!
- 2-3 Large tomatoes
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh basil
- Slice tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices. It will be easier to turn on the grill, and they will be less likely to fall apart.
- Drizzle with olive oil and salt/pepper.
- Place tomato slices on grill for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side, or until you begin to see grill marks.
- Cut mozzarella cheese into thin slices.
- Once the tomatoes are finished grilling, place them on a large serving tray and top with mozzarella slices.
- Lastly, add chopped fresh basil along with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.