Tomato mozzarella salad with basil pesto

Tomato mozzarella salad with basil pesto

Once upon a time somewhere in Italy, mozzarella fell in love with tomato. They married, had children and lived happily ever after. One of their daughters traveled far and wide looking for a soulmate, dressed with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Then one day she met basil, a young leaf with a refreshing personality she was instantly drawn to. After a few dates she knew he was the only one for her; how could anyone resist someone as sweet as basil?!

Together they made beautiful music and became one of the most celebrated Italian dishes of all time: Insalata Caprese (aka tomato mozzarella salad.)

Okay, so it’s a little far fetched but that’s how I’d like to think it happened..

pesto ingredients pesto

Few food combinations pair as well as tomato and mozzarella. Here at home we love the perfectly sweet and acidic balance of a toothsome caprese salad. But sometimes I get bored in the kitchen and feel the need to change things up a bit. Standing in front of the cutting board I’m thinking ‘what if I pulverize the basil, add some slivered almonds and turn it into some kind of pesto?’

tomatoes tomato mozzarella

The wheels are turning.. Tomato mozzarella salad with basil pesto.. And black olives? Even better! As I’m putting the salad together I want to add one last element to give it height and volume. A few shaved cucumber ribbons will do the trick. Tada! A gorgeous tomato mozzarella salad that pairs nicely with spaghetti meatballs or a slice of fennel ciabatta pizza. Buon appetito!

tomato mozz cuke

If you are making this for yourself, leave the pesto to the side and add some as you eat. This way, the leftovers will keep nicely in the fridge without being soggy the next day.

salad tomato mozzarella basil pesto Print

Tomato mozarella salad with basil pesto

This a light and colorful tomato salad packed with salty, acidic, and herbaceous flavors!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sides 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 oz mozarella ball (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 medium tomato (cut into 1/4-inch thick slices)
  • 1/2 English cucumber (seeded and shaved into ribbons (or thinly sliced))
  • 5 kalamata olives (pitted and halved)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond slivers (or pine nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place tomatoes on a plate in a circle.
  2. Add 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  3. Loosely place cucumber ribbons in the center to give height to the salad and top with the salad with black olives and dressing. Serve immediately.

For the dressing:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Serves 2-4 people

Keywords: vegetarian, vegan, side dish, appetizer

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