by Olena

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 1 vote

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This Tomato Mozzarella Salad is a simple, fresh appetizer or side salad perfect for tomato season – and ready in just 15 minutes! With a combination of just 6 ingredients, this balsamic and avocado twist on a chopped Caprese salad will knock your socks off!

Once prepared, you can enjoy it alone or alongside grilled shrimp, chicken, or fish as part of a mid-week meal, picnic, potluck, or BBQ!

tomato mozzarella salad serving spoon

Fresh and Simple Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Salads and sides that take advantage of just a few key, fresh ingredients are 100% my ‘thing’ – there’s nothing better than enjoying the juiciest tomatoes and ripest in-season produce. Along with my avocado corn salad, Greek salad, and selection of fresh salsa recipes like mango salsa, here is a delicious tomato basil mozzarella salad with avocado.

This tomato mozzarella avocado salad is actually inspired by ‘Avocado Caprese salads.’ It includes a simple yet perfectly balanced combination of ripe and juicy cherry tomatoes, high-quality mozzarella, freshly picked basil, and the addition of creamy avocado and a little balsamic to finish. Want something a little more classic like a chopped Caprese salad? Omit the balsamic for a simple olive oil, salt, and pepper dressing. You could also make our Caprese Chicken and Zucchini to really get that fresh Italian flavor at dinnertime.

This chopped Caprese salad takes just 15 minutes to prepare and practically two minutes to devour. The tomato juices seep onto the plate and combine with the olive oil and balsamic for a simple, delicious dressing. This can be mopped up with your ingredients or left to appreciate with a piece of crusty bread (highly recommended!).

Best of all, this mozzarella cheese tomato salad requires just 6 fresh and simple ingredients (not including salt and pepper) – anyone can make it. Love tomatoes in a salad? You might also love my asparagus salad, spinach salad, mango black bean salad, or simple chickpea salad (just to name a few!)

Why This Simple Salad Works?

  • This chopped avocado Caprese salad is a perfectly balanced meal; creamy, salty, slightly sweet, tangy – it’s all there!
  • It uses nearly 100% fresh ingredients – for a dish that’s perfect for the Summer tomato season and vine-ripened tomatoes in December! (or whenever your tomato season takes place!)
  • The addition of avocado to this chopped Caprese salad adds creaminess, healthy fats, and tons of antioxidants for a more complete meal.
  • All you need is one dish to prepare this quick and simple salad!
  • You can have this tomato mozzarella salad from the kitchen to the table in 15 minutes as a healthy appetizer or side dish.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Tomatoes: Local in-season tomatoes are the most flavorful (like beefsteak and Heirloom tomatoes) and will make this tomato mozzarella salad sing. Grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half will work as well (in fact, cherry tomato mozzarella salad is one of my favorite variations with how juicy the small tomatoes are). Just make sure to use ripe but not overly soft tomatoes, so the salad doesn’t become mush and no mealy flavorless refrigerated supermarket tomatoes, please!
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese: Also known as Mozzarella di Bufala- this is the kind that usually comes packed in liquid and is super-soft and buttery – not the pre-shredded hard kind for pizzas. I used bocconcini here, which are tiny fresh mozzarella balls.
  • Avocado: Use ripe avocados without lots of brown flesh for the best avocado Caprese salad. Check out my avocado salad recipe for how to choose, store, and ripen avocados.
  • Fresh basil: The fresher, the better. You can buy it in bulk from farmer’s markets and in a basil clamshell in supermarkets (if you don’t grow your own). Avoid using dried basil – it’s definitely not the same for this chopped Caprese salad.
  • Olive oil: A high-quality extra virgin olive oil is essential when making such a simple dressing.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Or a balsamic glaze/reduction for a sweeter (thicker) addition. Look for a balsamic that is well-rounded in flavor (i.e., not too cheap). Alternatively, you could replace the balsamic with a bit of lemon/lime juice -it’s not as sweet but wonderfully ‘bright and refreshing.’
tomato mozzarella salad ingredients

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on recipe add-ins and variations!

How to Make a Tomato Mozzarella Avocado Salad

  • Prepare the tomatoes: If you are using small cherry tomatoes, simply chop them in half or quarters. For larger tomatoes, chop them into even-sized smaller cubes.

Make sure to use a sharp knife, so you don’t squash the tomatoes too much. Then transfer the tomato to a large serving bowl

  • Prepare the mozzarella: Drain the liquid from the bocconcini and then slice each ball in half and transfer to the bowl with the tomatoes. If you have a large piece of mozzarella, simply chop it into small cubes – you need around 1 cup chopped.  

Some people believe that tearing the mozzarella rather than chopping it will yield a better texture. Feel free to experiment.

  • Chop the avocado, garlic and basil: This is best done last to prevent them from turning brown quickly (yes, basil oxidizes and darkens too, like avo!). I diced the avocado and then just roughly chopped the larger basil leaves (you could alternatively ‘ribbon’ them). Then add it to the salad bowl.
  • Add the dressing: Finally, add the olive oil, balsamic (if using), and salt and pepper (to taste) and toss gently to thoroughly combine.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Use the freshest ingredients: This goes without saying but, a salad as simple as this relies on using ripe, fresh, high-quality ingredients! The same goes when making any tomato-heavy salad/salsa like Pico de Gallo.
  • You can omit the balsamic: For a more classic chopped Caprese salad, feel free to omit the balsamic and allow the simple ingredients to shine on their own.
  • Change the presentation: Don’t want this salad finely chopped? Feel free to use larger sliced tomato and mozzarella and ‘stack’ or layer the salad in a serving dish.
  • Toss the avocado in a little citrus: Tossing the diced avocado in a little lemon juice will help to prevent them from browning as quickly.
  • Using white balsamic: If you don’t want to discolor the salad, feel free to use a white balsamic instead. Though the flavor isn’t caramelized, so taste will differ.
how to make tomato mozzarella salad with balsamic

Add-ins and Variations

This mozzarella cheese tomato salad benefits from the simplicity of the ingredients. However, there are several add-ins and adaptions you could make to the salad.

  • Quinoa: Mix with cooked cold quinoa or grains for a complete meal salad.
  • Pasta: Add cooked cold pasta. I like to use chickpea pasta, which adds protein- for a delicious healthy pasta salad.
  • Other veggies: I like to keep things simple. However, there are a few other vegetables that pair wonderfully with these ingredients. For example, chopped cucumber, red onion, or corn either frozen (thawed) or fresh off the cob.
  • Croutons: To add crunch to the salad, you could add a handful of croutons to the tomato and mozzarella salad.
  • Pesto: Mix a little green basil pesto into the olive oil for a more flavorful dressing. This would also taste delicious when combining the avocado Caprese salad with pasta – like this pesto pasta.
  • Burrata: Burrata cheese is similar to mozzarella but even creamier, so feel free to swap the two.
tomato mozzarella salad featured in a bowl

FAQs

Can I omit the avocado?


If you want more or a traditional chopped Caprese salad, then feel free to either omit the avocado or reduce it to just one fruit – just remember to reduce the salt and pepper too.

Can I freeze tomato mozzarella salad?


I don’t recommend it as the texture of pretty much every ingredient will be affected – for the worse.

How to make a balsamic glaze?


You can make a simple balsamic glaze at home in just 20 minutes (or less). Even better, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To do so, add the vinegar and optionally some honey or sugar (1 cup balsamic to around ¼-1/5 cup honey) to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and heat until the vinegar reduces to a thick, syrups consistency that coats the back of a spoon. This will take less time if sugar is involved (around 10 mins) or longer without.

What to Serve with Tomato Mozzarella Salad?

Making this Easy Salad in Advance

Make ahead: You can prepare the chopped tomatoes and mozzarella up to 8 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. Add the remaining ingredients just before serving.

Storing: Tomato basil mozzarella salad is best served immediately, at room temperature, within a few hours. Once refrigerated, it loses some of its fresh quality. However, if you must, you can store leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to a day.

More Healthy Salad Recipes to Try

You might also enjoy browsing through my entire collection of salad recipes!

close up of tomato mozzarella salad
Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad {15 Minute Recipe!}

This Tomato Mozzarella Salad is a simple, fresh appetizer or side salad perfect for tomato season – and ready in just 15 minutes! With a combination of just 6 ingredients, this balsamic and avocado twist on a chopped Caprese salad will knock your socks off!
5 from 1 vote
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 7 oz cocktail bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls) sliced in halves
  • 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in halves
  • Handful basil thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium avocado diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Drain the tub with bocconcini and slice them in halves. Transfer to a medium salad bowl.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad
  • Slice tomatoes in halves and transfer to a bowl with bocconcini.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad
  • Chop basil and garlic; transfer to a bowl.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad
  • Now dice avocado and transfer to a bowl. Chopping it last keeps salad more pretty and less messy.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad
  • Drizzle all salad ingredients with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad
  • Stir gently using metal spoon just a few times just until combined. Keeps salad pretty. Serve immediately with crusty bread, chicken or meat.
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Store: This salad is best served immediately.

    Make ahead: Only thing you could make ahead is to slice tomatoes and cheese, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

      Notes

      • Regular size tomatoes and mozzarella: Feel free to use but chop into even size pieces. 
      • Can I omit avocado? Yes. Or just use 1 avocado fruit. Then add less salt and pepper.
      • Can I use balsamic drizzle? Absolutely. It adds more sweetness though.
      • Lime or lemon juice: Replace balsamic vinegar with 1 tbsp of fresh lime or lemon juice.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 412mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1175IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 1mg
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