Tomato Caprese can be served as an appetizer or salad, made with fresh slices of tomatoes, burrata cheese and balsamic glaze. Instead of basil, use rich and silky pesto sauce to drizzle over the creamy and gooey cheese.
Tomato Caprese salad gets reimagined with a few tweaks that upgrade it into the most amazing appetizer or salad that will be the star of the show. In addition to slices of fresh and juicy tomatoes, I added creamy avocados, because they pair so nicely together. Instead of using basil, I use pesto – this rich and concentrated sauce has basil, garlic and parmesan – so it is a match that is meant to be. The silky pesto coats the cheese, tomatoes and avocados and adds fresh basil flavor to each bite.
You can use either mozzarella or burrata cheese, but I personally prefer burrata. As you slice into the cheese, the gooey center mixes with the pesto and is such a great mix with the tomatoes and avocados. In the pesto itself, I use pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts, which makes it more mild and gives it a flavor twist. To top it all off, try using a fig balsamic glaze. It’s slightly sweeter and also more mild than regular balsamic glaze.
How to Make Tomato Caprese Video:
- tomatoes – any type of tomatoes will work for this recipe, but in the summer when they are in season, they are especially flavorful, juicy and sweet
- avocados – Haas avocados are best because they are usually smaller and will be easier to slice and arrange on the plate
- burrata cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese – You can use either cheese for this recipe. Most grocery stores carry both types of cheese in the section of the store with all the specialty cheeses.
- olive oil – use the olive oil to drizzle on top of the tomatoes, if you want as well as to thin out the pesto.
- balsamic glaze or balsamic fig glaze – balsamic glaze is essentially balsamic vinegar that is cooked until it is reduced and thickened in texture. It’s sweet and acidic and pairs very well with the tomatoes, basil and cheese. If you can find a fig balsamic glaze, it’s really nice for this recipe, it has a slightly different flavor, is more mild and sweeter.
- pesto sauce – you can make your own pesto sauce or use store bought pesto sauce. I have an entire recipe dedicated to Pesto sauce, with detailed instructions on how to make it, different ingredient variations and substitutions you can try as well as many creative ways to use pesto sauce.
- salt, ground black pepper – to season the tomatoes and avocados.
What is Caprese?
Caprese is served as an appetizer or a salad and is usually made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and a balsamic glaze.
Burrata vs. Fresh Mozzarella:
Burrata and mozzarella are both semi soft cheeses and have a very similar taste. Mozzarella cheese is firm all the way through and can be cut into slices, but burrata has a shell that is the same texture as mozzarella, but the center has a really soft, ricotta-like consistency. It is lovely in appetizers and salads.
How To Make Tomato Caprese:
- Make the pesto sauce. Toast the pumpkin seeds and garlic, cool, then add the basil, parsley, baby spinach, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pumpkin seeds in a food processor or blender. Mix to combine then pour in the olive oil and mix until smooth. (You will only need a few spoonfuls – 1/4 cup of pesto sauce, so use the rest of the pesto in pasta, ravioli, as a marinade with chicken or seafood, etc. Of course, you can also make more of this appetizer the next day, which is what we often do. Simply freeze the pesto for up to 3 months to use it another time. Pesto Recipe Ideas HERE.)
- Arrange the tomatoes and avocados on a plate. Slice the tomatoes and avocados, then put the tomatoes around the outside, with the avocado slices on the inside.
- Place the burrata cheese in the center.
- Thin out the pesto sauce with olive oil until it’s a pourable consistency and drizzle over the cheese.
- Serve right away.
Tomato Caprese With Mozzarella Cheese and Pesto
- Instead of using burrata cheese, you can use fresh mozzarella. Arrange the tomato slices with the slices of fresh mozzarella around the outside of the plate and fill in the center of the plate with sliced avocados.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Thin out the pesto sauce with olive oil until it’s a pourable consistency, then drizzle over the tomatoes.
- Serve right away.
Love Tomato Caprese? Try these other delicious combinations:
- Chicken Meatballs and Tomato Caprese Couscous
- Chicken Tomato Caprese Wraps
- Pesto Pasta With Tomatoes and Shallots
Tomato Caprese With Burrata and Pesto
This Tomato Caprese can be served as an appetizer or salad. Serve it with slices of tomato, avocado, gooey and creamy Burrata cheese with balsamic fig glaze and pesto sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 7 min
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 2–4 servings 1x
Pesto Sauce: (This will make 1 cup of pesto. You will only need a few spoonfuls – 1/4 cup for each plate full of Tomato Caprese.)
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 cup baby spinach
3–6 garlic cloves, with the peel
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a few more spoonfuls to thin out the pesto
1 (4 oz) ball of burrata cheese
salt, ground black pepper, to taste
1–2 Tablespoons balsamic fig glaze
- Wash and dry the basil, parsley and baby spinach.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds along with the garlic cloves (with their peel on) in a dry skillet on medium low heat until the pumpkin seeds are lightly golden. Remove the pumpkin seeds from the skillet and continue cooking the garlic cloves for a few more min on really low heat until they are soft and the papery skin is charred in spots. Cool.
- In a food processor or a blender, combine the basil, parsley, baby spinach, pumpkin seeds, peeled garlic, Parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times until evenly mixed.
- While the food processor is running, pour in the olive oil and mix until smooth.
- Store the pesto sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- You will only need a few spoonfuls – 1/4 cup of the pesto sauce (more or less, depending on your taste preference.) Thin out the pesto sauce with some olive oil until it is pourable.
- Slice the tomatoes and avocados. Arrange the tomato slices around the outside of the plate and the avocado slices underneath the tomatoes, leaving a space in the center. Season the tomatoes and avocados with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the burrata cheese in the center of the plate.
- Drizzle the tomatoes with fig balsamic glaze and the top of the burrata cheese with the thinned out pesto sauce.
- Serve right away.
You will need only about 1/4 of the pesto sauce for this recipe, but it is much easier to get a good consistency of the pesto in the food processor by making a full batch. Refrigerate the extra pesto in the refrigerator for up to one week and freeze for up to 3 months.
Since the burrata cheese usually comes with 2 (4 oz) balls in one container, I usually serve this appetizer twice in one week – it’s SO good, we are thrilled to enjoy it again. Then I either freeze the leftover pesto or use it as a marinade for chicken or seafood or make Pesto Pasta in a variety of different ways. Check out my Pesto Recipe for many creative ways to use Pesto sauce.
Instead of using burrata cheese, try using fresh mozzarella cheese instead. Arrange the tomatoes with slices of mozzarella in between each tomato around the outside of the plate and arrange the avocado slices in the center.
Drizzle with balsamic glaze and thinned out pesto sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve right away as well.
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