Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

My cherry tomato caprese salad with slivers of red onion, Kalamata olives, and a red wine vinaigrette is the little black dress of summer side salads ~ it goes with everything!

Cherry tomato caprese salad in a white bowl

a caprese salad made with cherry tomatoes

This fun salad is a nice alternative to heavier pasta or potato salads, and works just as well as a side for everything from steak and burgers to quiches and sandwiches. If you’re somebody who ogles colorful cherry tomatoes when you see them in the supermarket or farmers markets (raising hand!) this salad is for you. Of course you can make it with all red toms, but the multi-colors are glorious.

A caprese (‘in the manner of Capri‘) salad is composed of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil; usually sliced and layered on a plate. But the combination is so brilliant it’s been translated into sandwiches, pizzas, and all sorts of recipes.

cherry tomato caprese salad in a bowl with dressing

I love to make my salads in large, wide, shallow serving bowls like this one.

This set of bowls gives you size options depending on how many you’re serving. All the beautiful ingredients are visible that way, and nothing gets buried.

  • cherry tomatoes ~ red or multi-colored. The cherry tomato market has exploded in recent years, so take advantage of the variety! Look for firm smooth tomatoes and avoid soft or wrinkled produce.
  • small fresh mozzarella balls (perline, or little pearls) Note: I toss my perline with a little olive oil and Italian herb blend to give them a little extra personality.
  • Kalamata olives add a nice briney flavor that complements all the other ingredients beautifully
  • red onion goes in pretty much every salad I ever make, but you can leave it out if you’re not a raw onion person.
  • fresh basil is key for the caprese vibe.
  • red wine vinaigrette is simple to make and just brings all the flavors together and allows them to meld
Washing cherry tomatoes for

variation ideas for a tomato salad

  • You might skip the perline and anchor your salad with a burrata cheese instead, for an extra bit of luxury.
  • In place of a red wine vinaigrette you could do a fresh basil pesto, thinned to dressing consistency with extra olive oil.
  • Add chickpeas, or diced cucumber.
  • Crumbled bacon, julienned salami, or feathery pieces of prosciutto would be a nice pop of protein.
  • Serve this over fresh greens like arugula or romaine.
  • Make it a meal by adding grilled shrimp or thinly sliced ribbons of steak.
cherry tomato caprese salad with small mozzarella balls

what to serve with cherry tomato caprese salad

Whichever way you choose to serve your salad, be sure to include some crusty or toasted bread because there will be lots of juices to sop up.

This salad is pretty much a universal side dish for anything you’re making for dinner this summer. It goes especially well with grilled meats and fish. I think it would be lovely alongside steak, but wouldn’t be out of place with hot dogs and hamburgers.

Serve it with lighter meals like quiche, quesadillas, or fritattas,

For lunch it works great with sandwiches of all kinds.

a plate of cherry tomato caprese salad

more tomato salads

5 from 3 votes

Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

My cherry tomato caprese salad with slivers of red onion, Kalamata olives, and a red wine vinaigrette is the little black dress of summer side salads ~ it goes with everything!
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 6 -8 servings
Calories 184kcal
Author Sue Moran



  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive brine
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt


  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces mini fresh mozzarella balls, perline (pearl size)
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly slivered
  • 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • fresh basil leaves
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  • Whisk the dressing ingredients together to combine. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.
  • Halve or quarter your cherry tomatoes, depending on size. Add them to a salad bowl.
  • Add the mozzarella balls, onions, olives. Note: I like to toss the mozzarella with a little olive oil and Italian seasoning before adding to the salad. This is optional.
  • Toss the salad with enough dressing to moisten well. Serve topped with fresh basil and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
  • This salad is best served soon after you make it. You can cover loosely and let sit on the counter for up to an hour before serving. Otherwise it should be refrigerated. Note: tomatoes do not do well in the refrigerator, they get mushy, so I don't recommend making this salad more than an hour ahead. You can prep the other ingredients ahead, just don't cut the tomatoes until ready to serve.


Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1187IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
e book

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2022 at 7:00 am

    5 stars
    Had something similar for lunch not long ago served on top of naan flatbread. The naan absorbed some of the vinaigrette. So good!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm

      Love that idea, what a great way to serve it.

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