Traditional recipes

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

One of my refrigerator staples is this tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad, with herb salt, olive oil, pepper, and red onion. The key is not to overpower the tomatoes with the mozzarella, letting the sweet and tangy cherry tomato taste shine through, with the salt and onion giving it a good kick.

Click here to see It's Time for a Cherry Tomato Fiesta — 11 Great Recipes.


  • 8 Ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 Ounces fresh cherry-size mozzarella balls, quartered
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped basil
  • 2 Teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon herb sea salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon pepper


Calories Per Serving318

Folate equivalent (total)24µg6%

Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg15.6%


Baked Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad with Garlic Confit is an alternative, elegant, winter take on the traditional caprese. Contrasting temperatures of cold mozzarella and warm cherry tomatoes and the cleansing properties of baked lemon and fresh mint and basil make this salad a delicious, vegetarian appetiser or a lovely light lunch.

Last Saturday I managed to lock in some rain-free morning light in reasonably presentable shots of my forever tomato-mozzarella love story of Baked Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad with Garlic Confit. After clearing that plate my mood had improved by a notch!

The weather in Guernsey had turned sad and wet and for over a week now I wake up every day to gloomy skies and completely uninspiring rain-heavy, grey light. No, not liking it at all and miss the sun and fresh tomatoes more than ever! Luckily for me, good food can work like a charm for a bad mood caused by damp winter weather. The Baked Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad with Garlic Confit works especially well because it contains literally all my favourite things on 1 plate and every time I make it I can never have enough of it. I mean the salad, not the plate!

It has been a while since I made confit garlic. I tend to roast garlic instead if I want some nice soft, buttery garlic cloves for anything. The difference is that roasted garlic is more intense in flavour from the mellower, confit version and roasting garlic doesn’t produce any garlic infused oil I can use later on. So last Saturday I peeled 2 heads of garlic and poached the garlic cloves in olive oil with some peppercorns and a bit of thyme and rosemary. (Here is how to make and store confit garlic safely.)

Oh, let me tell you! This intense fragrance really wakes up the senses! Oil infused with spices and garlic makes the most wonderful base for dressings or simply a lovely, flavoured oil for general use. On this occasion I needed both the oil and oil-poached garlic cloves as key ingredients in my Baked Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad with Garlic Confit.

In the winter cherry tomatoes are definitely my favourite choice of tomato because of their punchy and full flavour, which is the closest to my beloved fully ripe plum or heirloom toms. Although cherry toms are quite small, they contain the whole world of a tomato flavour in essence, and remind me of summer and the sun I miss so much. So, I brushed them generously with the confit garlic oil and baked with a few slices of lemon at 160C for 20 minutes. The rest is just decorating over the super chilled mozzarella.

With warm, baked cherry tomatoes and well chilled mozzarella put together the contrast of temperatures delivers a great effect to the palate exposing both flavours boldly in this dish. I love how the buttery soft, mellow in flavour garlic cloves and super juicy and bursting with sweetness and acidity baked cherry toms work together. Chilled mozzarella, baked slices of lemon and fresh basil and mint cleanse the palate leaving a very pleasant satisfying, fresh feeling afterwards.
This simple salad could be the hit as a simple, elegant starter at a dinner party or a lovely light lunch. It could be served with a garlic confit oil brushed crostini. To create a nice contrast and interesting fresh feel to this salad make sure the mozzarella is very well chilled and don’t forget the mint leaves as I did in the photos!

Why This Recipe Works

Tomato Basil Salad is quick and easy enough to prepare last minute. Only a few ingredients are needed to create this delicious dish.

This flavorful salad uses fresh and healthy ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, basil, and shallot. A simple oil and vinegar dressing is made to toss with the tomatoes or drizzle on top.

As written, this side dish is naturally gluten free, low carb, vegetarian, and vegan.

Try adding mozzarella or burrata for an Italian caprese-style salad, or try feta, cucumber, and oregano for more of a Greek flare – this is a super versatile dish!

How to Serve

Caprese salad can be served with many things, but it complements grilled meats really well! Here are some recipes you can serve caprese salad with:

  • Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
  • Herb Butter Steak
  • The Best Baby Back Ribs
  • Grilled Ribeye Steak

Italian night? Here are some Italian recipes that chopped caprese salad would go well with:

What could I serve with this Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad?

This Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad works really well as an accompaniment to any of the following dishes:

Bolognese Risotto


Chicken Milanese with Spaghetti Pomodoro

Herb Crusted Cod

How to Make Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

Five minutes is all the time you need to make a great Caprese salad using cherry tomatoes. If you leave them whole (and I suggest you do), you won’t even need a knife.

PSA: Drain the bocconcini well so the salad doesn’t become watery. Next, place the cherry tomatoes and bocconcini in a small bowl. Tear the basil and scatter it all over the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Finally, drizzle both the EVOO and balsamic reduction over the salad. Season with salt (and pepper if you like) then toss to combine. Serve immediately.


  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces, pile them on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the oil. Sprinkle with salt, toss, spread in a single layer, and bake, turning occasionally, until the bread cubes are golden and crunchy, 8 to 12 min. Set aside to cool.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves and lemon zest and blanch for 5 seconds. Drain. Transfer the basil and zest to a blender and pulse a few times to chop the leaves. With the blender running, slowly add the remaining 1/3 cup oil through the lid’s fill hole and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to purée until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and bread cubes. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for 20 min. Sprinkle with the chile flakes season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Salad

A recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Salad! Halved cherry tomatoes are tossed in a light olive oil balsamic dressing with fresh mozzarella and basil for a delicious summertime salad.

Inspired by the Italian Insalata Caprese, this Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Salad features some of the best of summer with halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil lightly coated in a balsamic vinaigrette. It is definitely one of my favorite summer salads and comes together in less than 15 minutes!

During the height of tomato season, I like to use a mixture of cherry and/or grape tomatoes in a variety of colors. I paired the halved cherry tomatoes with Ciliegine or Bocconcini Mozzarella, smaller fresh mozzarella balls. Since they are already the perfect size, it makes prep even easier! If you don’t have them available, simply cut a larger ball of mozzarella into about 1/2 inch cubes.

I kept the dressing simple with a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar (use white balsamic if you want to keep the mozzarella lighter), dried oregano, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Adjust the seasonings as needed to taste. If the tomatoes aren’t very sweet, you may want to add a pinch of granulated sugar.

I left the basil leaves whole, but feel free to thinly slice or chop them, especially if they are larger. Love balsamic vinegar like I do? Top the salad with a drizzle of balsamic reduction immediately before serving for even more flavor. I usually have a bottle of store-bought in the pantry, but I Heart Naptime has a recipe to make it at home.

This Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Salad is best served immediately after preparing. The tomatoes will lose their texture and flavor when refrigerated.

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cut into squares or balls (I think you can actually buy Mozzarella in little ball shapes)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • A splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toothpicks

Mix up 2 Tbsp.. Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp.. of chopped Fresh Parsley, Splash (about 2 tbsp..) Balsamic Vinaigrette, Salt and Pepper with the mozzarella and let it marinate at least one hour or overnight. My daughter only marinated for about an hour and it was deelish.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half

Onto Skewer put 1/2 Cherry Tomato then Mozzarella then a small amount of Fresh Basil then the other half of Tomato

That’s it! They were deelish!

I think you could skip the toothpicks and just throw the ingredients in with some fresh greens and have a wonderful Salad too!

We like this with some homemade bread on the side for lunch, and if I want to bulk it up, it’s perfect with some grilled chicken (marinate your chicken in balsamic marinade or lemon garlic marinade first – so good!) or with grilled steak (here is my steak marinade).

The salad is also wonderful over just-cooked pasta for a simple, warm pasta salad.

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