Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto

3 Reviews / 4.7 Average
This variation of the Caprese Salad (pronounced ka-PRAY-ze) is especially fabulous with locally grown in-season tomatoes. This recipe is super simple to throw together as a light lunch, snack, or appetizer. With just tomatoes, cheese, basil, and pesto, you have yourself a yummy meal.
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Caprese Salad

This particular recipe is my favorite “salad” of all time. Maybe this is because it doesn’t contain any lettuce and I am not too much of a lettuce person. I ate the one pictured last night, and felt like I could have licked my plate at the end. Now that is a good salad. And if you love it as much as I do you can get creative with different ways to serve it. Check out the panini I made (pictured below), which is just the salad ingredients melted inside two pieces of whole-wheat bread and served with balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Caprese Sandwich Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
Caprese Salad turned into a panini sandwich

Click here for the basil pesto recipe.

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38 thoughts on “Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto”

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Recipe Rating

  1. Love the basil pesto salad. The recipe on this page is wrong, however. It should say 4 T of olive oil. Thanks for the yummy recipes!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Anya. We don’t have a recipe specific to the panini but Lisa explained it as such: “Check out the panini I made (pictured below), which is just the salad ingredients melted inside two pieces of whole-wheat bread and served with balsamic vinegar for dipping.” Hope that helps. ~Amy

  2. 5 stars
    I love the caprese salad…I have to suggest trying the Balsamic Glaze at Trader Joes for this. it’s stays on top without running all onto the plate. it’s also fab on Brucchetta and strawberries also..bad spelling I know

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Valerie. The recipe just calls for a dollop or 2. So, maybe 2-3 tablespoons depending on how much you like. Jill

    1. It’s supposed to be a little on the runny side when you first make it because of the oil. Once you refridgerate it, it will thicken up because the oil gets thick as it cools.

  3. Wow! So yummy! This whole concept was a new one for me, bought basil and pine nuts for the first time ever to make my very own batch of pesto and whipped all the ingredients together on a yummy whole wheat pita and grilled to perfection. Definitely having this again tomorrow for lunch. Who new that caprese (something I’d never heard of) could be sooooo good?!

  4. I made these sandwiches for dinner tonight and they were awesome! I didn’t have any fresh basil, so I spread the pesto on the bread before I grilled it and it was awesome. Next time I’ll use even more :) Thank you for sharing!

  5. Can you eat pumpkin seeds? I have read where people substituted pine nuts with other nuts or seeds. I have seen other people comment that they have made pesto without any nuts at all.

    1. love the pumpkins seed idea — pine nuts are so expensive — i’ve also used almonds or walunts — whatever i have on hand — of course, that won’t help someone with nut allergies….

  6. Ok. So, I’m taking a risk at asking a question when this post is like 2 years old… But, I’ll ask it anyway with some hope!
    Sooo, LOVE this idea of this recipe and the sandwich version! Want to try both… But then I saw the pesto portion. This happens often. I see a recipe that looks soooooo good and a great healthy choice for my family, but then must pass on it for some reason. We have nut and fish allergy in our home (enough for epi pens). so, every time I see pesto in a recipe I cringe and move on. That cuts out many options and many recipes. Any ideas? Like, does the pesto taste as good if I just omit the nuts? Would the salad or sandwich taste as good if I omitted the pesto all together? Is there a substitute for the pine nuts?

    1. For the sandwich or the salad, I would just use the basil leaves or omit it all together. I don’t know about a nut substitution in the pesto, but I have seen other nuts than pine nuts used in pesto recipes.

    2. I make pesto all the time and never use pine nuts or any nuts. It doesn’t matter, it still taste good. I have never really tasted a difference.

    3. I know I’ve made basil pesto without pine nuts before; not this exact recipe, but something similar. You may have to try adding a little more Parmesan to keep the right consistency, but it’s worth a try.

    4. I know it’s late but I saw on another blog once where someone used sunflower seeds in place of the pine nuts. She said it still tasted nutty but without the nut allergy.

  7. I had never had either a Caprese Salad nor a pesto, so these were both new. I grilled them like a grilled cheese or panini. Score! We’re going to do the Caprese Pasta Salad this week.

    1. I freeze a lot of my pestos but find that they don’t last nearly as long when you pull them out. So I would use them up quickly or freeze them in smaller batches so it doesn’t go bad before you can eat it all.

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      Yes, it can be frozen. I think it would be okay for a few months (if it even lasts that long…I use mine up pretty quickly!) Also, I freeze mine in ice cube trays, but remember since it contains oil it will still retain some liquid.

  8. did you include the pesto in the mix of things for the sandwich or just the other stuff? New at all of this. THanks.

  9. Yeah! I absolutely love caprese salad made only with fresh mozzarella. I have made it on brushetta, but had not considered a panini before. Now I know what is for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for the site. I just found it and already it is bookmarked.

  10. I’ve turned all my salads the past few weeks into capreses – love it! I use spinach as a base, slice up a bunch or cherry tomatoes (orange red and yellow are growing like crazy from the garden!)and sliced basil leaves and chucks of mozz – also excellent with goat cheese crumbles. Haven’t tried a pesto yet but now I know what to do with all the basil from the garden! Thanx!

  11. Caprese Salad is one of my favorite things to eat too! Just last week our family went to Hershey Park and when I was looking for a vegetarian dinner for myself, I found a panini stand serving caprese panini. It was so delicious!! I’m so excited to try your recipe – I’m sure it will be even more tasty, especially with homegrown tomatoes!!