This Caprese Salad with Bacon takes your traditional Italian salad with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and kicks it up a notch by adding bacon! Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and then drizzle with balsamic reduction and this is such an easy summer salad recipe!
I’m not sure if there’s a more perfect summer salad than a caprese salad.
Those fresh garden tomatoes paired with mozzarella and basil are just perfection, and I never, ever tire of it.
But last summer a restaurant near our house had a caprese appetizer on the menu that was next level with the addition of crumbled bacon. I’m pretty sure I got it about 4 times until they took it off the menu once the tomato season was over.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough that I can make it at home anytime I have a craving!
What is Caprese Salad?
A simple Italian salad, caprese salad is usually made of sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. Beyond that, you can also sprinkle it with salt and pepper or add arugula.
It’s a refreshing summer salad that can be served as an appetizer, a side or even as a main course.
Fun fact, traditional caprese salad features the colors of the Italian flag: green, white and red!
How to Make Caprese Salad with Bacon
The only downside to a caprese salad is that it really needs to be made fresh. Just not quite the same if you make it ahead of time.
To make a caprese salad, start by pan frying some bacon just until it starts getting crispy. Transfer to a paper towel and once it’s cool, crumble into large pieces.
Slice your mozzarella into about 1/4″ thick slices.
Then slice your tomatoes into fairly thick slices too.
On a plate, lay out your mozzarella and tomato slices then top with the crumbled bacon and fresh basil leaves.
I like to sprinkle sea salt and pepper over the top. Salt is a flavor enhancer, which means that whatever food you’re putting it on top of, it just enhances that flavor and makes it even stronger (this is why some people sprinkle things like watermelon with salt… it makes the flavor even bettter!).
You don’t want to sprinkle the salt too early, though, because it also draws the moisture out of the tomato and no one wants a wet caprese salad!
At this point, you could just grab a fork and start enjoying your salad. But I like to drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the whole thing. Some people drizzle straight olive oil which is also delicious, but a balsamic glaze or reduction gives it a little extra zing that I can’t resist!
Most stores sell bottles of balsamic reduction now, and honestly, they are very good! I normally keep a bottle on-hand since I use it so frequently. If you don’t think you’ll go through a whole bottle, it’s very easy to make a small amount just for this recipe.
In a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and about 2-3 tablespoons of honey depending on personal preference. Bring it to a boil over high heat and then reduce to low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. It should reduce by about half. Set it aside to cool and it will thicken up as it’s cooling.
What Tomatoes Should You use for Caprese Salad?
Heirloom tomatoes are often the best for caprese salad, but don’t let that stop you if you have other tomatoes on-hand. You can see from my pictures that I use whatever I have available (and I love the variety of colors with some tomatoes). I’ve even used cherry tomatoes if that’s all I have because it still gives me the combination of flavors that I love so much.
Other Delicious Tomato Recipes
Caprese Salad with Bacon
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Honey
- 6 slices Bacon
- 16 oz Mozzarella
- 3-4 large Tomatoes
- 1/3 cup Basil Leaves
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Pepper
- In a small saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and honey over high heat. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let thicken.
- While the balsamic reduction is simmering, add the bacon to a frying pan and cook until crispy. Remove to paper towels and then crumble into large pieces.
- Slice your mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices and arrange on plate. Spread basil leaves over tomatoes and mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add bacon crumbles and then drizzle with balsamic reduction.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
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