Caprese Salad on a Stick is a 5 ingredient make ahead low carb portable appetizer with garden fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and aged balsamic vinegar. The World’s EASIEST Appetizer!
What is Caprese Salad on a Stick?
These little Caprese skewers are the mini super fun version of the traditional Italian Caprese salad. The fresh mozzarella balls are creamy and light. While the vine-ripened cherry tomatoes give this salad on a stick, a pop of sweetness. The aromatic anise flavored basil, sweet and tart aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and dash of salt and freshly ground pepper make this one delicious bite. If you love fun food on a stick, be sure to try our Turmeric Pork Skewers and Thai Basil Dipping Sauce.
Why you are going to love this salad
The fresh ingredients are threaded on to a bamboo skewer or large toothpick and served as a portable snack. It’s a great way to get both kids and adults to eat a nutritious salad that they generally would not eat if served on a big plate. Caprese Salad on a Stick for a low fuss portable appetizer, snack or on the go salad made with quality Italian ingredients.
If you can grab a stick and hold on to a beverage at the same time, you have got the recipe for perfect entertaining and/or getting kids to eat something healthy.
5 Ingredients + 5 Minutes = Italian Caprese Salad
This quick and easy Italian tomato and cheese Salad is just what you need to keep you feeling full but on top of your game. It is low carb and gluten-free snack and made with only 5 ingredients. What is not to love?
Why is this salad called Caprese?
This salad, otherwise known as Insalata Caprese in Italian, originated in a small island off the coast of Capri Islands in the coast of Naples in southern Italy. If you can’t travel, at least you can travel to this beautiful place from the comfort of your own kitchen and enjoy some of Capri’s famous recipes.
5 Delicious Ingredients
- Fresh Mozzarella balls
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- salt and pepper to taste (no included in the count as we are sure you probably have this at home)
Fresh mozzarella balls
Did you know that Traditional Fresh Mozzarella cheese is made from milk of water buffalos? However, now a days, most fresh mozzarella balls are made from cow’s milk and are sold in a brine to help keep their moisture or shape. This cheese is very soft, has a milky texture and is high in water content and lower in fat.
Many times, fresh mozzarella will be sold in the shape of balls called Bocconcini. Unlike, low moisture mozzarella, fresh mozzarella balls need to be consumed within 2-3 days as they turn sour with age.
You can find fresh mozzarella balls in the small little balls or larger balls. The small balls or bocconcini are super convenient to use on the Caprese Salad on a Stick as there is no cutting involved. However, you can also use the larger fresh mozzarella balls and cut into cubes like we did. This summer be sure to try our Grilled Harvest Wraps with fresh mozzarella for a delicious bite with grilled summer vegetables in the garden.
When the gardens are bursting with produce, it is the best time to make this Caprese appetizer. There is nothing like the taste a fresh garden picked cherry tomato from the garden still warm, kissed with the afternoon sunlight. We chose both an heirloom yellow cherry tomato and red cherry tomatoes for our salad appetizer. If you have fresh tomatoes growing in the garden, be sure to try our How to Make Bruschetta Bread for a delicious fresh summer appetizer.
Fresh Italian basil is best. That delicious fresh anise bite is a nice contrast to the tomatoes and cheese. We have a little basil plant growing out on the balcony. On the ground level we have deer that thing everything planted around the home is an invitation to the open salad bar… We know that most of you with gardens have more basil than you can shake a stick at. If so, be sure to make our Trofie al Pesto. It’s a recipe that everyone in the family loves.
Aged Balsamic Vinegar
We are talking about the good stuff! Barrel aged balsamic that is naturally sweet and woodsy from the natural aging process. Have you ever tried Fondo Montebello balsamic vinegars from Modena? Pure, delicious and luxurious. We used FM 03 Organic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI from Fondo Montebello.
The balsamico naturally thickens slightly during the aging process and it makes for one delicious Caprese Salad bites on a stick! If you like aged balsamic vinegars, be sure to try our Balsamic Roasted Fennel and Carrots, Balsamic Glazed Salmon and Roasted Root Vegetables, and our Chargrilled Halloumi Prosciutto Wrapped Nectarines and Balsamic Glaze.
You can find aged balsamic at whole food stores, specialty stores and Italian grocery stores or you can order it online. In a pinch, you can make your own balsamic reduction.
How to make a balsamic vinegar reduction?
Just heat balsamic vinegar over a low simmer until it reduces by half or becomes thick. It usually takes about 15 minutes. We find that the balsamic glaze or reduction is sweet enough on its own. However, if you have a sweet tooth you can add a touch of honey or maple syrup.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Italian cooking is based on the methodology of using a handful of good quality ingredients to make a dish extra delicious. When you have only five ingredients in a recipe, grab the best ingredients you can find. We love using a good extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar for our Italian Caprese Salads. Have you tried Mie Radici’s, Nocellara Organic EVOO? This extra virgin olive oil is smooth and fruity but with a peppery finish which makes it a delicious accompaniment to these delicious tomato and cheese salad kabobs and our Mediterranean Red Snapper Packets.
Pros and cons of serving salad on a plate vs skewers
Traditional caprese salad is a simple Italian salad usually served on a large platter. Although, this is very delicious, we find that the tomatoes and fresh Italian mozzarella get kind of soggy in a short period of time. However, if you serve caprese salad on a stick the ingredients do not get soggy as the tomatoes are not cut.
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Yes, you can assemble the skewers in the morning and drizzle on the aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil just before serving. However, they are best fresh. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days covered.
We have also found that you can assemble the skewers in the morning and store in a sealed container. Hold off drizzling the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasonings just until the guest arrive and they stay fresh longer. Once, you drizzle the olive oil and balsamic dressing, they stay fresh for about 2 hours.
We always say drink what you enjoy. However, a delicious Falanghina wine, which is very common in the Campania Region is slightly sweet and fruity features make it the perfect crisp white wine to serve with fish, pasta or a summer salad. If you prefer a red wine, the deep aged balsamico can stand up to a Pinot Noir, which has relativity low tannin levels.
The ingredients in a Caprese salad are part of a Mediterranean diet and part of a heart healthy diet. This recipe is low carb, gluten free and vegetarian. According to NIH, “In the era of evidence-based medicine, the Mediterranean diet represents the gold standard in preventive medicine, probably due to the harmonic combination of many elements with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which overwhelm any single nutrient or food item. The whole seems more important than the sum of its parts.”
More Salad Recipes
Caprese Salad on a Stick
- 24 whole cherry tomatoes red and yellow if you desire
- 6 – 8 oz fresh mozzarella ball large cut into cubes or 12 mini fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
- 12-24 whole basil leaves fresh Italian
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze or reduced balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Thread the whole red cherry tomatoes, followed by a small fresh mozzarella balls or cubes, then with another whole yellow cherry tomato and then finally a basil leaf on the skewers. Depending on the size of your skewers, you may need to add more tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil or less.
- Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar to taste. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.