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Off Season Caprese Salad | A marvelous combination of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and basil

Off Season Caprese Salad

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This Off Season Caprese Salad is a marvelous option when there are no fresh, ripe and meaty tomatoes to be had!Off Season Caprese Salad | A marvelous combination of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and basil

The Woes of Winter Tomatoes

On days like today when the snow is falling and the daffodils should be blossoming (yes, I wrote this post in March!), I long for summer.  Early summer when  sweet, succulent berries are plentiful at the farmers’ market, and late summer when juicy garden tomatoes are ripe for the picking. Most of the tomatoes I spot at the market are anemic and just plain pitiful. But when dining out with friends for lunch recently in the village of Broad Ripple, just minutes from my home, I found a vestige of summer in their tomato mozzarella salad.Off Season Caprese Salad | A marvelous combination of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and basil

Off Season Caprese Salad

Instead of serving sub par tomato slices, tender sun-dried tomatoes stood in their steed. Fresh mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar plus a sprinkling of fresh basil finished this refreshing Off Season Caprese Salad.

Off Season Caprese Salad | A marvelous combination of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and basil

Memories of Italy

I knew it would be a cinch to reproduce this at home. Fresh buffalo mozzarella was on sale, so I purchased the best of the best. Much as I wanted to serve whole sun-dried tomato halves like at the restaurant, those I had in my fridge weren’t nearly tender enough to be eaten whole. I julienned the tomatoes and piled a mound on each slice of cheese, then finished off each plate with drizzles and sprinkles of the typical ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, well aged, syrupy balsamic vinegar and a chiffonade of basil. This is pretty much a no-brainer recipe.

I had two freshly baked Rustic Potato Loaves  in my kitchen, so a couple slices along with this salad completed my dinner. I was swooning inside as I sopped up the flavorsome juices with the rustic bread. Then I closed my eyes and was transported back to Sienna where Katie and I enjoyed our Caprese salads on the Piazza del Campo. Heavenly.



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Off Season Caprese Salad

A twist on the classic Caprese salad using sun-dried tomatoes

  • Author: Liz
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 small salads 1x
  • Category: Salad, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 7-ounce ball fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 9 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped or cut into chiffonade (roll leaf cigar style, then cut into thin slices)
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar (mine is aged 18 years)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice mozzarella into 6 slices and place on platter or individual plates. Top each slice with approximately 1/6 of the sundried tomato strips, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, sea salt and basil.


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47 comments on “Off Season Caprese Salad”

  1. Ugh, I’ve never had a chance to try fresh mozzarella. One day maybe.

  2. Piazza del Campo?! So jealous. But this salad – yes! I could definitely get on board with this!

  3. Fresh mozzarella is one those understated yet true culinary wonder, so good on it’s own!

  4. Sounds delicious! I’m sooooo ready for good tomatoes, actually right now I’d settle for some warm weather:@)

  5. Ah yum.. this sounds great! 🙂 i love fresh mozarella

  6. Lovely, Liz. Looks like you are one resourceful lady who can pull off gourmet whatever the season…P.s. Trust the daffodils are delighting you now =)

  7. Beautiful Siena…and what a beautiful salad to bring on spring. We have been finding some very tasty tomatoes here in Florida. I really like the idea of the sun-dried tomatoes which I do not eat often enough.

  8. I love sun-dried tomatoes AND fresh mozzarella!!! Looks pretty and sounds even better, can’t wait to try!

  9. When I read the first sentence I thought you were having snow now and I almost cried for you. But then I saw that you wrote this in March. This is a wonderful way to enjoy capris when fabulous tomatoes aren’t available. I could definitely make this my dinner! Love the photo of you and Katie, looks like you’re having such a delightful time!

  10. I also read the first sentence and scrolled back up to the top to see what day you had written the post. Even more confused, I continued on and saw that you wrote in March. Phew! Of course, considering that we had a frost warning yesterday morning, it wasn’t all that unreasonable a thought process. Luckily, today will be in the upper 80’s. Wonderful NC weather.

    Anyhow, your salad looks and sounds fantastic. Capris always takes me back to Italy too. All I have to do is close my eyes while I eat each tender bite. I love the sun dried tomatoes twist.

  11. This could be a bad thing in my house…because I would eat it all!

  12. I´m mad about sun dried tomatoes, especially for a pesto, and this is the easiest recipe for a caprese Liz! And if it´s filled with memories so much sweeter.

  13. Mmm..we don’t eat mozzarella like this, they are too expensive! Would love to taste this heavenly looking dish some day:D

  14. Lizzy , that is one appetizing and gorgeous salad ! Just the thought of FRESH mozzarella makes my mouth water *sigh* 😀

  15. Se ve muy tentador muy sabroso hermosa ensalada,abrazos y abrazos.

  16. We just love recreating dishes from our travels!!! Looks delicious!

  17. Liz, what a delicious presentation of a fabulous dish and such a beautiful photograph of your daughter and yourself! Buffalo mozzarella and sundried tomatoes are absolutely wonderful ingredients that I really enjoy using and eating!

  18. Looks beautiful and sounds delicious, Lizzy! Can’t believe how much your daughter looks like a younger version of you!! She is lovely!

  19. Excellent way to replace tasteless tomatoes! It’s funny I have completely forgotten I once went to Siena too… it was such a long time ago… Thank you for reminding me.

  20. Caprese Salad, a chiffonade of basil, and Piazza del Campo – all sounds perfectly dreamy!

  21. LOL! When I started reading the post I was wondering – it’ll be in the 90s today in St. Louis, and your weather isn’t that different from ours! But then it all became clear. 😉 I love fresh mozzarella! In fact it’s on my list of things to make, although I doubt if I’ll be able to find buffalo milk. Good stuff – thanks.

  22. Caprese is never off-season to me! It’s my favorite dish ever, so I’m always scouring stores for fresh basil and tomatoes! Lovely recipe, Liz. This looks so delish!

  23. What a fabulous idea to use sun-dried tomatoes during the off-season! I love it! Of course, I’ve been known to just drizzle fresh mozzarella with an infused olive oil and have at it. 🙂 Beautifully simple little salad!

  24. As far as I’m concerned, Caprese Salad is ALWAYS in season.

    Love the photo! CUTE))) X

  25. I love Caprese salad and you both look beautiful!

  26. I love the picture of you and your daughter, so sweet. I have been to Piazza del Campo on a visit to Italy last year and it was one of my my favourite places to watch the people grabs some great food, or a limeacelllo or cappuccino. You are so right I really dislike using those hothouse nasty mealy tasting tomatoes when they are out of season. I can’t wait for august! Love your adaptations using the sun-dried tomatoes.

  27. I still haven’t been to Siena – it’s on my travel list! Caprese salad is one of my favorites, I love your off season creation!

  28. Who wouldn’t love this? Simple and super-flavorful!
    Remember years ago when sun-dried tomatoes were in everything. Then they kinda disappeared from the scene. Too bad, they are such a great ingredient.
    You and Katie are adorable.
    P.S. That potato bread looks equally fabulous!

  29. I love fresh mozzarella cheese and in this salad it would be so delicious! Although the weather is really cooling down here now 🙁

  30. I’m glad you said you wrote this in March because I was very concerned you’d had more snow! I love the photo of you and your daughter at that piazza – what a stunning part of the world. And the caprese salad is so refreshing and tasty xx

  31. oh i so wish I could try fresh mozzarella. You and your daughter are beautiful!

  32. I love everything about this salad!!! And great shot of you gals 😉

  33. Hey, with this weather, it would not have surprised me that it was snowing on May 15 somewhere in North America! 🙂

  34. Hi Lizzy! You’ll never go wrong with caprese! Nice Mother-daughter pic! Love it!

  35. You look like sisters! How fun! And this recipe is always a winner!

  36. Beautiful photo of you and Katie. The caprese salad with sundried tomatoes looks yummilicious!

  37. I love thos salad my friend it looks so refreshing 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  38. This just shouts Summer is coming!! And I am ready.

  39. Liz yoir salad looks divine! I love this salad, it’s just a few ingredients but I must admit that I really, really love sun dried tomatoes (we just went through a whole jar and always do during winter) so I think I’d love your version! 😀

  40. Simply delicious caprese salad, I love using that sun dried tomato in oil on this, YUM 🙂

  41. Simple and delicious, will be trying this weekend.

  42. I would love to have this, right about now.

  43. I don’t know how I could have possibly missed this post, OMG it’s my absolute favourite salad. It’s also my biggest complaint in a restaurant because it’s disgusting that they would have it on the menu out of season; that is until I had one at one of my favourite little Italian places in Toronto called Bar Mercurio, they oven dry their tomatoes and it concentrates the flavours and sugars beautifully. I never thought of sun dried tomatoes but it totally makes sense. Bar Mercurio puts a little basil pesto with their version and the combo in to die for!
    Thanks for this creative version of this dreamy salad Liz, I’m totally craving it now.

  44. What a great way get the flavors of summer anytime. 🙂 Looks like a beautiful dish. 🙂

  45. Ugh every time I come to your blog I always get so homesick for Italy (when I studied abroad 🙂 Such a great idea to sub in the sun dried tomatoes, I’m so excited for tomato season to come again and the farmer’s markets to get going!

  46. So nice to to have a Caprese salad to enjoy year around! The mozzarella cheese mellows the tart sun-dried tomatoes…what a wonderful combination! Great photos and a great one of you and Katie!

  47. Lizzy,
    I love caprese salad and fresh mozzarella of any kind. Yours looks delicious.

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