This Off-Season Caprese Salad is a marvelous option when there are no fresh, ripe and meaty tomatoes to be had!

A twist on the classic Italian salad where beautiful sliced tomatoes are paired with fresh mozzarella, and basil, this version utilizes sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh.

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 of 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.

Katie and I at a restaurant at the city center of Sienna, Italy 

Off Season Caprese Salad on a white plate

Off Season Caprese Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 6 small salads

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


  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella, 7 ounces
  • 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 317mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g


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