Potluck Panic? Easy And Delicious Caprese Salad Recipe

Easy And Delicious Caprese Salad Recipe

By Pamela Chan, Contributor

Do you ever feel a sense of panic when someone invites you to bring a dish for a potluck dinner or picnic?  Do feel like you lack a signature dish or you simply lack the time and energy required to make something fabulous?

When you’re busy looking after your family and attending to work, cooking can sometimes feel like a source of stress.  Complicating matters is your awareness that your host is putting a lot of effort into hosting an event.  What’s the solution?

Whenever I feel like I want to bring a salad, I inevitably add way to many ingredients and end up with a Tried Too Hard result.  A better alternative, I’ve found, is make a version of a caprese salad.

During my second visit to Italy – which was more like my first – I started off my trip staying with a former colleague and friend who was living in Milan.  After we arrived in her lovely, spacious flat, we went to the kitchen and she took a caprese salad out of the fridge. “I eat this almost every day.  It’s a popular salad here and is so easy to make”, she said.  She wasn’t kidding.  The home-style recipe she used consisted of hacking up a tomato, adding some pieces of buffalo mozzarella cheese (plentiful and affordable there); drizzling on some olive oil; adding a dash of salt; and, ripping up some basil for the finishing touch.  You might have seen caprese salads gussied up in restaurants but this is, effectively, how they are made.

Here’s what you can do to make your own quick, easy and delicious take on a caprese salad.

Ingredients and Method

Choose some good quality tomatoes. How many you choose depends on how large you want your salad to be.  You will have equal amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers in the salad. (The tomatoes shown in the photograph above are heirloom tomatoes that were grown at Colony Farm and gifted to us by a gardener we met there recently. She invited my children to pick some tomatoes from her vines.  Outside of gardening season, I like to use roma tomatoes.  Avoid soulless varieties such as hothouse tomatoes.)

Add in some sliced cucumbers.  Use a regular cucumber, not an English cucumber. (The cucumbers shown here were grown in our garden.)

Add in buffalo mozarella if you can afford to do so. You want to add enough cheese so that it’s plentiful in your salad and guests will have a good chance of getting a fair amount of cheese in their serving. (Buffalo mozarella is pretty pricey here in British Columbia.  A good alternative is bocconcini cheese.  President’s Choice makes an affordable product that keeps well in its plastic container.  Bocconcini is a bit firmer than buffalo mozarella.  If you’re really keen you can actually make the latter.  But that would go against our easy and time saving plan here, wouldn’t it?)

Drizzle the salad with good quality olive oil President’s Choice makes an almost $10 bottle of EVOO olive oil that has won international awards. (You can guess where I shop.)  It’s a good option for salads.

Add in chopped parsley.  The pieces should be neither big not small.  You don’t want your guests eating large chunks of parsley. On the other hand you don’t fine pieces being dispersed throughout the salad.  (The parsley shown here was grown in our garden.)

Add in chopped fresh basil. You can buy this at the store or grow your own. (We grew ours in our garden.) You will want to use at least 5 leaves. You can either rip them or chop them. I prefer to chop them so I can maximize how far the flavour spreads throughout the salad.

Sprinkle with salad and a little bit of fresh pepper.  The amount you use is according to taste.

Optional – add fresh dill.

Toss gently and serve.

* I mention which produce we grew in our garden as a way of saying that you can eat a whole salad (save for the cheese) based on what you grew in the garden.

This salad doesn’t take long to prep and is a hit with diners.  If you’re worried about time constraints or preparing a dish that will go over well, jump on the chance to bring a salad.  It’s easy to prepare and transport, and won’t leave you worried that it might not turn out right.

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Pamela Chan lives in the Tri Cities area near Vancouver with her husband and four year old twins. They enjoy exploring cultural events and scenic local parks. On BCfamily.ca she writes about ideas that strengthen our communities and celebrate multiculturalism in British Columbia.
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23 responses to “Potluck Panic? Easy And Delicious Caprese Salad Recipe”

  1. kathy downey — January 19, 2015 @ 5:59 am (#
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    I am going to make this for dinner some night real soon,looks delicious

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  2. Kristina — January 19, 2015 @ 8:21 am (#
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    YUM! So ready for summer. Miss my garden.

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  3. Jenn Erin — January 19, 2015 @ 11:35 am (#
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    Yum! caprese salad is one of my favourites! I think it is a great idea for a pot luck dish – I know I would be eating a lot of it if it was at the pot luck! 😉

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  4. Jenny — January 19, 2015 @ 3:55 pm (#
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    What a great idea! Healthy and delicious! You can’t go wrong with this dish. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. kathy downey — January 20, 2015 @ 5:28 am (#
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    I have never had Caprese salad,but this looks amazingly delicious

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  6. ellen beck — January 22, 2015 @ 1:35 am (#
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    Sounds deicious and so much of it is dependant on the tomatoes- this would be the very best when tomatoes are in season and the garden is producing. I personally have vever heard of buffalo mozarella… but I dont know if its just a brand name or you mean actual buffalo derived cheese which would be pricey as buffalos dont take kindly to milking. 🙂

    Reply

  7. Melinda — January 23, 2015 @ 7:51 am (#
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    Sounds simple and yummy. Will have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  8. Vesper Meikle — February 2, 2015 @ 5:41 am (#
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    love every ingredient in this dish – just have to wait until summer now

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  9. Elva Roberts — February 13, 2015 @ 6:00 pm (#
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    I find myself talking to myself when I have to take something to a potluck. I love potlucks but dither about what to bring and how much. Your Caprese salad seems to be a wonderful solution. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Reply

  10. Theresa Hover — February 18, 2015 @ 9:42 am (#
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    Caprese salad is so refreshing on a hot summer day. I’m hoping my garden this year will grow everything I need to make it! (except the cheese, I’m still working on that 🙂

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  11. Victoria Ess — March 6, 2015 @ 12:16 pm (#
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    This looks like a delicious, unique salad!

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  12. kathy downey — March 23, 2015 @ 7:23 am (#
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    I cant wait for the first B_B_Q of the season to try this salad

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  13. loucheryl — April 7, 2015 @ 4:40 pm (#
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    I would love to bring this to a family BBQ!

    Reply

  14. Laurie P — May 5, 2015 @ 7:42 am (#
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    A version of this was a staple while growing up! Nonna made the best 🙂

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  15. kathy downey — May 23, 2015 @ 8:54 am (#
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    This looks so tasty!

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  16. Wanda Tracey — May 29, 2015 @ 9:49 pm (#
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    This caprese salad looks awesome.I love salads like this in the summer and will enjoy this one very much 🙂

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  17. kathy downey — July 5, 2015 @ 10:40 am (#
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    Healthy and delicious,wish I had this right now

    Reply

  18. Alexa Nernberg — July 23, 2015 @ 9:16 am (#
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    Sounds yummy and looks refreshing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  19. Anne Taylor — July 28, 2015 @ 12:03 pm (#
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    Yum! This salad sounds light and refreshing and it has amazing colour!

    Reply

  20. Wanda Tracey — October 1, 2015 @ 9:17 pm (#
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    I love salads all year round and make one nearly every day.This caprese salad is one I think we will enjoy very much.Thank you for posting it!

    Reply

  21. kathy downey — November 2, 2015 @ 9:47 am (#
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    Finally got to try this last evening at dinner,it was very good

    Reply

  22. Elizabeth Matthiesen — February 28, 2016 @ 4:39 pm (#
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    I’ve not heard of a Caprese salad before but it sounds very similar to a Greek salad which I eat often, I do use Feta though and add a splash of maple syrup to the dressing. Delicious 🙂

    Reply

  23. G K — November 6, 2016 @ 4:51 pm (#
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    I love balsamic vinegar on mine.

    Reply

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