Fresh and delicious, this spinach Caprese salad recipe is easy to make! It’s vibrant in both color and flavor and full of fresh ingredients.
This simple summer salad is based on a traditional Caprese salad. It’s bulked out with fresh spinach to add some more nutrients and stretch the salad further. A little balsamic glaze and lemon zest is the perfect complement to the spinach.
Traditional caprese salad
Caprese salad, also known as Insalata Caprese, is a traditional Italian salad, that originates from the Island of Capri. It consists of fresh mozzarella, red tomatoes, and fragrant basil. When arranged on a plate, the colors resemble the Italian flag.
Dres the salad with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Because it’s such a simple salad, using fresh, in-season, and good quality ingredients is key.
Spinach in Caprese salad
The addition of baby spinach leaves in this easy Caprese salad bulks the salad out quite a lot. It also gives the salad the added nutrients of spinach and makes a greener version of the classic Caprese.
Often, a Caprese salad is arranged in layers, alternating between slices of tomato and a slice of fresh mozzarella.
This spinach Caprese salad is arranged in a much more rustic bowl-of-salad style. It’s an easy fresh salad to whip up to take to your next cookout or dinner party and makes a great side dish.
The salad has balsamic reduction and fresh lemon zest added to it to bring acidity to lift the fresh spinach. Balsamic vinegar isn’t traditional in a Caprese salad, but in this case, it enhances the flavors a lot.
What is balsamic reduction?
A balsamic reduction (otherwise known as a balsamic glaze) is simply balsamic vinegar that has been reduced down into a glaze. This concentrates the flavors, brings out the natural sweetness, and slightly thickens the vinegar.
You can buy store-bought balsamic reduction, or make your own. See how to make the balsamic reduction.
If you don’t have balsamic reduction and you don’t want to make your own, you can use balsamic vinegar instead. This brings a sharper taste and tangy flavor to the salad. Use it in this pear and rocket salad!
Find the full ingredient amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is what you will need –
- Fresh baby spinach
- Ripe tomatoes – slices of tomatoes, or use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes and halve them
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Lemon zest
- Balsamic reduction
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
The mozzarella cheese
Fresh, creamy mozzarella comes in many forms. You can use cow’s milk mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella. A ball of fresh mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk is much creamier and softer than cow’s milk.
This can be torn into pieces. Slice firmer cow’s mozzarella rather than tearing it. Mozzarella pearls (bocconcini) can be used too, or burrata.
Wash and pat dry the spinach. Add it to a large bowl.
Slice the tomatoes into thin slices or into cubes. Arrange them over top of the spinach. Rip the basil leaves into rustic pieces and sprinkle them over the salad.
Tear the fresh mozzarella into pieces or slice it. Add these to the bowl.
Zest a lemon and sprinkle this over the salad along with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Drizzle over the balsamic glaze and extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately once the salad has been dressed.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 day. The vegetables in the salad will release a lot of liquid if they sit in the dressing too long. It’s best served as soon as you have prepared it.
More simple salads
- 140g (5oz) fresh baby spinach
- 250g (9oz) ripe tomatoes (large tomatoes or cherry tomatoes)
- 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves
- 200g (7oz) fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2-3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic reduction*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and pat dry the spinach. Add it to a large bowl.
- Slice the tomatoes into thin slices or into cubes. If using cherry or plum tomatoes, cut these in half. Arrange the tomatoes over top of the spinach. Rip the basil leaves into rustic pieces and sprinkle them over the salad.
- Tear the fresh mozzarella into pieces or slice it. Add these to the bowl.
- Sprinkle the lemon zest over the salad.
- Drizzle over the balsamic glaze and extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve immediately once the salad has been dressed.
*Balsamic reduction is concentrated balsamic vinegar, simmered down into a sweeter, reduced sauce. If you want to sub it with balsamic vinegar, you will only need a teaspoon or two.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g