This caprese salad with arugula has cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction. It's a perfect summer salad you're going to love!
Why You'll Love This Dish
Rich, creamy mozzarella balls are balanced with peppery arugula, bright and acidic balsamic vinegar reduction, sweet, juicy tomatoes, and fragrant fresh basil.
It's a delicious twist on a traditional caprese salad. Spicy arugula adds a new flavor to the mix and makes this salad more substantial.
This caprese arugula salad is easy and quick to make. This salad recipe makes a fantastic side dish or appetizer for grilled meats, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
This 15-minute Italian salad has some healthy benefits you'll love, too. Check out this article on the benefits of arugula!
What You'll Need
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- Fresh Arugula I like using baby arugula here.
- Cherry Tomatoes You can also use grape tomatoes. If you can use farmer's market or homegrown summer tomatoes, even better!
- Mozzarella Balls Smaller mozzarella balls are nice here, but you can use larger ones as well that you break up a bit.
- Fresh Basil
- Balsamic Vinegar A balsamic glaze is also available to purchase if you don't want to make it yourself.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil You could also use avocado oil if you prefer.
- Kosher Salt This is my favorite brand. You also have the option to use sea salt.
- Black Pepper A crack of fresh black pepper adds a lovely bite to the salad.
How to Make Arugula Caprese Salad
Step One: Make the balsamic reduction.
Step Two: Halve the cherry tomatoes. Place the salad greens, tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl, then add the basil leaves. Mix the salad together.
Step Three: Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.
Vinaigrette Instead of using a balsamic reduction and olive oil, you can create a simple balsamic vinaigrette or use this lemon herb vinaigrette with lemon juice in place of vinegar.
Burrata Try using burrata cut into a few pieces in place of the smaller mozzarella balls.
Prosciutto Add a bit of salty, savory flavor with prosciutto or another cured meat.
Pasta Salad Add a small pasta variety, like penne or orzo, to turn this recipe into a pasta salad. You can also try this with a bit of red onion.
How to Store Arugula Salad
It's best to make and serve this salad right away. If you have ingredients left over, I recommend storing the dressing and salad ingredients separately.
Check out this article from Masterclass about storing fresh basil and this article on storing arugula.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
A classic caprese salad is made with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. It is often dressed with olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.
While there are many measures by which to determine whether something is healthy or good for you, there are health benefits associated with the ingredients in this arugula caprese salad recipe.
Olive oil contains heart-healthy fats, basil offers antioxidants and vitamins, and tomatoes have folate, vitamin C, and potassium, plus lycopene, which encourages heart and eye health.
Here's a great article on the health benefits of tomatoes!
I don't recommend making caprese salad any more than 24 hours in advance. The tomatoes, particularly after being cut, will let off moisture than will impact the texture of the salad.
I recommend preparing all of the ingredients in advance and combining just before serving.
If you're not a fan of balsamic vinegar, this salad would be great with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing.
How to Serve
This arugula mozzarella salad is great as an appetizer or a side. It's also great as a light main dish served with other salads. Try it with:
These easy, crispy Italian Chicken Cutlets. They're a quick and satisfying weeknight meal. Or try these Cast Iron Chicken thighs. So simple and so good.
These Turkey Smash Burgers are a reader favorite. They're juicy, flavorful, and so satisfying.
How about a sandwich? This Italian Grinder Sandwich and this Turkey Avocado Sandwich are both amazing.
And you can't forget pasta. This Slow Cooker Lamb Ragu is rich and flavorful, while this Tuna Pesto Pasta and this Hearty Marinara Sauce are perfect for weeknights. Want something creamy? Try this Steak Pasta.
Or how about pizza? This easy flatbread pizza would be a wonderful pairing!
- To select fresh tomatoes, choose ones that are fragrant near where the stem was attached. You'll want tomatoes that feel heavy and don't have blemishes and dark spots.
- If you've been waiting for a time to use your best quality olive oil, this is it! With so few ingredients and delicious fresh produce, a good quality olive oil will shine here.
- To avoid smashing the delicate tomatoes when slicing, use a sharp knife!
Other Recipes You'll Love
In the mood for more salads? Try these!
Beet and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Dill
Caprese Salad with Arugula
- Medium Saucepan
- 4 cups baby arugula packed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 8 ounces mozarella balls small
- 20 to 30 basil leaves about 1 bunch, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or to taste, for drizzling
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring up to boil and then bring the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 12 to 20 minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Arrange the arugula on a plate or in a bowl with the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and fresh basil.
- Drizzle with olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of the balsamic reduction, or to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
- Choose tomatoes that are fragrant near where the stem was attached. You'll want tomatoes that feel heavy and don't have blemishes and dark spots.
- Use a good quality olive oil for the best-tasting salad.
- Use a sharp knife when cutting the tomatoes to avoid smashing them.
- It's best to make and serve this salad right away. If you have ingredients left over, I recommend storing the dressing and salad ingredients separately.
- I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
The balsamic reduction really makes takes this simple salad to another level. So glad I gave this a try!
I'm so happy to hear it, Lisa!
Loved this salad. I also added some orzo and turned it to a pasta salad. Perfect for a quick lunch.
That's a great idea! I'll have to try it with orzo.
I have a giant tub of arugula in the fridge so this was a great way to use some of it! So delicious!
That's how this salad was born! Those giant tubs are always so much more than you think, haha. Thanks Liz!
Absolutely love arugula, it's my favorite bitter green by far. Adding it to a caprese salad is a great idea and the balsamic reduction is the perfect way to balance out the greens with a little tart sweetness.
Thank you, Gina! I'm really glad you liked it.
Bella B says
I made this as a side with your cutlet recipe and the whole meal was a big hit with everyone. So delish!
Thank you so much, Bella!
A good, light caprese salad is always wonderful in a meal! I had this with baked salmon and wanted more!
Ooh, I bet baked salmon was great with this! Thanks, Ksenia.
Simple and flavorful salads like this one are my favorite. I totally enjoyed it for my lunch.
Wonderful! Thank you, Sanvi.
This was the best Caprese salad we've ever had! The peppery arugula was such a nice touch. Can't wait to make again!
That's such a compliment! Thank you, Kris!
This was such a gorgeous salad! And I loved the sweet/tart balsamic reduction against the peppery arugula. This is a delicious variation of the traditional and I actually prefer it. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!
Oh yay! So glad to hear it, Glenda. Thank you.
There's so much sweetness in the dressing - it's perfect with the tomatoes and peppery greens!
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.