If you’re craving a caprese salad but are looking for something a little *different,* then this Burrata Caprese is it. Not only does it swap the traditional mozzarella for creamy burrata, but it also features a very simple basil sauce that add flavor and dimension to each bite. The perfect way to enjoy a crop of summer tomato!

Tomato and burrata caprese salad with basil oil scattered over top on a speckled white, black and blue metal platter.

What is Burrata?

A relatively young cheese in the food world, Burrata is a soft cow’s milk cheese hailing from Puglia, Italy where it was invented about 100 years ago. At first glance, it looks just like a ball of fresh mozzarella. Its exterior actually is mozzarella. The outer mozzarella shell envelops a loose creamy cheese curd mixture that’s similar to whole milk cottage cheese. 

Both are plump white orbs of Italian cheese, one more solid and elastic than the other. Burrata cheese is distinguishable by its loose texture: small, soft cheese curds and cream are packaged inside an outer shell made of mozzarella.

Burrata vs Fresh Mozzarella

Both burrata and mozzarella are soft, supple balls of fresh cheese, often backed in brine. Mozzarella is creamy white in color and has a soft, stretchy texture. The texture is the same throughout. 

Burrata is also creamy white in color with an outer shell that’s softs and stretchy like mozzarella. But the center of burrata features a mixture of small, soft cheese curds and cream. When the ball is broken into, the creamy center spills out.

Flaky sea salt, olive oil, basil, tomatoes, burrata, white balsamic vinegar and black pepper on a counter.

Ingredients Needed

  • Tomatoes: I like to use large vine-ripe tomatoes. Beefsteak or better boy tomatoes will also work.
  • Basil: you’ll need a handful of large basil leaves. If you’re using smaller leaves, add about 10 more leaves. 
  • Flaky sea salt and black pepper: I like flaky sea salt here because it adds a nice crunch to the tomatoes when sprinkled over top. You can also use kosher salt.
  • Olive oil: use a really good extra-virgin olive oil here. With just one ingredient you can add loads of flavor! 
  • Burrata: you’ll need one ball of burrata for every 2 tomatoes used. They are generally sold in packages of two, so save the second ball for something else (maybe this peach and burrata salad?). Just be sure to keep the brine it was packed in for storing! 
  • White balsamic vinegar: a dash of white balsamic vinegar really rounds out the flavors of this salad. White balsamic vinegar has a bright, slightly sweet, acidity to it that’s perfect for this salad. If you don;’t have it, you can substitute with regular balsamic vinegar. 

How to Make Burrata Caprese

  1. Drain the Tomatoes
Slices of tomato on a paper-towel-lined plate with a knife and tomato juices off to the side.

To ensure the salad doesn’t get watered down, arrange the sliced tomatoes on a few sheets of paper towels. This will soak up any excess water and keep the flavors of the salad full—not diluted. 

  1. Make the Basil “Sauce” 

Grind a hefty handful of basil leaves in a mortar and pestle. Then add a glug of olive oil and mix to create a thick basil “sauce:. You can also use a food processor or blender, though I recommend using a mini-sized one and doubling the ingredients (otherwise it won’t blend correctly). 

  1. Assemble

Arrange tomato slices in an even layer on a large plate or platter. Spoon the basil sauce over top then carefully tear burrata into chunks and arrange evenly over tomatoes (it will be messy!). Finish with a bit of white balsamic vinegar and some additional basil leaves, flaky sea salt and black pepper. 

Tomato and burrata caprese salad with basil oil scattered over top on a speckled white, black and blue metal platter.

Lauren’s Tips

  • Tearing burrata is messy business. BUT I think it’s much more ideal than the alternative of serving an entire ball of burrata and expecting people around the table to cut into it themselves. This way everyone is guaranteed to get some cheese and no cheese is left behind. 
  • I like to use a mortar and pestle here for making a thick basil “sauce.” If you don’t have one but consider yourself an avid cook, I’d encourage you to invest in one, I like this one. They are incredibly helpful for quickly grinding spices—no spice grinder needed—and making herby sauces like this or a quick chimichurri.

Variations 

Instead of making a basil “sauce,” use homemade pesto. Or just scatter basil leaves over top.

If you are having trouble finding burrata, use fresh mozzarella—either tear it into bite-sized pieces or cut it into slices. 

Swap the white balsamic vinegar out for balsamic glaze for a sweeter finish.

Tomato and burrata caprese salad with basil oil scattered over top on a speckled white, black and blue metal platter.

How to Serve it

A burrata caprese salad pairs wonderfully with any grilled chicken. Pair it with my Chicken Souvlaki or Chimichurri Chicken.

Or pair it with burgers—try my Smash Burgers or Mediterranean Turkey Burgers are both great options.

I also love this salad with any kind of steak. For a quick dinner, make a skirt steak. Or if you have more time, reverse sear a steak.

Storing Leftovers 

I recommend enjoying this salad right after being made. It doesn’t do well made ahead or stored. However, if you’ve got some leftovers, you can refrigerate them in an airtight container. Keep in mind, refrigerated tomatoes before mealy—so the texture will be negatively affected. 

Burrata Caprese Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 2 –4 servings
Category Salad/Side dish
Cuisine Italian

Description

A different take on the traditional Italian salad using burrata and a basil-olive oil sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 15 leaves basil
  • Pinch flaky salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (4-ounce) ball burrata
  • 1 –2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Thinly slice tomatoes then arrange on a large paper-towel-lined plate to drain, about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. *
  • In a mortar and pestle (or mini food processor) add basil leaves and a pinch of salt. Grind into a rough paste. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue grinding until it becomes a sauce. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt.
  • On a large plate, arrange tomato slices in an even layer. Spoon basil “sauce” over top then carefully tear burrata into chunks and arrange evenly over tomatoes (it will be messy!).
  • Drizzle white balsamic vinegar evenly over top and finish with an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes

* depending on how moist your tomatoes are, you may need to replace the tomatoes.
Tearing burrata is messy business. BUT I think it’s much more ideal than the alternative of serving an entire ball of burrata and expecting people around the table to cut into it themselves. This way everyone is guaranteed to get some cheese and no cheese is left behind.
I like to use a mortar and pestle here for making a thick basil “sauce.” You can also use a food processor or blender, though I recommend using a mini-sized one and doubling the ingredients (otherwise it won’t blend correctly).

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 recipeCalories: 65kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 2gFat: 5.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 315mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Tomato and burrata caprese salad with basil oil scattered over top on a speckled white, black and blue metal platter.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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