The chilly spring and the wet early summer have made the first garden and farm grown tomatoes later than usual this year here in New Jersey, but they are finally starting to show up. One of the things I love to make each summer is the classic stacked Caprese salad with a layered ring of mozzarella and tomato slices, sprinkled with fresh basil leaves, a little salt, and some good olive oil.

The three go well together in other dishes, too. Here are five variations on the class Caprese salad to try if want to have these flavors served up a little differently.

  1. Caprese Salad Kabobs – Turn the salad that usually requires a knife and fork into finger food.
  2. Savory Caprese Bread – This no yeast bred has all the flavors of Caprese baked right in.
  3. Baked Caprese Rigatoni – Fresh tomatoes along with a can of crushed tomatoes and some tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil and more create a hot version of the summer classic.
  4. Caprese Quinoa Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze – The name of this recipe says it all. You can use two large Portobello mushrooms to make this into an entrée or 12 baby Portobellos to make it into an appetizer.
  5. Caprese Martinis – I’m a martini purist, so I don’t see these martinis in my future, but I thought they were worth a mention. Vodka is infused with tomatoes and then used to make a martini that has skewered grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls as a garnish.
Do you make any variations on the classic Caprese?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 variations on the classic Caprese
The trio of tomato, basil and mozzarella are a summer classic in any form.