Like a little Caprese salad on a stick, these Caprese skewers are a hit appetizer and so easy to assemble. Featuring colorful summer cherry tomatoes, creamy mini mozzarella balls and fresh, bright green basil leaves. For a tasty finish drizzle with basil pesto vinaigrette or use Balsamic syrup.
Whether you are gathering to celebrate the "big game", Father's Day, 4th of July or just casually gathering with friends, make some of these fresh and easy appetizers. no cooking involved!
The Famous Salad
You might be familiar with the famous Italian Caprese salad, created to resemble the colors of the Italian flag. In Italy, it is usually served as a starter or antipasto.
Caprese salad is standard summer fare at our house when colorful heirloom tomatoes are at their peak. It's simply slices of fresh, ripe tomatoes and creamy mozzarella (or buratta) cheese with fresh basil leaves tucked between the slices, dressed with good olive oil. The simplicity is beautiful.
For years I've made an appetizer version of this salad for catered parties and family events. Instead of full size tomatoes and large balls mozzarella, think smaller. Choose cherry or small grape tomatoes for their size. If available choose multi-colors for more visual appeal.
While many recipes skewer the whole tomato, I like to get the cherry size and cut them in half crosswise. They look so nice on the skewers, and they don't explode quite as much in your mouth, so they are easier to eat.
Use mini bamboo skewers to assemble the skewers. The 5"- 6" size work perfect. If all you have is larger ones, cut them down to size with scissors.
For the mozzarella, I buy what is called Ciliegine, fresh, mini mozzarella balls. If all you are familiar with is the hard rubber balls of mozzarella for shredding pizza, you are in for a nice surprise. Fresh mozzarella is soft. It comes packaged in liquid to keep it soft and fresh. Don't dump out the liquid. Store any used mozzarella in the container with the brine.
For basil leaves, buy a bunch, wash and dry the leaves, then choose the best leaves for the skewers. Use the rest to make the pesto. Choose smaller leaves, rather than the big giant ones. You can even use two small to medium leaves and fold them together.
For produce wash I use Eat Cleaner, on my basil and the tomatoes as well.
Making homemade pesto is quick and easy with a food processor. My recipe is here. Why bother making it? Homemade is always better, and you know exactly what goes into it, and no unwanted additives. You can also control the flavor for what you like. In a hurry? Buy a good store brand.
Once the pesto is made, add a little more olive oil and lemon juice to thin for the vinaigrette to dress the skewers.
To serve, layer the skewers on a platter and drizzle with the basil vinaigrette. A little quirt of Balsamic syrup or vinegar is good too. To make your own Balsamic glaze (syrup), here is my recipe.
Caprese Skewers with Basil Vinaigrette
- 12 Mini bamboo skewers
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved multi-colored looks great
- 12 mini mozzarella balls Ciliegine 3-per-ounce size
- 1 bunch of basil so you can choose the best leaves
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto homemade recipe link below
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the basil pesto, oil and lemon juice. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Build skewers starting with a tomato half, then basil leaf, then a cheese ball, then leaf, the another tomato half. Lay skewers on a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.