Summer Tomato Caprese Salad

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Summer is the perfect time to break out the tomato recipes, and this one will be a hit wherever you go!  It's perfectly suited for a potluck, or to whip up before a quick jaunt to the park. What I love most about this salad is how easy it is to customize to your family's tastes and preferences.  Oh, I will let you in on a little secret:  this Summer Tomato Caprese Salad is actually called, "Brian's Salad" in these here parts.  That's right.  My husband has claimed this salad as his after I threw in all his favorite veggies and created this salad many years ago.  

Here are the basic ingredients.  Though I did not include the pepperoncinis in the basic ingredient photo, I almost always add pepperoncinis or pickled jalapenos to the basic recipe.  You can use any Italian dressing, but my family really loves the flavor of the Good Seasons brand. In a pinch, I have made my own by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cracked pepper and salt.   I go heavy on the dressing, allowing the veggies and cheese to marinate for an hour or so before eating.

Look at the bright colors in this beautiful salad!  

Like I said, it is very easy to customize.  Sometimes I add salami, artichokes, cucumber and/or yellow diced peppers.   Other times, I'll stir in some finely diced jalapenos.  I almost always sneak in some pepperoncini juice to the salad dressing to give it some extra zing.  And if I don't have basil, I'll add pesto to the dressing.   Other variations:  Go Greek and sub feta cheese for the mozzarella and add some cucumbers.   You can also sub cilantro for the basil!   One time, I even served this salad alongside a bowl of chopped romaine lettuce, so that salad-eaters could lay down some lettuce on their plates and pour this yummy concoction on top.  An instant green salad!  You can use any vinegar, but I will tell you now that balsamic is simply divine.  What I also love about this salad, is that it will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days!  So if you have leftovers, save 'em for tomorrow!  For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.  

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as my family does!  Please let me know how you decide to customize it!