This summer has been all about no-bake recipes and simple ingredients that maximize seasonal flavor. Think low effort, high payouts, and no oven in sight. Ripe peaches on overnight oats, juicy watermelon and tomato saladssweet corn and lots of guacamole. Obviously, I’m a regular at farmers markets. So it seemed only right to highlight one of my favorite summer fruits: strawberries. Sometimes I feel like this berry gets overlooked. And I get it, I usually spend ten minutes flipping plastic boxes of strawberries at the grocery store before giving up and settling for something else. But if you’ve experienced the joy of strawberries from a farmer’s market, then you know this season is all about eating as many as you can. That’s how we got here, to this amazing Strawberry Caprese Salad.
This recipe is no-bake, beyond simple, and only requires a handful of ingredients. And with a few tricks, it will stand up strong to the classic tomato version. Add strawberries to your market list, stat—you’re in for a treat.
Strawberry Caprese Salad Ingredients
Strawberries. The riper, the better. But because we’re macerating the strawberries, it’s okay if they’re a little firmer and less sweet, because we’ll get some of their natural flavors out of them.
Dear. I like honey to macerate strawberries. It adds a bit of floral sweetness to the flavor which I love. But you can use granulated sugar instead if you prefer.
Lemon zest. For an extra kick of flavor, I like the burst of lemon zest.
Black pepper. And a lot. It adds a level of heat that elevates the salad. Be sure to use freshly ground ingredients, because you really want to taste them.
Burrata. It’s a bit fancy, but something about the creamy inside and fluffy outside makes it the most delicious cheese to use. You can also slice regular mozzarella, use mini mozzarella balls, or even ricotta if you prefer.
Olive oil. Only good, you will taste it.
Basil. For a bit of herbal freshness, basil is a must.
Tips for getting the most out of your strawberries
Because I love strawberries so much, I’ve learned the hard way from having too many on hand that they can spoil quickly, and sometimes you have to help the flavor.
To save your strawberries, I’m the baking soda and vinegar cleaning tip. I’ve heard from both that you should wait to wash your strawberries until you’re ready to eat and that they last longer washing them this way. You may have to test and learn your own method, but washing my berries this way, then drying them completely and storing them in a container with a removable lid with a paper towel, works for me. But let me know if you have any favorite methods.
To prepare the strawberries for this salad, we are going to macerate them. This simply means that we will chop our berries and sprinkle them with a little sugar and salt to extract their natural juice and concentrate the flavor. (Learn more about this magical process that enhances flavors.) This helps concentrate the flavor and gives you a bit of berry sauce that nicely coats each piece of fruit while adding a bit of tartness to the salad.
Tips for a Next Level Strawberry Caprese Salad
Because this salad is so simple, there are several ways to make it even better.
Garnish with pesto. To go even further down the savory route, drizzle everything with a drizzle of fresh basil pesto to give the salad an even more herbal flavor.
Add different fruits. Chopped nectarines, peaches, plums, or other berries will give it a berry-and-cream vibe that sits between salad and dessert. Either way, it’s extra delicious.
Serve with crusty bread. I love this because it turns this spoon and fork salad into a DIY appetizer. Mix everything together and let the guests garnish their slices of bread as they wish.