Spinach Caprese Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette

This Spinach Caprese Salad is an easy spinach and tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and a cherry vinaigrette. Think of it when the tomatoes are bursting, the basil is overgrowing its pot, and the trees are weighed down with so many cherries that even the birds can’t eat them all.

Read on to learn all about Caprese salad variations and the tips and tricks for this recipe. Or grab your salad bowl, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make a Spinach Caprese Salad!

a serving bowl with spinach, tomato slices, and mozzarella and topped with chopped basil
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Ingredients

The Caprese salad was named after the Italian island of Capri. It’s a simple Italian salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt, and occasionally vinegar. We’ve had Caprese salads on repeat in our household ever since kiddo made Caprese skewers from her Test Kitchen Kids cookbook.

This Caprese Salad with spinach becomes a substantial side dish with the addition of baby spinach. Then the cherry vinaigrette gives your salad a fruity, garlicky punch to balance out the astringency of the spinach.

Love spinach? Make a tuna pesto pasta with arugula spinach pesto, one pot gnocchi with spinach, asparagus, and peas, or these spinach and feta muffins.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Sub arugula in place of spinach for a Caprese arugula salad.
  • Use burrata in place of fresh mozzarella for a Burrata Caprese salad.

Recipe tips and tricks

Making the cherry vinaigrette

A cherry pitter is a really handy tool for making the cherry vinaigrette. I would recommend pitting the cherries in the sink (and wearing a dark shirt) in case there is a lot of spatter.

cherry pitter and pits in a colander in the sink.

 

Add the cherries to the pan and enough water to cover the bottom, You can use frozen cherries in the vinaigrette, but they may be more watery and take longer to cook down.

cherries in a saucepan.

Cook down the cherries for the vinaigrette until the liquid has thickened. Let cool.

cooked cherries in a pan.

You can make the emulsion using a food processor or by hand. If using a food processor, use it first to mince your garlic. Then add the balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

Add the olive oil through the chute with the processor going and emulsify. Pour the cherry vinaigrette into a clean glass jar for serving.

a jar of cherry vinaigrette and some cherries on an outside table.

Composing a Caprese salad with spinach

Add the spinach in a base layer in a large bowl or serving dish. You don’t need to make a pretty pattern, but it’s simple enough to overlap alternating tomato and mozzarella slices over the spinach.

Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve with the cooled cherry vinaigrette. Dress your Caprese spinach salad just before serving to prevent the greens from wilting.

Recipe FAQs

What else would be good with the cherry vinaigrette?

How about a kale salad with cranberries and pecans. Or maybe this rainbow salad bowl?

Have you ever made fresh mozzarella?

No, but I’ve been looking at recipes tonight, and I’m thinking I need to buy some citric acid and rennet so I can try. Will report back, I promise.

How should I store this salad?

Dress a Caprese salad with spinach just before serving. The cherry vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Spinach Caprese Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette

5 from 1 vote
Category: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 321kcal
This spinach caprese salad is made with spinach, ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella topped with a sweet, garlicky cherry vinaigrette.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients

Cherry vinaigrette

  • 8 ounces (1½ cups) sweet cherries (about 25 to 30)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped or chopped with the food processor
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach caprese salad

  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 slicer tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (ovolini or other large ball), sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

Cherry vinaigrette

  • Remove the stems and pit the cherries and then place them in a small saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
    8 ounces (1½ cups) sweet cherries (about 25 to 30)
  • Heat the cherries on low until they have burst and the liquid has thickened so that a spatula drawn across the bottom leaves a trail that lasts for a few seconds. Remove from heat and let cool briefly.
  • If using a food processor, add the garlic first and process until minced.
    1 clove garlic, chopped or chopped with the food processor
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil and process until smooth.
    ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Add the olive oil (If using a food processor, add the olive oil through the chute with the processor going) and emulsify.
    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach caprese salad

  • Add the spinach in an even layer in a large bowl or serving dish.
    5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Overlap alternating tomato and mozzarella slices on the spinach and sprinkle with chopped basil.
    2 slicer tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick, 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (ovolini or other large ball), sliced ¼ inch thick, 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Serve with the cherry vinaigrette or just drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt.

Notes

Dress your salad immediately prior to serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3939IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg
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