Spinach Caprese Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette

This Spinach Caprese Salad is made with spinach, ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella topped with a cherry vinaigrette. It’s one of those salads you’ll want to eat all summer long. 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.

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

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

About Caprese salads

The Caprese salad was named after the island of Capri. It’s a simple Italian salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt, and occasionally a vinegar.

We’ve had Caprese salads on repeat in our household ever since kiddo made Caprese skewers from her Test Kitchen Kids cookbook. The combination of cherry tomatoes, ciliegine mozzarella, and basil? Absolutely delicious.

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.

a cherry pitter and pits in a colander in the sink.

You can use frozen cherries in the vinaigrette, but they may be more watery. If using frozen cherries, make sure to cook them down until the liquid has thickened. Let cool.

cherries in a pan.
cooked cherries in a pan for making cherry vinaigrette.

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.

Composing the Spinach Caprese Salad

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.

Storage

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

FAQs

What else would be good with the cherry vinaigrette?

How about a kale salad with toasted 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.

Related recipes

Check out other Ugly Duckling Bakery side dishes like this orzo pesto salad, this peach and burrata caprese salad or this rainbow salad bowl with maple Dijon dressing.

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.

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 (1 package) 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 (1 package) 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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What’s next

If you make this spinach caprese salad or the cherry vinaigrette, please leave a comment and rating here. Pretty please!

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

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