A delicious and effortless summer salad to impress, this heirloom tomato caprese salad has a couple of twists to keep things fun and fresh. Honey toasted pistachios and juicy pomegranate seeds add a delightful crunch and burst of sweetness. This salad is perfect for a summer get together or a simple meal at home.
When the summer tomatoes are at their peak, a Caprese Salad is an absolute necessity! Especially when you’ve got a nice mix of large, small, and differently colored heirlooms to work with. So pretty!
This recipe adds some fun little extras in the form of crunchy honey toasted pistachios and sweet pomegranate seeds for a slightly genre-bending twist. You can even take it a little further by swapping the basil for cilantro, the balsamic for pomegranate molasses, for a full on Italian-Middle Eastern fusion situation, which is what I have done for the photos, but you don’t have to go that far if don’t want to.
🛒 Ingredient Notes
- Tomatoes: You need the tastiest tomatoes you can get your hands on for this recipe! Despite all the fun flavor additions here, this recipe won’t thrive with watery or off-season tomatoes so make sure they’re the kind that make you want to bite into them like an apple. I like to use a mix of large, sliced tomatoes and smaller halved or quartered ones for visual interest.
- Fresh mozzarella: The kind that is stored in water. Burrata would make a fantastic swap here.
- Pistachios: Raw, unsalted. You could use chopped or whole, I don’t think it matters too much.
- Honey: We add this to the toasted pistachios to sweeten them up.
- Pomegranate seeds: These pretty little morsels add some extra interest to the dish, but they are optional if you don’t want to buy a whole pack!
- Cilantro (coriander) or basil: I went for cilantro here, which I think pairs nicely with the flavors of pistachio and pomegranate, but you can certainly stick with the classic basil.
- Pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar: I love drizzling pomegranate molasses on this salad but it’s fairly obscure – a thick balsamic will do nicely if this isn’t something you want to seek out.
🍅 Tomato SOS! How to make a Caprese Salad even when your tomatoes aren’t the best
I did just say that you need the absolute best peak summer tomatoes for this recipe, and in an ideal world you’d be able to magic them whenever you wanted. In reality, we have to work with what we’ve got. So if you want to make a Caprese Salad with less than stellar tomatoes, I would suggest:
- Adding a flavorful sauce or dressing to the recipe. A drizzle of fresh pesto can work wonders, or a citrusy vinaigrette of some kind.
- Roasting the tomatoes, then bringing them to room temperature and serving this warm.
- Upgrading the mozzarella to burrata or smoked mozzarella.
Any one of these ideas (or a combination of them) will work alongside this recipe.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
- This can be a tasty light meal on its own, served alongside some fresh bread or a grain (bulgur with some pesto mixed through it perhaps?)
- As a side dish, you can flex the flavors to suit your meal. When adding it to an Italian meal, use basil and balsamic vinegar. When adding it to a more fusion Mediterranean or Middle Eastern style meal, I’d opt for the cilantro and pomegranate molasses.
- Serve this at a barbecue or get-together! You can prepare all of the elements in advance, but don’t assemble it until it’s time to serve. If it sits out too long, the pistachios will get too soft and the herb will lose its brightness.
Some ideas to use up your ingredients..
More Recipes with Pistachios:
More Recipes with Pomegranate Seeds:
Caprese Salad with Pistachios & Pomegranate
- 8 oz (250 g) fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- 1 handful smaller vine and cherry tomatoes, or an additional larger one
- ⅓ cup (40 g) raw unsalted pistachios
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
- olive oil, for drizzling
- pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar, for drizzing
- 1 handful basil or cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves
- Prepare the pistachios first. Cover a plate with parchment or baking paper and set aside. Heat a frying pan on low heat (no oil required) and add the pistachios. Toast them until lightly browned and fragrant. Pour the honey into the pan – it will quickly bubble up and reduce. Use a spatula to coat the pistachios with the honey, and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour the mixture out onto the prepared plate. Spread them out into a single layer, sprinkle a little salt over the pistachios and leave them to cool down while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Assemble the caprese salad by arranging the tomato and mozzarella slices over the plate. Drizzle olive oil and pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar) over the top and add salt to taste.
- Finally, sprinkle the pistachios and pomegranate seeds over the top and garnish with the cilantro leaves (or basil) and serve.