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Waiter, There’s Something In My…Ensalada Caprese!

Caprese SaladSummertime means salad. I already shared with you about my willingness to cut vegetables and ease of leaving fruit to one side. I adore most vegetables. Salads then are an easy meal for me.

In almost any deli or coffee shop, you can find an Ensalada Caprese and often you can order a Caprese Sandwich. Insalata Caprese literally means salad from Capri and was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch, according to Epicurious. The red, white and green colors represent the colors of the Italian flag. Typically, the tomatoes and mozzarella are sliced and layered with basil leaves to form a salad platter.

In Peru, as well as other Latin countries, a lot of queso fresco is eaten. When driving through the mountains of Peru, it is not unusual to see donkeys with milk canisters tied to their sides. Slowly and steadily, they are taken to a milk collection site. Sometimes that milk is sold to be pasteurized in a larger factory. But each mountain city has a collection point where they make queso fresco by boiling the milk, “cutting” it (I have no idea what the English word is for this!). The cottage cheese like whey is then pressed until blocks of queso fresco are formed.

Understandably, a true Insalata Caprese includes only fresh mozzarella and fresh picked tomatoes. But, here I have adapted the recipe to feature the mild queso fresco and fresh Roma tomatoes. The ingredients form a healthy and delicious combination.

Ensalada Caprese

Yield: 1 serving


  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 100 grams of queso fresco, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Create a checkerboard base with the tomatoes and cheese. Add two more layers, placing the items on opposite colors. Sprinkle the top with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Of course, you can also slice and layer if you are not into checkerboards!

Ensalada Caprese is being served up for Waiter, There’s Something in My…Salad, hosted this month by Andrew at Spittoon Extra.


26 Responses to “Waiter, There’s Something In My…Ensalada Caprese!”

  1. Those are so pretty Gretchen, like little works of art.

    Posted by Julie | February 28, 2008, 2:24 pm
  2. I love caprese and this looks so much fun!

    Posted by Aran Goyoaga | February 28, 2008, 3:00 pm
  3. Wow such a pretty presentation!

    Posted by Jessy and her dog Winnie | February 28, 2008, 3:49 pm
  4. My favorite salad, in a clever presentation! I love it! This one would sure impress.

    Posted by Karen | February 28, 2008, 4:06 pm
  5. Hi Gretchen,This is my favourite salad too. I love how you’ve stacked them in blocks. It reminds me of a red and white rubix cube :)

    Posted by ilingc | February 28, 2008, 5:05 pm
  6. I just had to say hi, because my name is Alanna Noelle. :)

    Posted by Alanna | February 28, 2008, 5:22 pm
  7. thanks for the story about queso fresco – wasn’t aware of how it was done. Very pretty and summery salad.

    Posted by Annemarie | February 28, 2008, 5:35 pm
  8. What I would give for fresh tomatoes right now to make this. I can’t wait for summer to get here.

    Posted by Mrs. L | February 28, 2008, 5:37 pm
  9. MMM…insalata caprese is one of my all-time favorite salads, and I love the checkerboard presentation of yours! I actually just tried queso fresco for the first time a few weeks ago – I can imagine how tasty it would be in this salad. Yum!

    Posted by Amy | February 28, 2008, 8:02 pm
  10. i love the presentation – like an ensalada frank gehry!

    Posted by michelle @ Us vs. Food | February 28, 2008, 9:58 pm
  11. yum! this is one of my all time favorites “salads”! love your presentation :)oh, and i wish it was summer here!

    Posted by Jaime | February 28, 2008, 10:58 pm
  12. Julie – Thanks!Aran – Tricky but fun!Jessy – Thanks so much!Karen – Your favorite salad???Ilingc – Rubik’s cube?! What a great way to look at it!Alanna – Thanks for stopping by! I will be visiting your blog again soon!Annemarie – I will be looking for pictures. I am just not sure I have them anymore.Mrs. L – Mmm…summer does bring us some lovely things!Any – Thanks so much! I am glad you liked queso fresco. It is such a wonderful cheese!Michelle – Thanks!

    Posted by Gretchen Noelle | February 28, 2008, 11:02 pm
  13. I love the checkerboard design of the salad…very innovative :D I wonder if I can find queso freso here…I just found halloumi so anything is possible :D

    Posted by Bellini Valli | February 28, 2008, 11:17 pm
  14. I never thought I’d say this about a salad but – this is cute!

    Posted by Cakelaw | February 29, 2008, 4:44 am
  15. This salad is a staple in our house, but I’ve never constructed it in a checkerboard fashion before. How creative!

    Posted by Susan from Food Blogga | February 29, 2008, 8:25 am
  16. Oh wow! you write about Peruvian food! Awesome! We’ve been wanting to learn more! Can’t wait to go through your archives for some cooking lessons!

    Posted by White On Rice Couple | February 29, 2008, 11:48 am
  17. You really made a fabulous job of this simple salad – well done!

    Posted by nicisme | February 29, 2008, 11:59 am
  18. Great job. Looks really good and yummy.

    Posted by Helene | February 29, 2008, 1:02 pm
  19. Oooh I love the look of your caprese. Work of art! The checkerboard idea is FAB! I gotta try it…will probably do it with cottage cheese. This is so goooood!

    Posted by Passionate baker...& beyond | March 1, 2008, 7:53 am
  20. Oooh I love the look of your caprese. Work of art! The checkerboard idea is FAB! I gotta try it…will probably do it with cottage cheese. This is so goooood!

    Posted by Passionate baker...& beyond | March 1, 2008, 7:53 am
  21. Bellini – Thanks! It was very fun! Cakelaw – It was a “cute” salad!Susan – I love the salad, but this makes it fun!WOR – I do! That is great, hope you are back again soon!Nicisme – Thanks!Helene – Thank you, it was delicious!Passionate baker – It was a fun presentation. I am not sure cottage cheese would hold up. Maybe mozzarella or feta?

    Posted by Gretchen Noelle | March 1, 2008, 8:15 am
  22. I really like your presentation–it takes caprese to a whole new level. Yum!

    Posted by chou | March 1, 2008, 11:15 am
  23. Very nice plating. Fresh. Original. Bravo!!!

    Posted by Jo. | March 1, 2008, 2:04 pm
  24. Chou – Thanks, it was fun!Jo – Thank you!

    Posted by Gretchen Noelle | March 2, 2008, 7:16 am
  25. Cute cute cute! Fabulous construction job, I am calling you next time the neighbor’s kids want to pkay with Lego!

    Posted by Tartelette | March 3, 2008, 10:22 pm
  26. loveing the presentation. thanks for the entry to waiter

    Posted by Andrew | March 9, 2008, 7:42 am

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