The Unexpected Tomato Substitute That Will Give Your Caprese A Fruity Kick

Nothing says fresh, in-season produce, like a Caprese salad. Caprese salad is an Italian dish named after the chic island of Capri, Italy. The salad is unlike leafy green salads, in that it's made with only ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil (per Zeppolis). The colors represent the Italian flag, while also representing the flavors and ingredients of Italy. Instead of being tossed or topped with a dressing or vinaigrette, a balsamic glaze is drizzled over top. While you can find Caprese salads at some Italian restaurants year-round, they really should be eaten with perfectly in-season tomatoes.

This begs the question of what is the best tomato to use in a Caprese salad. According to Urban Farmie, heirloom tomatoes are the best for caprese. Not only are they naturally sweet, but the tomatoes don't have a lot of excess water content. Heirloom tomatoes are pricey, so beefsteak, vine, or even cherry tomatoes are a great substitute. You can even use grape tomatoes to make Caprese skewers for a fun, portable, and year-round option. Even though the classic Caprese is delicious, there are some unique twists where a tomato isn't even used at all

Use a sweet, summer peach

Tomatoes aren't the only food that taste even better in the summer. Fruit lovers can rejoice because berries, melons, and stone fruit are at the peak of freshness. While Caprese salad is delicious on its own, America's Test Kitchen suggests replacing tomatoes with fresh peaches. Peach, mozzarella, and basil are a winning combination, but the classic balsamic glaze is where things get a bit tricky. The balsamic vinegar can overpower the peaches and also turn the peaches into an unappetizing color. Instead, a simple olive oil and lemon vinaigrette brings a necessary acidity that pairs well with the peach.

If you can't get enough of the flavors of Caprese with salads, there are endless possibilities for enjoying it at every meal. Celebrity chef, Giada De Laurentiis makes caprese burgers, with fresh tomatoes, basil pesto, and mozzarella. If you want to start your day with the flavors of Caprese, consider a Caprese breakfast sandwich made with English muffins, tomato, basil, and eggs (via Foodie Crush). If you want to enjoy Caprese salad in the winter with some less-than-ideal tomatoes, Martha Stewart suggests adding sliced tangerines. The tangerines add a pop of acidity and sweetness to tomatoes, wven when not in their peak season.