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Prep-ahead Caprese Salad

Just as a disclaimer, this was 100% not my idea.  It should have been, but it wasn’t.  We’ve already established on this blog that I am a big fan of tomato/basil/mozzarella combinations and that I’m making an effort to prep my breakfasts and lunches ahead of time so that I don’t have to think about it during the week.  Right now, mason jar salads are all the rage, but to be honest, I don’t love bringing salad for lunch at work.  It just seems really unappetizing after sitting there all morning, no matter how carefully everything is stacked.  However, during a previous Recipe Redux, I saw this gorgeous post on FitLiving Eats for a Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad and I knew I had a solution to my salad problem.  I am always willing to eat mozzarella chunks, even if the salad isn’t perfect by lunch time!

Caprese Salad |

So, I decided to try to do a prep-ahead version that I could bring with me to work all week.  Now, the inspiration recipe wasn’t exactly difficult or time-consuming, but I made it even easier.  I still roasted the tomatoes, but I roasted them on low while I was also making some no-sugar-added granola.  Also, instead of making or buying a balsamic vinaigrette, I tossed the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting them, then I just poured a little of the leftover “dressing” in the bottom of each mason jar while the tomatoes roasted.Caprese Salad |

Then, following the recipe’s recommendation, I put the roasted tomatoes in next to act as a shield between the dressing and the greens.  I don’t think it’s even necessary to roast the tomatoes during the summer when they are in season, but this is a great way to get a taste of summer with less-than-perfect tomatoes in the winter! I let this step cool for a few hours to prevent the greens from wilting and the cheese from melting.

Caprese Salad |

Next, I ripped up some basil leaves and tossed those in, followed by the tiny mozzarella pearls.  Finally, I jammed in a ton of arugula, which is one of my favorite greens and is hearty enough to hold up to a few days in the fridge.


Caprese Salad |

This made a healthy, quick, and delicious lunch all week long.  It was like a refreshing little ray of sunshine in the middle of my day!

Prep-ahead Caprese Salad

Yield: 4 mason jars

Serving Size: 2 cups

Prep-ahead Caprese Salad


  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 5 oz baby arugula, washed and dried


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine tomatoes, balsamic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, saving the dressing in the bowl. Roast about 20 minutes, until skins split.
  3. Divide remaining dressing evenly between the jars. Divide tomatoes evenly between jars when finished roasting, then let cool.
  4. Once cool, tear basil leaves into large pieces and sprinkle on top of tomatoes. Next, drain the mozzarella and divide between the jars.
  5. Top off each jar with a few handfuls of arugula and store in the fridge until needed. Shake to distribute the dressing and enjoy!

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