Creamy bocconcini mixed with sweet cherry tomatoes and strawberries along with a caper vinaigrette that explodes in flavour. A quick and colourful Bocconcini Salad perfect for the summer months.
Why I Love Bocconcini Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
I love bocconcini. If left unattended, my daughter and I could eat a whole pot of bocconcini cheese by itself. The creamy bite-sized morsels are just perfect for snacking.
During the summer months, tomatoes are in abundance, and I love the classic pairing of tomato and bocconcini.
There is something so delicious about the creaminess of the bocconcini matched with the sweet, slight tartness of tomatoes— a classic Italian tomato salad combination.
If you need some fruit salads to go with your summer feasting, we have quite a few you may like. Our Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple Salad with Lemon Curd or Black Fruit Salad with Tea Rose Syrup are really popular options as you take advantage for summer fruits.
With a little added twist, I tossed in some strawberries along with avocado, red onions, basil and mingled it together with a flavoursome caper vinaigrette.
This bocconcini salad was definitely a hit with the family. The salty and tangy caper vinaigrette adds a whole new level of interest.
What is Bocconcini Cheese Made From?
Bocconcini are white semi soft cheese that originated from Naples and it is similar to buffalo mozzarella.
Bocconcini was once made from water buffalo milk but these days, most of the bocconcini cheese we purchase is made from cow’s milk.
Shaped in small bite-sized balls, bocconcini translates to “little mouthfuls” in Italian. They are similar to buffalo mozzarella, and the taste is slightly milder but still buttery and deliciously creamy. It is an unripened cheese and generally served fresh.
We love bocconcini cheese in salads just like our Summer Strawberry Salad with Baby Bocconcini and Rocket, added to an antipasto platter or melted on a homemade pizza. A versatile cheese to keep in the fridge.
What Are Capers?
Again, another pantry staple for us, we love adding capers to our salads, pastas and sauces.
Capers are the flower buds of a caper bush. It is native to Mediterranean countries and therefore they are often found in their cuisine. The caper bush also produces a fruit called caper berries.
What Do Capers Taste Like?
Capers are generally preserved in a salt and water brine or a mixture of brine and vinegar. Sometimes you will find them cured in salt.
The flavour profile of capers are salty, acidic, tangy and slightly bitter in one hit.
What do capers taste like in cooking? Those little round buds really pack a punch when it comes to flavour.
They can lift sauces with the right amount of salt, deliver pops of tang in salads and clings onto olive oil to create texture and flavour in pasta.
Like I’ve mentioned before, we always have a jar of capers in the pantry as it is so versatile in how we can use it.
Is There A Capers Substitute?
Well, what happens when you don’t have capers? BIG GASP, go and buy a jar? Ha. If that is not possible, then there are caper substitutes.
For our caper vinaigrette, you could substitute the capers for anchovies. I would probably use 4 anchovies and finely chop to add to vinaigrette. Anchovies will be saltier so you may need to adjust the apple cider vinegar and leave out any additional salt.
Other caper substitutes include green olives, marinated artichoke hearts or baby cornichons for the caper vinaigrette. All options provide the acidity the dressing needs but varying levels of salt. Again finely chop and add to vinaigrette
How to Make Bocconcini Salad
How To Prepare the Salad
Remove basil from the stem to yield 1 cup.
Wash and cut strawberries into quarters or halves, depending on the size of your strawberries.
For this recipe, I was able to buy a punnet of medley baby tomatoes which included red cherry tomatoes, yellow grape tomatoes and baby green tomatoes.
It was fantastic to have the range of colours in the salad. Plus the baby green tomatoes added a touch of tartness and crunch to the overall flavour.
Wash and slice baby tomatoes into half.
Peel and cut the red onion in half. Then thinly slice the red onion into half moons.
We want bite-sized avocado cubes for this salad. Cut avocado in half with skin lengthwise.
Once you hit the stone, rotate your knife around and make a cut around the pit. Then place the knife down and, using your hands, twist and pull the avocado apart.
Remove avocado stone and peel skin gently. Then place the avocado cut side down and cut into cubes. If you are making this salad in advance, give a little squeeze of lemon over the cubed avocado to avoid it going brown.
Drain bocconcini and set aside for assembly.
How to Make Caper Vinaigrette
This is a delicious salty chunky vinaigrette that worked very well with the bocconcini salad to balance the sweet and creamy flavours.
Finely chop capers and place in a small mixing bowl.
Crush and finely mince one garlic clove and add to the mixing bowl.
Add the liquids – apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to the mixing bowl and stir well to combine the capers, garlic, vinegar and oil together.
Taste and then season with salt and pepper. You may not need much salt as the capers can be quite salty. Adjust accordingly.
How To Assemble Salad
You can actually place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together with caper vinaigrette and then serve.
However, I preferred to layer into a shallow dish and drizzle caper vinaigrette on top. This way, I can still let the snow white bocconcini kisses shine throughout the salad.
Using a shallow dish, start with half the baby tomatoes and cut strawberries. Then scatter half the bocconcini cheese, sliced red onion and basil leaves.
Repeat the process with another layer of baby tomatoes, strawberries and bocconcini cheese.
Scatter chopped avocado on top and then finish with remaining sliced red onion, basil leaves and whole capers.
To serve, dress with caper vinaigrette and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
This is a great vegetarian side salad with a cold refreshing tomato gazpacho or grilled rosemary lamb chops. And if you are just looking for a light lunch, whip this salad up in less than 20 minutes and topple over a couple of slices of warm toast.
My Bocconcini Salad with Caper Vinaigrette is a colourful salad perfect for the summer months. It’s a no cook salad with simple everyday ingredients that explodes in flavour.
Mingle fresh seasonal produce with a punchy caper vinaigrette and the end result is YUM.
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Bocconcini Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
- 1 cup basil, leaves
- 250 g strawberries
- 250 g cherry tomatoes, medley
- ½ red onion
- 1 avocado
- 200 g bocconcini
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Remove basil from the stem to yield 1 cup.
- Wash and cut strawberries into quarters or halves, depending on the size of your strawberries.
- Wash and slice baby tomatoes into half.
- Peel and cut the red onion in half. Then thinly slice the red onion into half moons.
- Cut avocado in half with skin lengthwise. Remove avocado stone and peel skin gently. Then place the avocado cut side down and cut into cubes.
- Drain bocconcini from brine and set aside for assembly.
- Finely chop capers and place in a small mixing bowl.
- Crush and finely mince one garlic clove and add to the mixing bowl.
- Add apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and stir well to combine the capers, garlic, vinegar and oil together.
- Taste and then season with salt and pepper.
- Using a shallow dish, start with half the baby tomatoes and cut strawberries.
- Then scatter half the bocconcini cheese, sliced red onion and basil leaves.
- Repeat the process with another layer of baby tomatoes, strawberries and bocconcini cheese.
- Scatter chopped avocado on top and then finish with remaining sliced red onion, basil leaves and whole capers.
- To serve, dress with caper vinaigrette and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- If you can’t find a medley of baby tomatoes, any kind of cherry tomatoes will be suitable for the salad.
- Bocconcini are bite-sized mozzarella so you can use 2 large mozzarella balls and tear it up into bite-sized pieces.
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