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Enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of summer with this vegan Caprese salad, featuring juicy tomatoes and creamy tofu ‘mozzarella,’ for a light and simple summer side dish!

completed Vegan Caprese Salad on a white surface

Make the most of ripe, seasonal tomatoes this summer with just a handful of fresh and simple, inexpensive ingredients and a few minutes in this vegan caprese salad recipe. It’s a quick, easy, light side salad perfect for picnics, potlucks, BBQs, pool parties, and summer get-togethers.

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What is Caprese Salad?

A traditional Caprese salad (pronounced kuh-preh-zay) is a simple, refreshing Italian salad made with creamy mozzarella, ripe and juicy seasonal tomatoes, aromatic basil, sea salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

For this vegan tofu caprese, however, I’ve replaced the dairy mozzarella with silken tofu (check out this guide to tofu). Its mild flavor and soft texture are a surprisingly good replacement for dairy-based mozzarella, while adding a healthy dose of plant-based protein. The resulting salad is fresh, bright, and surprisingly complex tasting for such a simple recipe. Plus, there are several delicious recipe variations!

Looking for more summer tomato recipes? Try this garden fresh salsa, tomato gazpacho, and panzanella salad.

Ingredient Notes

Refer to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and quantities.

ingredients for Vegan Caprese Salad on a white surface

What Else Could I Add?

  • Avocado: Add thin layers of avocado for creamy texture and healthy fats (check out this guide to avocado for more).
  • Onion: Thinly sliced sweet onion adds tangy, robust depth.
  • Cucumber: For extra crisp crunchiness in this easy caprese salad, add thinly sliced, thin-peel, low-seed Persian or English cucumber.
  • Eggplant: Add layers of grilled or breaded eggplant stack slices for creaminess.
  • Asparagus: Serve the vegan tomato salad over a bed of steamed asparagus.
  • Fruit: Substitute up to 50% of the tomato to make a blueberry, strawberry, watermelon, or peach caprese salad for sweet and savory flavor.
  • Pasta: Make hearty tomato caprese salad with pasta, orzo, or giant couscous.
  • Pesto: Make vegan pesto caprese salad instead of using vinegar.
  • Pine nuts: Raw or toasted, to garnish for crunch.

How to Make Vegan Caprese Salad

process shot showing tomatoes and salt and pepper on serving platter
process shot showing sliced tofu on cutting board

Step 1: First, rinse, then slice the tomato into ¼-½-inch slices (depending on your preferred thickness). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

Step 2: Next, slice the tofu into similar rounds (or squares) and season. Also, ribbon the basil by rolling up a small stack and thinly slicing it.

process shot showing tomatoes and tofu alongside seasoning

Step 3: Layer the slices of tomato and tofu, so they’re half overlapping. Then, sprinkle the tofu caprese with sliced basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and vinegar. Optionally, top it off with flaky sea salt, and enjoy!

FAQs

What is the best tomato for Caprese salad?

Use high-quality, ripe, in-season tomatoes, such as vine-ripened, beefsteak, or heirloom tomatoes. If you plan to make chopped Caprese salad, halved cherry or grape tomatoes would also work.

Why is it called Caprese salad?

Italian Caprese salad is said to originate from and be named after the Italian Island of Capri (aka Insalata Caprese).

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Use the best tomatoes: The tomato is the leading flavor in simple vegan caprese salad, so use the ripest, in-season tomato, ensuring it’s fragrant, smooth, and heavy for its size.
  • Use other high-quality ingredients: With only a few ingredients, make sure to use good-quality olive oil, vinegar, and fresh basil.
  • Leave it to marinate: Even just 10 minutes will enhance the flavors, though 30 minutes is even better.
  • Adjust the texture: Instead of overlapping slices, make a chopped caprese salad by finely dicing the ingredients instead.
  • For more ‘cheesy’ flavor: Marinate the tofu with lemon juice and salt (+ optionally a sprinkle of nutritional yeast) for 15 mins to overnight.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this fresh vegan caprese salad as a crowd-pleasing summery side alongside:

Storage Instructions

Once assembled, enjoy this fresh Italian tomato Caprese salad within 24 hours for the freshest tomatoes, or up to 2 days total. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.

Vegan Caprese Salad

5 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of summer with this vegan Caprese salad, featuring juicy tomatoes and creamy tofu ‘mozzarella,’ for a light and simple summer side dish!

Ingredients 

  • 1 ripe large tomato
  • 12 ounces of silken tofu
  • Leaves from 1 sprig of basil, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt (optional)

Instructions 

  • Using a sharp knife, slice the tomato into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let sit.
  • Thinly slice the tofu into rectangles and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • On plates or a serving platter, layer the slices of tomato and tofu so they overlap slightly. Sprinkle with the sliced basil, drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar, and optionally add a little sea salt if you want some extra salty crunch on top.

Notes

  • Use the best tomatoes: The tomato is the leading flavor in simple vegan caprese salad, so use the ripest, in-season tomato, ensuring it’s fragrant, smooth, and heavy for its size.
  • Use other high-quality ingredients: With only a few ingredients, make sure to use good-quality olive oil, vinegar, and fresh basil.
  • Leave it to marinate: Even just 10 minutes will enhance the flavors, though 30 minutes is even better.
  • Adjust the texture: Instead of overlapping slices, make a chopped caprese salad by finely dicing the ingredients instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 9gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 52mgPotassium: 526mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 811IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Stefan
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Method: No cook
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to give this recipe a try! My cheese-loving husband recently had to go dairy-free, so he’s been missing his caprese. Looking forward to making this recipe for him!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Andrea,

    I wanted to let you know that I tried this recipe and my family and I loved it. I was not sure about the tofu, but it turned out great. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    This is genius! I can’t wait to give this recipe I try! I love silken tofu so I know I will be obsessed with this!