This unassuming Fresh and Easy Mexican Caprese Salad is just as comfortable at a BBQ picnic as it is on a set dining table. Substituting queso for mozzarella adds an extra tang while fighting against that soft/soggy mouthfeel.
This quick salad is a refreshing twist on a summer time favorite. Being honest, the recipe came to fruition out of pure happenstance. I threw some BBQ Chicken wings in the airfryer for lunch, when my wife walked into the kitchen saying, “Ugh, you’re going to have JUST that for lunch?” Me, “Yeah, why?” Wife, “How about some of these cherry tomatoes and the leftover queso fresco?” Me, “Sure, just add some olive oil, cilantro, salt, and lime.” As it turned out, it was delicious!
Cheap and Easy…Does it Get Better?
Since this beautiful tomato-queso marriage, this recipe has made it into our regular summer time circulation. It seems to pair well with everything and everyone (who likes tomatoes). And this dish is fairly cheap since delicious and juicy tomatoes are in-season and available everywhere for a great price. Oh yeah, did I mention it comes together in JUST 5 minutes? It takes a little chopping, mixing, and boom. Done. Big win over here.
What’s Wrong With Good ‘Ol Fashioned Caprece?
Don’t get me wrong, I love mozzarella and a nicely executed caprese salad, but the longer it sits, the less appealing it becomes. Queso Fresco on the other hand is a bit more firm and lacks the excess water (the long term downfall of mozzarella). Paired with some nice halved cherry tomatoes which also retain their composition better than slices, and you’ve found a winner! Due to the longevity, this salad not only keeps well in the refrigerator (up to 3 days) but is a great dish to bring to a party or potluck!
Our Favorite Dishes to Pair This With…
- BBQ – it’s always difficult to find healthy yet delicious sides for bbq and this dish fits the bill.
- Latin Inspired – tacos, steaks, quesadillas, must I go on? You can always stuff The Holy Grail of Corn Tortilla taco with this salad and any type of meat and it would be killer good.
- Burgers – it’s summertime! Burger season is on and this side will make you feel less guilty about eating burgers 2X a week.
- Rice and Beans
Tips and Tricks for Fresh & Easy Mexican Caprese Salad
- Use a sharp knife when cutting the cherry tomatoes. This will make quick work of it and also less mess.
- If you are bringing it to a party, it’s better to prepare day of. This dish will taste good for 3 days, but it’s at it’s peak for crunch and sharpness it’s first day.
- When making a salad with so few ingredients, use quality ingredients so that they can shine. A great olive oil is the Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Italian Olive . It’s an amazing price and you get a nice smooth flavor. Buy bright looking cilantro (or better yet, fresh picked from your garden.) And make sure to taste your tomatoes before you put them in the salad. If your tomatoes taste iffy, then so will the salad. The good news is, grape tomatoes are much more consistent in flavor than other types of tomatoes.
- After washing my cilantro (before chopping it), I throw it into my salad spinner (this one is great!) to get any additional liquid off. This will allow the cilantro to add flavor and no additional moisture. You wouldn’t believe how much water comes off! Thanks Milk Street for the amazing tip!