A caprese salad has always been one of my favorite appetizers. It's bright, fresh, and flavorful, and as long as tomatoes are in season, you'll find me munching away on it. The other night, however, as I was staring at my juicy red tomatoes, I had a thought. Without ruining the simplicity of the dish, was there a way to elevate it so it could become a hearty main, and not just a starter course?
My solution was actually inspired by Maddie, who isn't a fan of raw tomatoes but makes delicious oven-roasted ones — the kind that pop in your mouth and release their sweet juice. I decided that if I roasted the tomatoes, it would add an extra depth of flavor, and potentially make the dish feel more substantial.
I happened to have mini sweet peppers on hand as well, so I decided to toss those into the mix. I recommend not skipping out on this element — the roasted peppers add an incredible layer of flavor.
Once the veggies come out of the oven, this dish is ready in seconds. Although not part of a traditional caprese, the fresh mint leaves are a perfect complement to the blistered veggies.
I made this recipe just for myself, but it's super easy to double or triple to accommodate however many people you are serving. Oh, and you've been warned — you may never go back to raw tomato caprese!
Roasted Tomato and Sweet Pepper Caprese
Serves 1 as a main dish, 2 as a side
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 mini sweet peppers, split in half length-wise and seeded
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- splash of extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 thin slices fresh mozarella
- handful of fresh basil, torn
- 3 mint leaves, torn
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the tomatoes and the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss the veggies until they are evenly coated, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven about 12-15 minutes, or until they are beginning to char and burst slightly. If you prefer, keep them in longer — but I like my tomatoes to retain a little bit of their firm texture.
Place the tomatoes and peppers on a plate and top with the mozzarella, basil, and mint. Drizzle with a touch more balsamic and olive oil, season again to taste, and dig in!