Vegan Caprese Salad

Vegan Caprese salad is a vibrant dish that pays homage to the classic caprese recipe. And, of course, I’ll spill the beans (or should I say, the tofu) on creating the delicious Vegan Tofu Mozzarella that will elevate your Caprese experience to new heights!

A closeup of vegan cpreses salad on a plate. There are fresh basil leaves and a tomato in the background.

Picture this: a sunny afternoon, a rustic patio table adorned with a plate of freshly sliced tomatoes, fragrant basil leaves, and luxurious drizzles of olive oil. Yes, you’ve guessed it – the beloved Caprese Salad!

Hailing from the heart of Italy, this dish has earned its rightful place in culinary history. Traditionally composed of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and a dash of olive oil, the Caprese Salad’s simplicity and flavors have made it a worldwide sensation.

Now it’s time to make the Caprese salad vegan!

Caprese Salad Ingredients

  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
  • Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
  • Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
  • Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
  • Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
  • Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
  • Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
  • Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
  • Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
  •  Tofu — I used a 15-ounce block of firm tofu. You can use extra-firm. Blocks of tofu range from 13 to 15 ounces.
  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice from a fresh lemon.
  • Vinegar — To add even more zing to the tofu, we’ll add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. White wine vinegar works, too.
  • Seasoning — We’ll season the tofu with dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast flakes. You’ll also need salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to use freshly ground black pepper.
  • Tomatoes — You’ll need two large tomatoes, and I like to use tomatoes that are ripe and juicy!
  • Basil — Fresh basil leaves are the secret to this salad. You can buy a fresh basil plant in many stores, but if you’re fortunate enough to have one growing outside, go grab a few leaves from your plant. Note that using the leaves from a flowering basil plant will result in a more mild and possibly bitter basil flavor.
  • Vegetable oil — I like to drizzle the finished salad with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Glaze — We’ll make a balsamic glaze by combining balsamic vinegar with maple syrup. You can buy balsamic glaze at the store if you wish to skip this step. Shawn always wants me to skip this step because he hates the smell of vinegar cooking. So, it’s ok to buy the glaze if it makes you or your family happier.
A hand holds a small bowl of balsamic glaze, pouring it over a Caprese salad.

How to Make Vegan Caprese Salad

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  1. Lightly press the tofu using a tofu press or wrap it in a kitchen towel and cover it with a heavy pan.
  2. Zest the lemon and then cut it in half and juice it.
  3. Add the lemon zest and juice to a shallow dish. Add the oregano, garlic powder, salt, and nooch.
  4. Cut the tofu in half and then cut it into eight small rectangular slices.
  5. Place the tofu in the dish with the marinade and cover for 10 minutes (up to overnight).
  6. While the tofu marinates, wash the basil leaves and cut the tomatoes into 8 to 10 equal slices.
  7. Cook vinegar and syrup over medium heat until it boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from heat and transfer it to a heat-resistant bowl to let it cool.
  9. Layer tomato slices, basil leaves, and sliced tofu on a serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and flaky sea salt.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Can I substitute the tofu mozzarella with store-bought vegan cheese?

Absolutely! While our recipe for Vegan Tofu Mozzarella adds a delightful homemade touch, you can definitely use store-bought vegan cheese as a convenient alternative. Opt for a vegan cheese block that’s sliceable (rather than shreds). It should have a mild flavor to ensure a harmonious balance with the tomatoes and basil in your Caprese Salad.

Can I prepare the Vegan Caprese Salad in advance for a gathering?

Certainly! The beauty of the Vegan Caprese Salad is its simplicity and versatility. You can prepare the individual components – sliced tomatoes, Tofu Mozzarella, washed basil leaves, and balsamic glaze – ahead of time and assemble the salad just before serving. This ensures that the flavors remain vibrant and the textures delightful. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic reduction (if using) just before serving to maintain the salad’s freshness and visual appeal.

Serving Suggestions

Serve caprese salad with your favorite Mediterranean dishes such as:

  • Pesto Pasta: Complement the fresh flavors of the Vegan Caprese Salad with a plate of al dente pesto pasta. The aromatic basil and garlic in the pesto will harmonize beautifully with the basil in the salad, creating a Mediterranean feast for your taste buds.
  • Grilled Vegetable Platter: Fire up the grill and prepare a colorful assortment of grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and asparagus. The smoky char and natural sweetness of the vegetables will create an excellent contrast to the chilled Caprese Salad.
  • Garlic Bread or Bruschetta: Whip up some plant-based garlic bread or bruschetta to add a delightful crunch to your meal. Combining crisp toasted bread with the rich tofu mozzarella will create a symphony of textures in your mouth.
  • Quinoa Salad: Create a balanced and protein-packed meal by serving the Vegan Caprese Salad alongside a hearty quinoa salad. Incorporating colorful veggies, herbs, and a zesty vinaigrette to complement the meal’s flavors.
  • Minestrone Soup: Warm up your meal with a comforting bowl of easy vegan minestrone soup. The hearty broth, loaded with veggies and beans, pairs wonderfully with the light and refreshing qualities of the Caprese Salad.

By serving these dishes alongside your Vegan Caprese Salad, you’ll create a well-rounded and satisfying dining experience that showcases a diverse range of flavors, textures, and culinary influences.

Storage Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If the basil leaves begin to wilt, you can add fresh ones. The tomatoes will start to shed their juiciness, but the juice combines nicely with the tofu marinade and balsamic glaze to create a sauce you can drizzle over leftovers.

Looking down on a layered caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and tofu. There are cut tomatoes, basil, and a bowl of balsamic glaze nearby.

More Vegan Salad Recipes

If you love this recipe for vegan caprese salad, here are more vegan salad favorites to try:

Conclusion

And there you have it – your very own Tofu Caprese Salad!

The ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, and velvety tofu transports your taste buds to a world of culinary elegance. Share this masterpiece with your loved ones, and watch as they savor every bite, all while making a conscious choice to support a kinder way of eating.

Looking down on a vegan Caprese salad with layers of tomatoes, tofu, and fresh basil.

Vegan Caprese Salad

Elevate your taste buds with a culinary masterpiece that blends the rich heritage of Italy with the compassion of plant-based eating. This creamy Vegan Caprese Salad with tofu mozzarella is a tantalizing symphony of flavors and textures that will transport you to a sun-soaked Mediterranean villa.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Marinade Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 38kcal

Ingredients

Tofu Mozzarella Slices

  • 15 oz block firm tofu
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

Caprese Salad

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 10 medium basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Glaze

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Instructions

For the Tofu Mozzarella Slices:

  • Lightly press the tofu using a tofu press or wrap it in a kitchen towel and cover with a heavy pan.
  • While the tofu presses, zest the lemon. You should have around 3 teaspoons of lemon zest. Then cut the lemon in half and juice the lemon to achieve around ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice.
  • Create a marinade by combing the lemon zest and juice in a shallow lidded dish. Stir in the remaining mozzarella marinade ingredients.
  • Cut pressed tofu block in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half. Then cut the remaining quarters to make a total of 8 rectangle slices.
  • Place the tofu in the dish with the marinade. Use a basting brush or a spoon to drizzle the marinade over the tofu. Cover for 10 minutes. If you have more time, you can let the tofu marinate longer, but I've found 10 minutes works.
    A hand holds a pastry brush, brushing marinade on tofu slices in a small dish. There are lemons and tomatoes and a cutting board nearby.
  • While the tofu marinates, wash the basil leaves and cut the tomatoes into 8 to 10 equal slices.

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • Combine balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a heat-resistant serving dish. Let it cool and then drizzle over the salad. (You can skip this step and buy balsamic glaze, but the homemade version is so simple and delicious).

Salad Assembly

  • On a serving platter add a slice of tomato, followed by a slice of marinated tofu, and a basil leaf. Repeat this layering to use up all the ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and top with freshly ground black pepper and flaky sea salt.
    A hand places tofu on a plate with sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. There is more tofu in a dish, fresh basil leaves, a lemon, and sliced tomatoes nearby.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

Get creative and add different fruit to this salad, such as sliced peaches, strawberries, and more.
Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 546IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.5mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

One Response to Vegan Caprese Salad

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBonnie Reply

    How many tablespoon balsamic vinegar?

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