You want your appetiser to be delicious, however, you want it to be easy and stress free too. And that is where these caprese skewers come into play. A 10 minute appetiser, they’re light, vegetarian and gluten free!!
If you’re wondering what caprese salad is, it’s an Italian salad (same colours of the Italian flag if you haven’t realised) made with tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese, that’s it, just 3 simple ingredients! And I am using cherry tomatoes to make this appetiser since they are much more suitable for making skewers.
What’s so awesome about caprese salad is you can serve it in so many simple ways. You can serve it in pasta salads, on crackers, you can serve it with cured meats like prosciutto to make your caprese salad a bit more unique, and when you think about it, a margherita is basically a cooked caprese salad on a pizza. Oh and caprese salad is perfect for summer BBQ and picnic gatherings.
It’s a stupid simple dish to prepare, yet somehow those 3 ingredients make for such an amazing combination. You definitely cannot go wrong with it, however, can you change it up? Let’s find out shall we.
Can you use different cheeses?
I would say absolutely!! Some wouldn’t approve because it won’t be traditional any more and don’t get me wrong, I am all for never forgetting where and how the original dish came to life however, if you don’t experiment and try new things, you’ll never continue to improve and make other amazing creations.
So let’s go over some other different cheeses you could use:
Cubed Cheddar – This is probably as classic as it gets, so it may be a good idea to experiment with sharper, more matured cheddar.
Cubed Feta – This cheese has the power to elevate just about any salad with that beautiful satisfying saltiness!
It would be amazing on these skewers, and it’s also amazing in this Grilled Peach and Nectarine Salad I made earlier.
Camembert – Yes, it’s a soft cheese but it’s just firm enough to hold it’s shape on a skewer. And since it’s a richer cheese, the basil and tomato will make the perfect flavour balance.
Halloumi – A cheese that has slowly grown on me over the years. And the fact that it’s a non melting cheese makes it perfect for a dish like this!
Halloumi cheese also works beautifully in my Epic Halloumi, Chorizo and Walnut Salad.
How do I make mini caprese skewers?
In my opinion, this is the best way to serve caprese salad. It’s very simple, you just cut the cherry tomatoes is half first, then you have a flat surface. Then I just start threading the ingredients on a toothpick.
So the way I stack the skewer is by piercing the cheese, then a leaf of basil, then one half of a cherry tomato, another basil leaf and then the other half of the cherry tomato, making sure that the flat side of that halved tomato is face down.
A very easy way to make the caprese salad presentable.
Could I just buy balsamic glaze?
Yes, but here are some things you may want to consider.
- Will you continue to use it or will it just sit there in your pantry?
- Is it more expensive than balsamic vinegar at your local supermarket?
- Making your own balsamic glaze is incredibly easy.
- When you make your own balsamic glaze, you can make as little or as much as you want.
Remember, balsamic glaze is just reduced balsamic vinegar.
So if you don’t think you’ll use balsamic glaze very often after buying it, then you can just make your own using the vinegar. That way you wont waste anything because you only need to make enough for the one dish. And if balsamic glaze is more expensive than the vinegar, you’ll save money as well.
How do I know when my balsamic glaze is thick enough?
Easy, you get a spoon, and you dip the back of that spoon in the glaze.
Next, use your finger to draw a line on the back of the spoon, if the line holds it’s shape, that is a good sign that it’s thick enough.
You only have to reduce the vinegar by half, and at first, it may still look like it’s still too thin, but that is only because the glaze hasn’t cooled down yet. Once it’s cooled, it goes much thicker.
I have actually seen a few people reduce balsamic vinegar by 75%, which I think is a bit too much because the glaze turns a bit too syrup like for my personal taste, but that is just my opinion. And if you feel like your glaze has gone too thick, you can just add a splash of extra balsamic vinegar to loosen it up a bit.
If you want to know how you drizzle the balsamic glaze with more control to make your dishes look really nice, check out my Roasted Cherry Tomato & Garlic Bread Bruschetta post!
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Mini Caprese Skewers Appetiser with Balsamic Glaze
Cherry Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil all stacked on top of one another to make beautiful caprese skewers. Finished with Balsamic glaze.
- 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
Mini Caprese Skewers:
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 10 small balls of mozzarella (bocconcini)
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
Put the balsamic vinegar in a pot, then heat up over high heat.
Once the balsasmic vinegar is boiling, reduce the heat to about medium flame, then let it boil until it reduces to 50%.
Once the vinegar has reduced down to a glaze, store it in away in a small bowl or container, cover and leave in the fridge.
Mini Caprese Skewers:
Cut all of your cherry tomatoes in half.
Thread your bocconcini on a toothpick, then thread a basil leaf, then thread on one half of a cherry tomato, then another basil leaf and finally, thread another half of a cherry tomato on the toothpick flat side down so you can stand the skewer up.
Keep doing this until you have made all of your caprese skewers.
Finish the mini skewers by drizzling them with a bit of balsamic glaze then serve.
Feel free to experiment with different cheeses.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and use the flat side of the halved cherry tomato to stand the mini skewer upright.
Making your own balsamic glaze may be a better option if you don't think you'll use a store bought glaze very often.
Reduce the glaze by half, and to see if it's is thick enough, coat the glaze on the back of a spoon and draw a line with your finger. If the line holds it's shape, it's thick enough.
Wait for the glaze to cool before you use it.
If you don't have basil, use whatever green, lettuce leaf, herb etc. you want. Spinach, cos lettuce, mint....you name it.
Caprese salad can be fantastic summer food and would be perfect for a BBQ or picnic gathering.