What do you get when you mix grilled summer squash with grilled peppers and onions and a tomato mozzarella salad? An amazing grilled vegetable platter, that’s what. Drizzled with syrupy balsamic and finished with fresh basil, this Grilled Vegetable Tomato Mozzarella Caprese is a delicious summer vegetable salad.
It’s time for grilled vegetable tomato mozzarella caprese. Why? Because it’s mid-summer and the gardens and markets are flooded with tender squash, sweet onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. Therefore, we need summer vegetable recipes that put this bounty to good use.
As a kid, squash and zucchini were my least favorite vegetables (behind eggplant, of course). But I think that’s because we usually had them stewed or simmered to the point where they were nothing but mush. But when flame-kissed on the Weber, grilled summer squash isn’t mushy at all. It’s smoky, tender and all around delicious. So for the grilled vegetable tomato mozzarella caprese, I start with thin planks of zucchini and squash.
Next comes the onions. I’ve always loved grilled onion and would secretly snitch the charred ends for myself. In this grilled vegetable platter, try sweet onions, like Vidalia or Walla Walla.
PRO TIP: To make the onions easier to handle on the grill (and to prevent them from slipping between the grates — lollipop them. Stick the pointy end of a 6″ skewer through the side of a sliced onion — just to the center point. This will prevent the onion from falling apart into rings and make them a whole lot easier to flip on the grill. Try it.
Lightly brush the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
Lay the vegetables perpendicular to the grates on the grill — another way to ensure they don’t slip through. For flipping, I like using grilling tongs instead of a spatula. I think of tongs as an extension of my hand — that’s really how they work and it gives you more dexterity to turn and adjust the grilled summer squash as well as grilled peppers and onions.
When the vegetables are tender and have some char marks, transfer the grilled summer vegetables to a platter or sheet pan to rest for a few minutes.
While the vegetables rest, cut the mozzarella into rounds. Now you could simply slice a ball of mozzarella with a knife and that’s perfectly acceptable, but the food blogger in me is all about presentation — so I reach for a small biscuit cutter to make consistently sized and shaped spheres… I know – that sounds very OCD so if you don’t share in my quest for uniformity, this step is completely optional.
Slice several varieties of tomatoes to layer into the grilled vegetable platter. I had some red Roma tomatoes as well as a few heirloom varieties. You can group the vegetables on the platter or layer them like a traditional caprese salad but the idea is to showcase the beautiful colors and grill marks.
Drizzle the grilled vegetable tomato caprese with aged balsamic vinegar of Modena, which is sweet and tangy — and pours more like a syrup than a vinegar.
Trust me, you want this on your grilled vegetables and fresh mozzarella.
Finish with a chiffonade of fresh basil and serve warm or at room temperature. I brought this grilled vegetable tomato mozzarella caprese to a birthday party a few weeks ago and one of the guests got so excited when she saw the bright colors and fresh veg, telling me it was just the way she likes to eat! I’ll call that a win!
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Grilled Vegetable Caprese
Served chilled or at room temperature, this tasty riff on caprese salad is the perfect side dish for a summer barbecue or cookout.
- 2 medium zucchini sliced into 1/4" thick vertical planks
- 2 medium yellow squash sliced into 1/4" thick vertical planks
- 2 sweet bell peppers
- 1 large vidalia onion sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sprinkle salt and pepper
- 1 large heirloom tomato sliced into 1/4" thick slices
- 2 plum tomatoes sliced into 1/4" thick slices
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 4-5 leaves fresh basil
Heat the grill to a medium heat - about 425°-450°.
Depress a 4" wooden skewer into the side of the sliced vidalia onion so that it pierces all the interior rings and holds them together like a lollipop (that's so the onion doesn't fall apart and slip through the grill grates.)
Use a sharp knife to trim the top and bottom of the bell peppers so that its hollow when you look through it. Make a slit along one side of the pepper and lay it flat on a cutting board. Trim the ribs and seeds from the pepper and discard.
Brush the zucchini, squash, peppers and onion with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Place the vegetables on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side before flipping them and grilling for an additional 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a sheet pan to rest.
Slice the mozzarella into 1/4" slices and if you'd like a more uniform look - use a small 2" biscuit cutter to cut the mozzarella into rounds. (the leftover bits are for the chef to enjoy).
Use a medium platter with a rim to layer the vegetables, tomatoes and mozzarella. Drizzle the the aged balsamic.
Stack the basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a tight "cigar" shape. Thinly slice the basil, crosswise to create a chiffonade and sprinkle over the platter of vegetables. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Can be made several hours before serving, covered and refrigerated.
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