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Give Your Caprese Salad a Boost with Grilled Eggplant

When it comes to Caprese salad, the combination of tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella is a classic, refreshing choice. However, sometimes this light dish may not leave you feeling completely satisfied. Instead of adding meat, which can overpower the delicate flavors, why not try something different?

Grilled eggplant is a fantastic option that brings a slightly sweet and smoky flavor, as well as much-needed texture, to the salad.

While it may not be a traditional ingredient, eggplant pairs beautifully with the existing flavors and adds a hearty element that transforms the salad into a more substantial meal.

Plus, it brings an array of health benefits, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants. So, the next time you’re looking to give your Caprese salad a little boost, consider adding grilled eggplant for a delicious and nutritious twist.

Give Your Caprese Salad a Boost with Grilled Eggplant

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Benefits of adding Grilled Eggplant to Caprese salad

Enhances flavors

Grilled eggplant adds a depth of flavor to Caprese salad. Its slightly sweet and smoky taste complements the mild mozzarella and juicy tomato. The combination of these flavors creates a delicious harmony that elevates the overall taste of the salad.

Provides toothsome texture

The addition of grilled eggplant provides a toothsome texture to the Caprese salad. The soft and creamy texture of the mozzarella is balanced by the firm and slightly chewy texture of the eggplant. This contrast in textures adds a satisfying mouthfeel to each bite.

Adds nutrients

While Caprese salad is already a nutritious dish, adding grilled eggplant further enhances its nutritional value. Eggplant is a powerhouse of essential nutrients, including manganese, potassium, vitamins K and C, and fiber. These nutrients support overall health and well-being.

Offers antioxidant properties

Eggplant contains antioxidants that help protect against cell damage caused by harmful substances in the body. These antioxidants, combined with the ones present in basil, provide an extra boost of health benefits when added to the Caprese salad.

Nutritional value of Caprese salad


Vitamin-rich tomatoes

Tomatoes are a major component of Caprese salad and are packed with essential vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A. These vitamins contribute to healthy skin, a strong immune system, and good vision.

Protein-filled mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. It also provides calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Antioxidant properties of basil

Basil, a staple herb in Caprese salad, contains antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidative stress and contribute to chronic diseases.

Healthy fats in olive oil

Olive oil, used as a dressing in Caprese salad, is a source of healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and improved cholesterol levels.

Probiotics in balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, another component of Caprese salad, contains probiotics that support a healthy gut. Probiotics help maintain a balanced microbiome and promote digestion.

Additional health benefits of eggplant


In addition to the nutritional benefits mentioned earlier, eggplant also contains phenolic compounds that have been studied for their potential anti-cancer effects. Including grilled eggplant in Caprese salad can provide an extra dose of these beneficial compounds.

The history of Caprese salad

Origin and symbolism

Caprese salad originated in Italy, specifically on a small island called Capri in the Bay of Naples. It was created in the 1920s to represent the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. The salad’s patriotic symbolism quickly gained popularity.

Rise in popularity

Although Caprese salad was initially created for symbolic reasons, its delicious taste contributed to its rise in popularity. In the 1950s, the salad became widely known and appreciated for its simplicity and fresh flavors.

Traditional ingredients

The traditional ingredients of Caprese salad include tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. These ingredients are selected for their complementary flavors and textures, creating a classic combination.

Importance of freshness

One of the key aspects of Caprese salad is the use of fresh and high-quality ingredients. Fresh tomatoes, ripe mozzarella, and fragrant basil are crucial for capturing the essence of this Italian dish. The freshness of the ingredients enhances the overall taste and quality of the salad.

Ingredients for a Classic Caprese Salad



Tomatoes are the star ingredient of Caprese salad. Opt for ripe, juicy tomatoes that are bursting with flavor. Varieties like Roma, beefsteak, or heirloom tomatoes work well in this salad.

Fresh mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella cheese provides a creamy and mild taste to the Caprese salad. Look for mozzarella that comes in brine, as it has a softer and more delicate texture than the dry kind.


Basil brings a fresh and aromatic element to the salad. Choose fresh basil leaves and tear them into smaller pieces before adding them to the salad.

Olive oil

High-quality extra virgin olive oil is the ideal choice for dressing Caprese salad. Its fruity and robust flavor complements the other ingredients perfectly.

Balsamic vinegar

Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the salad for a touch of tanginess. Look for aged balsamic vinegar for a more complex and rich flavor.

How to Grill Eggplant for Caprese salad


Selecting the right eggplant

Choose eggplants that are firm and glossy, with a deep purple color. Avoid ones that have soft spots or wrinkled skin.

Preparing the eggplant

Slice the eggplant into rounds or lengthwise strips, depending on your preference. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the slices and let them sit for about 30 minutes to draw out any excess moisture.

Grilling Techniques

Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil to prevent sticking and add flavor. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and grill the eggplant for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender and lightly charred.

Steps to Assemble a Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad

Slicing and grilling the eggplant

Follow the grilling techniques mentioned earlier to prepare the grilled eggplant slices. Once cooked, allow the slices to cool before assembling the salad.

Arranging the ingredients

Arrange the grilled eggplant slices, tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese on a platter or individual plates. Alternate the layers for an aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Drizzling with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar over the assembled salad. Use a generous amount to enhance the flavors and add a touch of acidity.

Adding seasoning and garnish

Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper over the salad to enhance the taste. Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a pop of color and added freshness.

Tips for serving grilled eggplant Caprese salad

Pairing with crusty bread

Serve grilled eggplant Caprese salad with crusty bread or baguette slices. This allows you to scoop up the salad and enjoy the combination of flavors and textures in each bite.

Adding additional toppings

If desired, you can customize your grilled eggplant Caprese salad by adding additional toppings. Consider adding roasted red peppers, olives, or pine nuts for extra flavor and texture.

Serving as a main dish or appetizer

Grilled eggplant Caprese salad can be enjoyed as a main dish or appetizer. Serve it as a light and refreshing lunch or dinner option or as a tasty starter for a larger meal.

Variations of grilled eggplant Caprese salad

Adding other vegetables

Experiment with adding other grilled vegetables to the Caprese salad. Zucchini, bell peppers, or onions can provide additional flavors and textures that complement the eggplant.

Incorporating different types of cheese

While mozzarella is the traditional cheese used in Caprese salad, you can also try using other types of cheese. Goat cheese or feta cheese can add a tangy and creamy element to the salad.

Experimenting with dressings and marinades

Instead of the classic olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, try experimenting with different dressings and marinades. Lemon vinaigrette, honey mustard dressing, or a pesto marinade can all add a unique twist to your grilled eggplant Caprese salad.

Other dishes to incorporate grilled eggplant

Sandwiches and wraps

Grilled eggplant is a delicious addition to sandwiches and wraps. Layer it with other ingredients like roasted red peppers, fresh greens, and a spread of your choice for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Pasta dishes

Toss grilled eggplant into pasta dishes for a hearty and flavorful twist. It pairs well with tomato-based sauces and can add a touch of smokiness to the overall dish.

Grain bowls

Add grilled eggplant to grain bowls for a nutritious and filling meal. Combine it with grains like quinoa or farro, along with fresh vegetables, protein, and a drizzle of dressing.


Enhancing the classic Caprese salad with grilled eggplant takes this already delicious dish to new heights. The addition of grilled eggplant enhances the flavors, provides toothsome texture, adds nutrients, and offers antioxidant properties.

Caprese salad itself is a nutritious option, with its vitamin-rich tomatoes, protein-filled mozzarella, antioxidant-filled basil, healthy fats in olive oil, and probiotics in balsamic vinegar. Grilled eggplant complements these ingredients perfectly and adds its own health benefits.

The history of Caprese salad showcases its origin and rise in popularity while emphasizing the importance of using fresh ingredients. The ingredients for a classic Caprese salad include tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Grilling eggplant for the salad involves selecting the right eggplant, preparing it, and using proper grilling techniques. The steps to assemble a grilled eggplant Caprese salad involve slicing and grilling the eggplant, arranging the ingredients, drizzling with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and adding seasoning and garnish.

Tips for serving the salad include pairing it with crusty bread, adding additional toppings, and serving it as a main dish or appetizer. Variations of grilled eggplant Caprese salad allow for creativity in incorporating other vegetables, and different types of cheese, and experimenting with dressings and marinades.

Grilled eggplant can also be incorporated into other dishes like sandwiches and wraps, pasta dishes, and grain bowls. By adding grilled eggplant to Caprese salad, you can enjoy the benefits of this versatile vegetable and elevate the flavors of a classic Italian dish.


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Grill Crafted

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