Tomato Basil Caprese Bites are so FUN! This light and tasty appetizer is a play on one of my all-time personal favorite things to eat: Caprese salad. The flavors of whole milk mozzarella, fresh basil, tangy tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar...I crave these things.
This recipe is perfect for parties and fun + healthy snacking. Plus you can make this Caprese appetizer with a few wholesome ingredients that you will feel good about.
And yes, we used three types of cheese.
So I'm in a life-long love affair with cheese. From farm to table, just think of all of the delicious recipes and snacks that we use dairy in. One of my favorite ways to serve cheese is in a traditional Caprese salad.
Insalata Caprese is an Italian salad made from fresh basil leaves, tomatoes, and whole milk mozzarella. You can enjoy it drizzled with olive oil, a little salt + pepper, and balsamic vinegar. So why not make my fave into a new appetizer?
Are you hungry yet?
How to Make Tomato Basil Caprese Bites
To create a delicious Caprese appetizer, you start with a three-cheese filling. Of course, we had to use whole milk mozzarella. There is nothing like it, is there? For this recipe, use finely shredded cheese.
As much as I would love to stuff the cherry tomatoes with just mozzarella, I was looking for a lighter, creamier texture, so I stirred in cream cheese and tangy cottage cheese. You can also make this filling using whole milk ricotta, Greek yogurt and other dairy products. But I felt that the flavors of the cottage cheese and cream cheese were perfectly suited for the tomatoes, basil and balsamic of a Caprese.
The filling is a perfect balance of cheese and creaminess and is the right consistency for piping into the cherry tomatoes. Combined with salt, pepper, and fragrant basil, I could literally eat it from the spoon.
Get more quick bite ideas here:
While the filling sits to let the flavors develop, time to scoop out those tomatoes. We used cherry tomatoes, but feel free to use your favorite cocktail tomato. I would recommend larger than a grape tomato, but smaller than a Roma. Next time I'm going to look for a fun heirloom tomato for these.
Here are the steps to make your tomatoes perfect for these Caprese bites:
- Cut a VERY small slice off of the bottom of the tomato. This will allow it to sit flat on your serving tray instead of rolling around.
- Slice the very top portion off of the top.
- Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds.
- Fill each overflowing with the cheese + basil filling.
To make this process easier, I highly recommend a tomato scooper with the serrated edges. It makes this job a breeze. You can also use a small spoon. My ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon was a perfect size.
Once all of the tomatoes are ready, spoon your prepared filling into a piping bag or plastic bag with a corner snipped off. Be careful not to cut the hole too big. My tip to get the right sized opening? I placed the tip of the bag into the opening of the smallest tomato and snipped off the end with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Then just squeeze the filling into each cherry tomato. Chef's privilege, you can eat one or two as you work.
Love basil? Try these recipes:
To finish this recipe for Tomato Basil Caprese Bites, drizzle the top with a homemade balsamic reduction. (You can get the how-to in our recipe at the end of this post.) Sprinkle with more fresh basil for extra flavor and color and serve.
You can chill these before serving, but I think they taste best at room temperature.
Tell us what you think about this recipe in the comments below.
Tomato Basil Caprese Bites
- 1 cup cottage cheese small curd
- ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese finely shredded
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese softened
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil finely chopped, divided
- 72 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar good quality
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper.
- Fold in half of the chopped basil until well combined. Let the mixture rest while preparing the tomatoes.
- Slice a VERY thin piece off the bottom of each tomato so it will sit flat. Slice a thin layer off of the top of each tomato.
- Using a tomato scoop or small spoon, carefully scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds. Discard.
- Spoon the cheese filling evenly into each prepared tomato.
- In a large stainless steel skillet, heat the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir frequently. Simmer until the mixture has thickened to desired consistency, stirring constantly. Do NOT let it burn.
- Serve the filled tomatoes on a platter drizzled with the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle the top with remaining basil.