Fresh, plump red tomatoes just picked are a true highlight of summer. And there are few better combinations than salty mozzarella and said tomato. Add a handful of basil and a drizzle of balsamic, and you have an instant summer lunch. We took things up a notch for this vegan caprese by adding sweet grilled peaches and a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette drizzle. Plus, the best tips to assembling a perfect layered caprese.
How to Grill Peaches
If you haven’t grilled peaches before, get ready. There’s something about a few minutes on the grill that transforms these already wonderful fuzzy fruits into richly sweet and caramelized gems.
First: choose the right fruit
When you’re planning to grill your peaches, there are a few things to keep in mind at the market. You certainly want ripe fruit. Check the peaches to ensure they offer a little give when pressed gently. Anything rock-hard was picked too early and won’t have that sweetness you know and love. Anything too mushy will release too much liquid into the caprese.
Secondly, look for peaches of a larger size. Remember that you’re adding them to the grill, and you don’t want them to slip through the grates! For this vegan caprese salad, you’ll also be slicing the peaches into rounds. Larger peaches will give you more bang for your buck after slicing and removing the pit.
To slice the peaches for this salad, start by halving each peach. Then, remove the pit. Finally, slice each half into planks. You want them thick enough that you can easily pick them up with a spatula from the grill.
Second: Grill with care
Once you’ve sliced your peaches into perfect little rings, it’s time to light up the grill. Preheat the grill to medium for this grilled peach caprese. Give your grates a good scrape to avoid blackening your pretty peaches with last night’s dinner.
And before adding the fruit to the grill, be sure to slick each peach slice with extra-virgin olive oil on both sides. The fruit’s natural sugars can cause the peach slices to stick to the grill, so the olive oil is highly necessary to avoid a big mess!
To handle the delicate peach slices on the grill, we recommend a light and flexible fish spatula. Though designed for flaky fish, it’s incredibly useful for flipping all sorts of finicky ingredients. And whether you become a regular peach griller or not, you’ll be glad to have a fish spat on hand!
Once your peaches are gooey and charred, slide those bad boys right off the heat and back onto your cutting board to cool slightly.
How to assemble a beautiful layered caprese salad
The pairing of classic tomato and vegan mozzarella with warmed grilled peaches is unexpected and delightful. This layered vegan salad is sure to turn heads, and we have all the tips you need to easily assemble the perfect layered caprese.
First tip to a perfect layered caprese: Slice similarly
Before assembly comes prep. Start your layered caprese by slicing the tomatoes and vegan mozzarella into similarly sized rounds. We use this brand of dairy-free mozzarella because it tastes so fresh and similar to the real thing.
The key to a perfect looking layered caprese salad is to slice everything to the same thickness. It keeps things visually uniform, makes it easy to assemble the layers, and makes sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Second tip to a perfect layered caprese: Work in a circle
After slicing your tomatoes and vegan mozzarella, let’s assemble the prefect layered caprese salad with grilled peaches. We recommend an oval or circular platter or plate, but really any shape will do.
Start with a tomato slice, which is heartier and will hold up well. Lay a sliver of grilled peach on top, hanging the peach over the edge so the bottom rests on the platter. You should see a bit of the tomato above the peach. Repeat with a mozzarella round. And start again! Tomato, peach, vegan mozz. And around and around you’ll go.
You can dress things up a bit by sliding a fresh green leaf of basil in between a slice every so often too. Or, you can simply scatter small basil leaves over the finished and dressed salad. Either way, you’ll want to get a little bit of every ingredient in each bite. Really, once you get started assembling this vegan grilled peach caprese, the layered technique is very easy!
Finally: Dress up your vegan caprese with homemade balsamic vinaigrette
We love a simple balsamic vinaigrette to dress weeknight salads. We drizzled a basil-packed vinaigrette over this delicous and refreshing corn, avocado, and arugula salad. And we punched up this cucumber, grapefruit and avocado spinach salad with a zesty pomegranate-citrus vinaigrette.
For this vegan caprese, we wanted to compliment the sweet grilled peaches with a touch of maple syrup in the balsamic vinaigrette. Added to the classic olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, the maple syrup adds a note of intensity that goes beyond sweetness. We’ve long expressed our love for high-quality maple syrup for its wide range of culinary uses from savory to sweet, breakfast to dinner. Though we my reach for the sweet sap more in chillier months, there’s no reason to hold back in the summer! Add a drop to this balsamic vinaigrette and you have the perfect dressing for a refreshing vegan grilled peach caprese.
Now you’ve assembled a gorgeous layered vegan caprese with grilled peaches, and drizzled the platter with your homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The final step is a sprinkle of crunchy flaky salt and a handful of fresh basil leaves for garnish!
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We took classic flavors up a notch for this vegan caprese by adding sweet grilled peaches and a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette drizzle to fresh tomato and dairy-free mozzarella.
For the caprese salad:
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- 3 ripe peaches
- Olive oil
- Vegan mozzarella-style cheese (we used this)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (torn or whole)
- Pepper and flaky salt for garnish
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp balsamic
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat grill to medium.
- Slice peaches into rounds. Do so by cutting along the center, then removing the pit. Be careful not to slice them too thin – otherwise they won’t hold up well on the grill.
- Brush each peach round with a bit of olive oil. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly on a cutting board.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette, or add to a jar and shake well.
- Arrange peaches, tomatoes and mozz on a platter, then drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette, top with a handful of fresh basil leaves and freshly cracked black pepper and flaky salt.
This should be served right away – the peaches will start to get pretty soggy.
Keywords: Vegan grilled peach caprese with balsamic vinagrette