Southwest Caprese Salad

Southwest Caprese salad substitutes queso fresco and a bright cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette to add some flair. It is fresh, vibrant, and full of flavor!

Mix up your go-to salad by trying this southwest version with a bit of a kick! Try topping with tortilla strips for a bit of a crunch. For more scrumptious salads try Waldorf Salad, Antipasto Salad, or Chinese Chicken Salad.

Southwest caprese salad with tomatoes, queso fresco, and cilantro lime vinaigrette

mexican Caprese Salad

A caprese salad typically includes fresh mozzarella and juicy slices of tomato. This southwest version shakes things up a bit and add a bit of a kick!

The southwest flavoring comes from the delicious vinaigrette. The dressing is popping with jalapeño and cilantro, with a touch of citrus acid from the lime juice. The dressing makes this southwest salad sing.

Instead of the traditional fresh mozzarella we added the Mexican touch with queso fresco. This cheese is salty and delicious and really lends to the southwest vibe. I love a good salad, and this one is a winner!

Fresh ingredients for Southwest Caprese Salad recipe

Ingredient Tips

What takes this caprese salad down south?

Queso Fresco: is a soft and slightly tangy white cheese that’s used through Mexican cuisine we used in place of the fresh mozzarella typically found in caprese salad.

Cilantro is a Mexican food signature and takes the place of basil.

Jalapeño: Can you even find southwestern food without this flavorful ingredient! You can easily adjust the amount of heat the jalapeños provide by either removing all of the seeds for a mild flavor, or adding seeds for a spicy flavor.

Ready in Minutes

BLEND. Make the vinaigrette by adding the vinegar, cilantro, sugar, jalapeño, garlic and garlic salt to a blender. While the ingredients are processing gradually add the olive oil. Blend until combined.

STORE. Pour into a airtight container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad.

SALAD SUGGESTIONS. Arrange greens on a serving platter; top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper. Right before serving drizzle ½c of vinaigrette over the salad (the dressing may need to be stirred before pouring). Finally, garnish with the cilantro leaves. Refrigerate the remaining dressing.

Southwest style caprese salad on a white plate

Make Ahead and Store

Make ahead of time: The vinaigrette can be made the day before and stored in a glass jar in the fridge. Give it a good shake before pouring on the salad. 

The tomatoes can also be sliced beforehand and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Assemble the salad up to an hour before serving.

Leftover southwest caprese salad can be stored in an airtight container in the ridge for up to 3 days.

Southwest Caprese Salad on a white plate

For more caprese recipes, try:

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Southwest Caprese Salad Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Southwest caprese salad substitutes queso fresco and a bright cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette to add some flair. It is fresh, vibrant, and full of flavor!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 174 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

Salad

  • 4 c mixed salad greens torn
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes or other tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ c queso fresco crumbled
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp cilantro leaves fresh

Dressing

  • c white wine vinegar
  • ½ c fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded & chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • ¾ tsp garlic salt
  • 2/3 c olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Make the vinaigrette by adding the vinegar, cilantro, sugar, jalapeno, garlic and garlic salt to a blender. While the ingredients are processing gradually add the olive oil. Blend until combined. Pour into a airtight container and store in the fridge until you're ready to serve the salad.
  • Salad: Arrange greens on a serving platter; top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper. Right before serving drizzle ½c of vinaigrette over the salad (the dressing may need to be stirred before pouring). Finally, garnish with the cilantro leaves. Refrigerate the remaining dressing.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a light and refreshing salad! We love bringing it to parties and get togethers.