Balsamic Caprese Panini

$2.36 each

This sandwich is nothing short of fantastic. Caprese salad is simply slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s a fresh, summertime classic. I went a step further and sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on the bread to just kick everything up a notch. Oh so good!

There are two must haves for this sandwich: a hearty, crusty bread and fresh mozzarella. The bread has to be able to stand up to the vinegar and the mozzarella has to be moist, soft and very fresh tasting like fresh mozz is. You’ll find the fresh mozz in the specialty cheese section. It’s usually in a ball and packed in liquid and definitely worth splurging on every now and then.

While this sandwich is on the more expensive side of Budget Byte meals, it is still far less than the $8 that this would cost at the local po’boy shop. But, this was kind of a celebratory meal for me so I allowed myself to splurge. Also, if you grow your own basil (which I intend to do very very soon) then you’ll cut the price significantly. This sandwich would also be fantastic on some no-knead focaccia, which would also cost far less than the 3 ft long baguette that I bought. Oh well, next time!

Balsamic Caprese Panini

Balsamic Caprese Panini

balsamic caprese panini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $2.36
Serves: 1
  • 6 inches french bread $0.41
  • 1 medium roma tomato $0.37
  • 1 oz. fresh mozzarella $0.49
  • 4-5 large basil leaves $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.11
  • to taste salt and pepper $0.05
  1. Wash and slice the tomato. Cut 3-4 thin slices of the mozzarella (about 1 oz. total). Remove the basil leaves from the stem.
  2. Slice the baguette in half and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over the open surfaces. Place the tomato and mozzarella slices on the bread in alternating layers. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the basil leaves on top and either serve cold or place in a countertop grill (like my George Foreman), a panini press, or cook in a skillet until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.


Extra basil can be kept in the refrigerator or even frozen. Frozen basil will wilt upon thawing but will retain all of it’s potent flavor which makes it great for soups, sauces, or dressings.

Step By Step Photos

fresh mozzarellaThis is the fresh mozzarella that I used. This brand is fairly common and can be found in most major grocery stores. Oh look! They have a picture of a caprese salad right on the label! …just noticed that.

caprese ingredientsSlice the tomato, cut a few thin slices of cheese and pull a few big leaves off of the basil stems.

balsamic and breadSlice the french bread in half and drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the open sides. I used two tablespoons of balsamic this time but next time I might try just one.

tomato cheese layersMake alternating layers of tomato and mozzarella on the baguette.

basil salt pepperSprinkle on a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with fresh basil and serve. Or…

grillGrill it in a George Foreman, a panini press or cook it in a skillet. I loved it panini style! So good!

balsamic caprese panini


  1. hey… do ya mind changing your website back? its kinda hard to look at things because everything is so distracting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We just made these with cheese we made ourselves! It was amazingly yummy! Need to find more recipes with mozzarella to show off our yummy cheese making skills!

  3. Just made this this afternoon – SO delicious! I even forgot the salt and pepper and it was still amazing…. YUM! Thanks, Beth!

  4. We made this today on rosemary focaccia bread. Oh my goodness yum!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sooo yummy! Combined this with a potato corn chowder for a perfect veggie meal

  6. I make tomato mozzarella salad all the time in the summer but never thought about a panini. I made this tonight and it was fantastic. My bread was a little on the thick side so it took a while to cook on my George Foreman but so worth the wait.

  7. You are a true culinary champion! This recipe is so refreshing. Thank you for maintaining a stellar food blog.

  8. Fresh mozzarella is one of the few things I’ll splurge on. It’s so darned good!

  9. Oh my, I’m in love.

  10. So beth already knows, but i made this for lunch today and it was amazing! I made myself a bigger portion than i thought i would eat because i wanted to have enough, and then i finished the entire sandwich. I think i’ll have this for lunch tomorrow too!

  11. That IS a great reason to celebrate. Congrats!

  12. It was my last day of school EVER. And if anyone hears me talking about going back AGAIN, please slap me up side the head. (Graduating with my second degree in Medical Laboratory Science on May 19th – first degree was in Nutritional Science)

  13. Looks yummy… but are you going to tell us what you were celebrating?!

  14. Seriously, what is it about mozz + tomato + basil + balsamic that is so perfect? It couldn’t be simpler, and yet it’s just the most heavenly combination on earth. I guess it really is the little things in life.

    I bet this sandwich is awesome after a little time on the grill. I’d also toss some oregano on there! Yum.

  15. I think I will have this for lunch tomorrow. Yum!!!

  16. I want one of these RIGHT NOW! Caprese is one of my all-time favorites, and there’s so many ways to interpret it.

  17. Oh my holy goodness. That’s like my perfect summer on french bread.

  18. YUM!

  19. Oh yeah. Good and cheap. That’s right up my alley!!

  20. YUM! SO much cheaper then buying it anywhere!

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