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Caprese Salad Shooters

Caprese salad shooters are a unique appetizer or side dish to serve this holiday season. It’s the classic caprese salad you know and love, served in an attractive way.

Single-serve, delicious, and elegant, this recipe checks all the boxes for quick and easy Christmas party food. Read on to see how you can make this recipe even easier by using a jar of pesto.

Glasses with pasta, pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella for salad shooters.

Caprese Tortellini Shooters

I love to have quick and easy appetizer ideas for holiday events. Of course, cherry tomato mozzarella salad is good all year, but the colors in these salad shooters are perfect for Christmas parties and the holiday season.

These individual servings of cheese tortellini and classic caprese salad flavors look classy without a lot of effort. You can make your own fresh pesto sauce with only five ingredients, or use a quality brand of jarred pesto to save even more time.

Add the festive little glasses to your holiday table as side dishes, or set them up on an appetizer table and let guests grab them as they please. However you serve this caprese appetizer, it’s sure to please.

Tomatoes, cheese, basil, and other caprese salad ingredients on a table.

Caprese Salad Appetizer Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this recipe. The measurements are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Pine nuts
  • Basil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cheese tortellini
  • Fresh mozzarella pearls
  • Balsamic vinegar

For serving:

  • Small serving dishes, such as shooter glasses, shot glasses, or small mason jars
  • Cocktail forks or appetizer skewers

Caprese Salad Shooter Directions

To make fresh pesto, add the pine nuts to a dry, cold frying pan.

Pine nuts, basil, and cheese in a food processor.

Toast the pine nuts over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Watch them closely as they will burn quickly. Remove them from the pan and let them cool.

Pesto in a food processor.

Add the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and half of the olive oil to a food processor or blender. Process for about 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add more olive oil as needed. Process until you get a drizzly consistency and set aside.

Pasta and tomatoes in a jar with bowls of cheese and tomatoes on the table.

Place a couple of the cherry tomatoes into the bottom of your glasses or jars, followed by the tortellini, mozzarella, and a small spoonful of pesto.

Overhead shot of a jar full of tomatoes, pasta, and pesto.

Continue layering until you reach the tops of your glasses. Top with a drizzle of 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.

Overhead image of caprese salad shooters in glasses.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Caprese Salad Shooters Recipe Notes and FAQ

How to store the leftover pesto.

If you have extra pesto, store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Glasses of caprese salad on a plate and on a serving dish.

Can I make these caprese salad shooters ahead of time?

Sliced tomatoes will create a lot of liquid in the glass over time. If you need to prepare the glasses more than a few hours ahead, use whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar right before serving.

Shooter glasses of caprese salad on plate with ornaments.

Do I have to use mozzarella pearls?

It’s usually easy to find fresh mozzarella pearls, but any fresh mozzarella will work. You can cut Ciliegine into bite-sized pieces if you need to.

Fork full of caprese salad above the glass it's served in.

Do I have to make fresh pesto?

No, you can buy a jar of high-quality pesto if you want to save time.

Glasses of tomato, mozzarella, pesto salad with holiday ornaments on the table.

Can I make caprese kabobs with this recipe?

Yes, you can create caprese skewers by adding the tomatoes, pasta, and mozzarella balls to a skewer. Drizzle them with pesto and balsamic vinegar. You can also add everything to a table and allow your guests to make their own kabobs.

Yield: 12

Caprese Salad Shooters

Glasses with pasta, pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella for salad shooters.

Single-serve caprese salad appetizers to serve during the holiday season.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, such as Colavita
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if desired
  • 1 pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls, drained

Instructions

  1. Add pine nuts to a dry, cold frying pan (no oil). Toast over low heat, stirring frequently, until you smell the pine nuts, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from pan and allow them to cool.
  2. Add basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper, and half of the olive oil to a food processor or blender. Process for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add more olive oil as needed. Continue to process until you reach the desired consistency. It should be drizzly. Set aside.
  3. Place a few tomatoes into the bottom of your serving glass, followed by tortellini, mozzarella pearls, and a bit of pesto. Continue to layer the ingredients until you reach the top of your glass. Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the top.
  4. Serve cold or room temperature.

Notes

  • Use an airtight glass jar to store extra pesto. Place in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can use it on pasta, garlic bread, or roasted veggies.
  • If you need to make the salad shooters ahead of time, use whole cherry tomatoes. Sliced tomatoes will create a lot of liquid in the bottom of the glass. Don't make them more than a few hours earlier. Only drizzle the balsamic vinegar right before serving.
  • If you can't use mozzarella pearls, you can cut any fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces.
  • To save time, use a quality jarred pesto instead of making your own.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 227mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

Nutrition facts are an estimate only.

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Glasses of caprese salad on a table with ornaments.

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