Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing

5 from 1 vote
30 minutes
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Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing is a twist on classic Caprese salad.  It’s easy, impressive and the perfect way to showcase fresh tomatoes!

Photo of Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing on white platter.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

Few things get me more excited in the summertime than being able to pick our own homegrown tomatoes!  I’m a tomato fanatic to begin with and seldom go a day without something tomatoey.

I’m also a Caprese salad fanatic and it’s one of our go-to’s around our house during the summer.   So, when I found this recipe from Bobby Flay in an old 2004 edition of Bon Appetit magazine, it immediately went on my must-make list.

Tapenade is also a passion of ours.  The first time I ever had it was in Paris around 20 years ago.  My husband and I loved it so much, we bought ten jars of it to bring home!  Little did I know at the time how easy it is to make at home!

What is tapenade?

Tapenade is a Provencal spread or dip typically made with olives, capers and anchovies.  Sometimes fresh herbs or lemon juice are added.  The word tapenade comes from the Provencal word for capers, tapenas.  However, Bobby’s recipe didn’t include capers so I just had to trust him.  You can add them if you want just to be traditional, but we enjoyed the tapenade without.

How to make Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing:

  • Start with four beautiful, vine-ripened backyard or farmer’s market tomatoes.
Photo of four tomatoes in white rustic colander.
  • Make the Black Olive Tapenade.  This recipe calls for only a few ingredients:
    • Olive oil
    • Kalamata olives (can also use Nicoise but Kalamata olives are more readily available)
    • Pine Nuts
    • Anchovy paste (Comes in a tube and is a nice alternative to purchasing a small container of anchovies because it will last in your refrigerator for quite a while.  If you have a fish allergy or don’t care for anchovies, use 3 tablespoons of rinsed capers in place of the anchovy paste.)
    • Garlic
Photo of ingredients for tapenade in glass bowls.
  • Simply combine all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and you’re ready to roll!  The olives and anchovy paste are plenty salty so no additional salt is needed.  I did, however, give it some freshly cracked black pepper.  Sooo good!
Photo of finished tapenade in food processor.
  • Next, make the Basil Pesto Dressing.  The ingredients are:
    • Fresh basil
    • Lemon juice
    • Dijon mustard
    • Pine nuts
    • Garlic
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
Photo of basil pesto dressing ingredients.
  • Combine everything but the olive oil in a food processor or blender and process until everything is finely chopped.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to process.  Give it some salt and black pepper to taste and voila!
Photo of basil pesto dressing in food processor.
Photo of basil pesto dressing in small white pitcher.
  • The only other ingredient you’ll need is fresh mozzarella.  I purchase the pre-sliced fresh mozzarella in 1-pound packages from Bel Giosioso which is made in my home state of Wisconsin.
  • Then, slice four beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes into four slices each.
  • You’ll have 16 slices but will only need 15 to make five stacks.  Select the prettiest ones and make a tomato sandwich with the remaining slice.  Or, be like Bobby and dice up any remainder and sprinkle around the stacks.
Photo of 16 tomato slices on wood cutting board.
  • Start the layering process.  Layer as follows:
    • Tomato slice
    • Tapenade
    • Fresh mozzarella
    • Tomato slice
    • Tapenade
    • Fresh mozzarella
    • Tomato slice
Photo of tomato slices on wood cutting board being layered with tapenade and fresh mozzarella.
  • Place the stacks on a serving platter and give them a good dose of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves…
Photo of tomato stacks on white oval platter ready to be dressed and served.

Voila!  Super easy, impressive and they shout summer!

Photo of Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing on white platter.

Enjoy!

Close-up photo of Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing drizzled with dressing and garnished with fresh basil leaves.

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Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing - Close-up hero shot on white platter

Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing

5 from 1 vote

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Pesto Dressing is a twist on classic Caprese salad.  It's easy, impressive and the perfect way to showcase fresh tomatoes!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Salads
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5
Calories 504 kcal

Ingredients
  

Black Olive Tapenade

  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives - firmly packed
  • 2 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Basil Pesto Dressing

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves - packed
  • 2 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Stacks

  • 4 large tomatoes - each sliced into 4 even slices
  • 1 package (16-ounce) fresh sliced mozzarella such as BelGioioso
  • Fresh basil leaves - for garnish

Instructions
 

Black Olive Tapenade

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and wash out the blender or food processor bowl. Refrigerate until needed. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead.)

Basil Pesto Dressing

  • Combine the basil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts and Dijon mustard in a food processor or blender. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Stacks

  • Place 1 tomato slice on each of 5 plates. (Alternately, arrange on a platter.)
  • Top with a tablespoon of the tapenade.
  • Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Repeat layering, finishing each stack with a slice of tomato. (You will have a slice left to enjoy another way.)
  • Spoon some of the dressing over each stack and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: The tapenade can be made 2 days ahead. The basil pesto dressing is best fresh, but can be done a day ahead and refrigerated. Let the basil pesto dressing come to room temperature before serving.
SUBSTITUTIONS: If anchovies are objectionable in any way, use 3 tablespoons drained capers in place of the anchovies.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 36g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1832IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. I love this recipe and make Bobby Flay’s version every summer when my tomatoes ripen. It’s fabulous!

    1. Hi, Kathryn, Thanks so very much and glad you agree! We really enjoyed this twist on the traditional Caprese salad, too! Thanks again!