Pesto “Caprese” Salad

If we’re being honest, this recipe comes from a place of deep and abiding laziness. One night while preparing to have company, I had every intention of coming home from work, cleaning the kitchen, and then prepping the most adorable little caprese salad skewers. You know, like on Pinterest?

Yeah, I didn’t.

You know what I did do? I made this recipe. And it was delicious. It uses the traditional “tomato + mozzarella + basil” formula but replaces the fresh basil with pesto and mixes it all up in a balsamic dressing. The tomatoes and cheese marinate in the balsamic + pesto dressing and when the tomato juice starts to be released, forms this incredible light dressing that works so well on the baby spinach.

This salad makes me miss summer, as I always imagine having it outside on the deck, sipping red wine (though if we’re being honest, there’s really no time or place where I’m not imagining sipping red wine) and enjoying this with a light summer vegetable pasta dish. It’s beautiful, refreshing, and makes a great first course for a dinner party. You can also add grilled chicken for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner!

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Pesto “Caprese” Salad

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz block of mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes OR 4 oz of baby mozzarella pearls
2 tbsp jarred pesto
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups fresh baby spinach

1. Combine the cheese and tomatoes with the pesto, olive oil, and balsamic. Mix well.

2. Marinate the mixture in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours

3. Just before serving, toss with the fresh spinach

4. Serve with shredded or flaked Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top

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