We have this Caprese Salad all summer long, on repeat! It’s that good!
Lately we’ve had to up our salad game. Since we are having them every single night, it can’t be the same lettuce salad, it just can’t! In fact I noticed that my husband will get a lot more excited about lettuce free salads and if I throw some cheese in, he is all in!
This Pesto Caprese Salad is a variation on the classic and it is currently the winner in our house. What makes this Caprese Salad over the top delicious is marinating tiny mozzarella ball aka bocconcini in freshly made pesto, which imparts dizzyingly fragrant flavour of basil into the soft cheese.
If you are worried about making pesto from scratch, don’t be!! All you need for it is a handful of ingredients and a food processor or a blender and 5 minutes of your time. Although a huge variety of prepared pesto is available in supermarkets, nothing can be compared to making your own. The freshness and its delicious and vibrant taste will absolutely blow you away!
Another ingredient that makes this Caprese salad a winner is a mix of cherry tomatoes. I have included a cherry tomato of every shade and colour I could find! Red, yellow, pale yellow, orange and green! Have we got ourselves a rainbow? I think we are pretty close.
The single most important rule to making the best Caprese salad is using only the top ingredients since the salad is so simple, the flavour relies on great produce. Fresh and ripe tomatoes are of paramount importance and the same goes for mozzarella. I used fresh bocconcini mozzarella here but mozzarella di bufala or buffalo mozzarella is my absolute favourite if I am honest.
One last word about using balsamic vinegar. It seems that many recipes feature that ingredient however it is not authentic and in my humble opinion overpowers the delicate taste of tomatoes and mozzarella, so I never ever use it in my Caprese Salad.
Try this Sausage and Broccoli Pasta with Herb and Garlic Breadcrumbs with my Caprese Salad for a fabulous Italian dinner at home!
- 50g/1 cup fresh basil
- 50g/1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 50g/1/2cup Parmesan cheese or Grana Padano
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lemon only juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 salt
- 125g/1/2 cup bocconcini mozzarella
- 200g/1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 tsp salt
In a food processor combine basil leaves, almonds, Parmesan cheese, the juice of one lemon and minced garlic, process until smooth. With the motor of the food processor still running add olive oil. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary.
An hour before serving the salad pour half of the prepared basil pesto over bocconcini, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Reserve the rest of the pesto for another use. (It keeps well in the fridge for up to one week.)
On a large serving place arrange halved cherry tomatoes, marinated in basil pesto bocconcini mozzarella and basil leaves, sprinkle with some salt (Maldon flaked sea salt works great here) and drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over. Serve immediately.