Caprese Salad with Walnut Basil Pesto
Caprese Salad is an easy to make, fresh and delicious starter to any meal. This simple Italian dish usually consists of sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and whole basil leaves – seasoned with salt. The problem I find with the simplicity is that I don’t get enough basil flavor and sometimes find the dish a bit bland. Decided to make a walnut basil pesto to compliment this dish and topped it with a drizzle of an aged high-quality balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have an aged vinegar you can make a balsamic reduction.
The amount of tomatoes & mozzarella you need will depend on how many people you’re serving, I usually reserve a 1 whole medium (to small) tomato per person along with 2 slices of mozzarella. The Walnut Basil Pesto recipe follows and made enough to make 10 – 14 salads.
Walnut Basil Pesto
2 cloves garlic
½ cup walnuts
about 2 cups fresh basil, packed
1 pinch of ground hot pepper
½ Olive Oil*
cup of water**
Add all ingredients except water** into blender or high powered processor and blend. Add water if necessary for consistency. *You can substitute oil for water or soy milk if you’re trying to keep it healthier. (This is an idea a got from a recipe in the book: The Engine 2 Diet)
To prepare the salad:
- Slice Tomatoes and salt them; put on kitchen paper towel, set aside
- Either buy pre-sliced mozzarella or slice yourself. (note: It’s easier to slice mozzarella if you freeze it about 10 minutes prior.)
- To Plate the salad: Add the basil pesto on the bottom of the plate, top with 2 layers of tomato, cheese & whole basil leaves.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar & serve.
Products I used: Balsamic Vinegar is from The Olive Oil Experience and the Hot pepper blend is from the Brazilian amazon. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the pepper it in the states, I bought it in Brazil during one of my travels.