Caprese salad is my go-to quick weeknight (or weekend) appetizer, especially in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak (we’re finally getting there, kids!).
Here, I’ve spruced it up by substituting freshly made basil-walnut pesto for the basil chiffonade that usually garnishes this summery salad. Of course, you can always use store-bought pesto instead of homemade to save time, but I promise this small-batch pesto doesn’t take long to put together. I use wallet-friendly walnuts instead of pine nuts to make this a dish you can throw together from what you have in your pantry and garden.
As always, if you’re really into cooking and/or baking, I suggest you invest in a good-quality kitchen scale—they really do make a world of difference. This one is my personal favorite ($50) because it has large readable numbers and a pull-out display, although this one ($22) runs a close second. It’s just a bit smaller in terms of both display and body, but it still does the trick if you’re trying to save some dough. Happy cooking!
Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Pesto Salad
Even this small-batch pesto recipe makes enough that you can spoon it into eggs or onto sandwiches the next day. Pine nuts can be substituted for walnuts. Click here to download a printable copy of this recipe.
1 oz. basil
½ oz. walnuts, toasted
½ oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, smashed
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of pepper
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Make pesto. In a food processor combine the basil, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth. With the processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto reaches a slightly runny consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes alternatively on a platter. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pesto over the salad, and drizzle it with balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately after dressing.