This summer, I have decidedly planted myself at home. I love my family and there is nowhere I would rather be so long as I am with them. However, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t felt the slightest pang of longing yesterday as I took a virtual tour of Sorrento, Italy while scrolling through Instagram (apparently everyone I know has reconvened to Italy for the summer). It’s been 4 years since I’ve been, but I still remember every meal I ate – partially because 50% of my meals consisted of Nutella gelato. And as I reminisced, it occurred to me that I hadn’t paid homage to my Italian heritage lately – a senseless crime against my proud roots. With the heat though, the thought of standing over a boiling pot of capellini – even for the 4 minutes it takes to cook al dente – sounded absolutely terrible. So, instead, I thought I would highlight one of my favorite Italian antipastos with a slight twist. This caprese medley salad is tossed in a basil balsamic vinaigrette and has all the flavors of Italy served on a bed of fresh romaine. I may not be on a cobblestone road with gelato in my hand, but I’ll gladly settle for fresh tomatoes and mozzarella in the company of the ones I love.
Prep Time: 10 min
Calories per serving: 285 cal
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 can quartered artichokes
- 1/2 avocado diced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
- 1 heart of romaine
- balsamic reduction (I buy Nonna Pia’s classic)
For the Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (roughly juice of 2 lemons)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Start by preparing the balsamic basil vinaigrette. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Pulse the ingredients until the dressing is fully emulsified and the basil has been completely pulverized. Pour the contents into a mason jar and store in the fridge until you are ready to toss it in with the caprese.
- Next, take a colander or strainer and pour out the can of artichokes. Thoroughly shake off any excess moisture from the artichokes and set aside.
- Now, measure out and rinse the cherry tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes, slicing vertically from stem to end, and set these aside as well.
- Using the colander or strainer from earlier, now measure out the mozzarella pearls and shake off any excess moisture. Set aside.
- Slice an avocado in half and dice one of the halves into thick, uniform chunks.
- Now, take a large bowl and combine all prepped ingredients (artichoke, tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado). Take the vinaigrette from the fridge and start by adding half of the dressing to the bowl. Toss the ingredients in the dressing and gradually add more dressing if desired. *Store any extra dressing in the fridge for up to a week.*
- To plate the salad, wash and dry the romaine, adding two large leaves to each plate. Spoon the caprese onto the romaine and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Bon appétit!