Caprese Salad With Creamy Pesto Dressing

by Jo

Oh I cannot begin to tell you how delicious, light and clean this dish is. It is absolutely, categorically made for Summer evenings! I served this to my husband on a hot June evening and he said it was the nicest meal he had eaten in a long time. That is just how good this simple dish is!

Recipe for Caprese Salad with Pesto Dressing

Caprese salads are wonderful and full of such beautiful, vibrant colours. But this is elevated with a sublime creamy pesto dressing that makes everything on the plate sing with fresh flavour. Not to mention the glorious bright green colour of it! Pure joy on a plate! This caprese salad is served with a side of rustic herby toasted bread which is ideal for mopping up all those incredible tomato juices and any leftover pesto dressing.

Ingredients

  • Serves 2

For the caprese salad:

  • 300g of vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 250g mozzarella
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the creamy pesto dressing:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g parmesan, grated
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp sour cream

For the toasted bread:

  • 4 slices sourdough
  • Butter
  • Mixed herbs
  • Balsamic vinegar

Method

Start by cutting up your tomatoes. I like to keep it rustic so instead of evenly slicing them I cut into rough quarters and sixths for a mix of sizes texture. Add these to a bowl with your finely slices red onion pieces. Tear your mozzarella into bite size pieces and add to the bowl. Again, torn mozzarella adds more texture than neatly chopped.

Add to the bowl the olive oil and oregano. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss together to combine the ingredients.

Now let’s make that incredible creamy pesto dressing. Add the basil, olive oil, grated parmesan, pine nuts, garlic cloves and sour cream to a food processor and blitz until a smooth and creamy in consistency. Add this to a little jug ready for serving.

Finally it’s rustic toast time. Butter your bread both sides and sprinkle with the mixed herbs as well as salt and pepper. Toast in a griddle pan until nicely toasted with a little char for character. Once toasted finish with a splash of balsamic over the top and slice up.

Add your caprese salad to a dish with the toast served alongside. I like to have the creamy pesto dressing on the side so people can enjoy the colours of the salad on serving, and then spoon over that incredible green dressing themselves.

Recipe Overview

Caprese Salad With Creamy Pesto Dressing

Clean, fresh vibrant flavours make this light meal perfect for hot days.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Caprese, pesto, salad
Servings: 2
Calories: 770kcal
Cost: £4.50

Equipment

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Bowl
  • Food processor
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

For the Caprese salad:

  • 300 g vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 Red onion, sliced finely
  • 250 g Mozzarella, torn into bitesize pieces
  • 1.5 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

For the pesto dressing:

  • 1 Large bunch of fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 30 g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp Sour cream

For the herby toast

  • 4 Slices of sourdough bread
  • Butter
  • Mixed herbs
  • Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Slice your tomatoes into rough quarters or sixths and add to a bowl with the finely sliced onion. Tear your mozzarella into bite size pieces and add to the bowl.
  • Add the olive oil and oregano to the bowl ands season generously with salt and pepper. Mix together to combine the ingredients.
  • Now make the creamy pesto dressing. Add the basil, olive oil, grated parmesan, pine nuts, garlic cloves and sour cream to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside in a jug ready for serving.
  • Now make the rustic toast. Butter your bread on both sides and sprinkle with the mixed herbs, salt and pepper. In a griddle pan toast until crisp with a little char. Finish the toast with a splash of balsamic over the top and slice ready for serving.
  • Add your caprese salad to a dish with the toast served alongside. Bring the creamy pesto dressing to the dinner table for everyone to spoon over their own salad.

Use good olive oil

For this dish olive oil is very much a flavour ingredient rather than a base for cooking in, and as such it needs to of course have good flavour to it. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. I really like Il Casolare Bioligico Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It isn’t cheap at around £8 per bottle, but the bottles are at least a decent size at 1 litre, and this brand is available in most supermarkets. Plus, it comes in a really pretty bottle so it looks lovely in your kitchen.

… and use good tomatoes

With simple, clean dishes like this you really need quality ingredients to maximise on flavour. I always have a bug bear around British tomatoes for how hard and tasteless they can be; they just don’t compare to the tomatoes you get in the Mediterranean! You can however try for the best possible produce by purchasing vine ripened tomatoes and even better, rather than keeping them in the fridge leave them on your windowsill to bask in the sun for a day or two and they’ll sweeten right up.

Other light and Summery meals

Looking for more Summer dinner inspiration? Look no further than these delicious light and refreshing bites which I think you will enjoy:

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