Cold, crunchy, refreshing, and substantial.
This simple Caprese salad with toasted walnuts is all I crave once the heat gets to be too much here in NC.
I know it probably seems like I’m jumping the gun—it’s May. And we’re just breaking through this long-ass winter that’s been keeping us (physically and emotionally) frosty for quite some time.
When the summer hits us, it hits us hard—and I can already tell it’s on its way.
When it’s too hot to cook or eat anything warm, this a bowl of this good stuff is *everything*. It eats like a small meal.
It also makes for a great side to that Sunday pasta. You can even toss it with some greens to make an actual salad out of it.
Much like the Margherita pizza, a traditional Caprese salad gives a tasty nod to the Italian flag with its colors.
Since I’ve used a multi-colored mix of cherry tomatoes in this recipe, I guess I’ve taken this salad away from that.
But! I’ve also added toasted walnuts to the equation, which likely has every hardcore Italian making vulgar hand gestures toward their computer screen anyway, so I’m already on my way to being condemned.
It’s just… the toasted walnuts are so good.
That warming nutty flavor works amazingly in contrast with the pillowy mozzarella balls and I AM NEVER LOOKING BACK YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.
You’ll probably want to eat this every day, but there are worse things to get hooked on.
I’ve never been one of those people who can bite into a tomato like an apple. I’ve encountered so many of these people in my life and I will never understand that one. But grape tomatoes? I can pop those bad boys into my mouth steady.
If you snag yourself regular ol’ grape tomatoes, you’re going to have more of a classic flavor, which is a guaranteed win.
However, if you opt for a colorful bunch like I did, the flavor profile changes a wee bit; the green tomatoes are more crisp than firm and they bring a subtle tartness to your plate. So keep that in mind when choosing your tomatoes.
I love eating this salad both ways.
Oh, and dressing?
Keep it simple.
Seriously. A drizzle of olive oil, a splash of balsamic, a pinch of salt, and a crack of pepper is all you need.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you’ll get a chance to be featured in my monthly newsletter.
Simple Caprese Salad With Toasted Walnuts
This Simple Caprese Salad With Toasted Walnuts is a delicious and refreshing side for that pasta dinner, and it makes for a great light meal on a hot day.
- 20 oz grape or cherry tomatoes*, sliced in half See notes
- 8 oz mozzarella snack balls or bocconcini balls, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup Fresh basil leaves, torn or ribboned
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375° F. Spread the walnuts over a baking sheet and bake them until they're slightly toasted and aromatic—about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn! When done, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before adding them onto the salad.
Put the sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella balls, and fresh basil in a serving bowl. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss to coat; add a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper, to taste.
Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the salad and serve.
*Grape or cherry tomatoes?: You can use either in this recipe, because the only difference is their shape and size. Grape tomatoes are shaped like grapes, and cherry tomatoes are shaped like cherries, though sometimes a little larger. You may have to quarter your cherry tomatoes rather than simply slice them in half, depending on how "bite-size" you want them.