Friday, August 17, 2012

Recipe for Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Recipe for Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette from KalynsKitchen.com
All the flavors of summer in this Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  I make this salad every summer, as soon as Costco starts carrying the fresh mozzarella pearls and I have fresh basil in the garden!)

This is the perfect salad to make when it's fresh tomato season and your garden is bursting with tomatoes and fresh basil. However it can also have mood-enhancing properties if it's a very rainy first week of summer where you live, even if you have to buy tomatoes from Costco and it takes every basil leaf you can manage to snip from your puny plants. I have to confess though, it was the adorable mozzarella pearls made by Bel Gioisio Cheese I found at Costco that really inspired this salad. If you're not familiar with fresh mozzarella, it's a very soft cheese that comes packed in brine. The "pearls" are tiny pieces about the size of marbles, and they were delicious with the tomatoes and fresh basil.

Basil is considered by many to be the best of all herbs. I've grown it in my garden for about 20 years, and I always start with one or two purchased seedlings, then plant basil seeds for an inexpensive patch of basil. Every year I freeze fresh basil from my garden, and use it all through the winter. The fresh basil flavor is the essence of this salad.

If it was fresh tomato season I'd make this with juicy ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks, but I had to make do with these grape tomatoes from Costco, which are actually pretty tasty.

I tried the salad a few different ways, but I actually preferred it with plain old black olives from a can rather than with Kalamata or Spanish olives. I used the extra large sized olives.

These are the adorable mozarella pearls. At my Costco they were $3.59 for a one-pound container, which I thought was pretty reasonable. I drained the olives and mozarella pearls, then cut the tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella all in half to make uniform sized pieces.

Wash the fresh basil and chop (or tear if you're one of those cooking purists, but I never could see what the fuss was about chopping!) Do this right before you're ready to mix it into the dressing.

I used my favorite vinaigrette, but you can use any type of homemade or bottled vinaigrette that you like the flavor of.  Mix the chopped basil into the vinaigrette.

Gently combine the dressing with the cut tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella pearls, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is best served immediately, but I had some that had been in the fridge overnight that I shared with my contractors, and even though tomatoes never taste as good after they've been refrigerated, they gave it a thumbs up.

Tomato, Olive, and Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
1 can large black olives, cut in half (6 oz. olives after draining)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls, cut in half (or use regular fresh mozzarella and cut into pieces
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing (I used my favorite vinaigrette, but any type of homemade or bottled vinaigrette that you like will work. A good choice would be Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing, which is widely available and has only 1 gram of sugar.)
1/2 cup chopped or torn fresh basil leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Drain olives and fresh mozzarella pearls while you cut cherry tomatoes in half; place tomatoes in bowl. Cut olives and mozzarella pearls in half and put in bowl with tomatoes.

Wash basil and spin dry in salad spinner or dry with paper towels, then chop or tear basil into small pieces. Mix chopped basil into vinaigrette dressing, then gently combine dressing with the tomato mixture. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.

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South Beach Suggestions:
The fresh mozzarella I used in this salad has only 5 grams of fat per ounce, making this a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you're using a purchased vinaigrette, be sure to choose one with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving for South Beach dieters.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Recipe for Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette from KalynsKitchen.com


More Ideas with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Caprese Salad with Apricots from Rand at Kalyn's Kitchen
Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad from Simply Recipes
Fresh Mozzarella Bocconicini with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Basil Pesto Oil from My Husband Hates Vegetables
Basil and Garlic Marinated Mozzarella Sandwich with Tomatoes from Lucullian Delights
Grilled Mozzarella Sandwich with Roasted Peppers and Basil from Stephen Cooks
(Want even more fresh mozzarella and basil recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit

This recipe was first posted for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Katie from Eat This.
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46 comments:

  1. This looks so delicious! What a perfect summery dish. We have some tomato plants in our garden, and basil too. When the tomatoes are ready I really want to try this! Thanks for the recipe :D

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  2. Hi Kalyn, I have been a silent follower of your blog for a while. Your recipes are wonderful. I have tried a couple of your salad recipes and they all turned out very well! This one with tomatoes and mozzarella looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Love that salad, quick to make for a great lunch.

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  4. That looks like such a refreshing dish for summer, Kalyn! I've been getting all my meal ideas from your blog lately. Some of your recipes are perfect for the lazy low carb cook. I posted some potentially south beach friendly pancakes that you might want to peek at. :)

    Keep up the cooking, Kalyn! Thanks a bunch.

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  5. Hi Kalyn! Looks great - I buy cherry toms in bulk and am always in need of a way to use them. Do you have any thoughts about what to use in place of the olives? My husband won't touch them. Maybe hearts of palm or artichoke hearts??

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  6. Kalyn, any chance you can list the ingredients in the recommended dressing that isn't available to most of us? No fair wetting our appetites and then discovering we can't buy it :-(

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  7. I love caprese salads like this. I bet it would also be great as a pasta sauce. This dish screams summer for me!

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  8. We grow our own tomatoes and basil so this is a perfect choice for tonight. Thanks!

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  9. So glad people are liking the sound of this easy variation of caprese salad. I think hearts of palm or artichoke hearts would be divine in place of the olives. It would also be fun to make this with just two colors of tomatoes and the mozzarella pearls, if you're lucky enough to have tomatoes already.

    Micki, the dressing has soybean oil, water, red and white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, Xanthum gum, black pepper, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, citric acid, tartric acid, and spices. (There can't be more than a pinch of sugar, since there is 0 grams of sugar in this.) If I was going to try to make the dressing at home I'd mix white wine vinegar, a dash of red wine vinegar, finely minced garlic, a tiny bit of mustard, and salt and pepper, then whisk in olive oil until it tastes as strong as you'd like it. A dressing like Paul Newman's Original Vinaigrette would be a good substitute. I'll add that to the post.

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  10. Me again; here's the link for Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing, a widely available commercial dressing that has only 1 gram of sugar. This would be a good choice for the dressing for this salad.

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  11. This salad looks so fresh and delicious! I bought some of those mozzarella pearls at Costco, too. Aren't they fun? My kids love to pop one or two into their mouths.

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  12. So yummy! I love those mozzarella pearls, too - but am hoping to start making my own soon. Mozzarella prices just keep going up and up, and my favorite mozzarella cheeses are usually the most expensive. Thanks for a simple, colorful salad!

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  13. I have a big ball of mozzarella cheese in my fridge right now begging to be used...Tonight might have to be the night!

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  14. This is one of our favorite salads, Kalyn - we make it all the time! I love the addition of the olives.

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  15. We love this salad, but yours has a few variations I'd love to try -- the dressing sounds delicious with the basil in it. It would definitely get poured over pasta here. Yum!

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  16. I love the combination of basil, tomatoes and mozarella. I definitely think it makes one of the best salads in the world! And the summer is the best time for this. I like your variation on the "classic" salad as i've not done it with vinaigrette before.

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  17. Yum! I will be making this soon! Even though I have a bottle of your favorite vinaigrette (thanks Costco!),I think I'd like to try a balsamic vinegar & olive oil vinaigrette on it...to make it taste even more like the Caprese salad that my family loves. I’m also going to look for the mozzarella pearls next time I go to Costco. I haven’t seen them before! Thanks for the great idea!

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  18. Love this salad, so vibrant! I think our Costco membership just ran out, I am bummed. I do enjoy that place!

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  19. Love tomatoes, love mozzarella, love fresh basil! This looks like an excellent summer dish. Very pretty too. Can't wait for fresh garden tomatoes for dishes like this.

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  20. I have some tomato plants growing in my backyard. When they start bearing fruit, I will try this lovely salad.

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  21. I absolutely love this combination you have here. There's nothing better than tomatoes, mozzarella and basil -- and now I'll throw in some kalamata olives as well. Good idea!

    I grow basil every year as well and dehydrate it for later. It works great. I make up my own little backpacker's pantry of herbs that I grow and dehydrate.

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  22. I got some of those fresh mozarella balls, I plan on dotting them on a pizza.

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  23. I've been gone to a family party all afternoon and evening, but I'm thrilled that so many people want to try this. I promise you, it's easy and delicious!

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  24. I love those little mozzarella balls from Costco -- and I love black olives in salads, too. They are mild and don't overwhelm other ingredients. I have nine basil plants in the garden this summer, so I'm hoping for salads like this in August and September.

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  25. This salad looks so delicious! My basil is growing nicely, if only my grape tomato plant would start following its lead! :)

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  26. Great salad! I like the sound of the basil vinaigrette.

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  27. Few things beat the combination of fresh mozzarella and juicy tomatoes - yum!

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  28. This looks like the perfect summer dish! If my Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter ever starts producing, I will have to whip this up!!!

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  29. Now that looks very inviting! Can't wait to try it. Especially with finally growing my own herb garden this year. Have not tried fresh mozzarella yet, but have heard its great. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. I would still prefer olives with pits (more flavour in them) but that's just me. The whole salad embraces summer.

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  31. Hi Kalyn...that looks so refreshing and good! Thanks BTW for the link...

    ;-)

    best, Stephen

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  32. This looked so good that I had to Twitter it. Great for summer!! Thanks, Kalyn!

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  33. Just had to come back to bookmark this - such a beautiful salad made with all my favorites! (see, just one exclamation mark)

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  34. Sorry I'm not keeping up on replies, but I'm reading all the comments as I post them.

    (Katrina, good job exercising restraint on the exclamation marks!)

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  35. Thanks! I just had this for lunch - I'd been looking for something to use up my Costco mozzarella pearls and grape tomatoes. I'd figured on a Caprese-style thing, but did a search for something more interesting. The olives were a nice addition. My husband really enjoyed it too!

    BTW, I cried when I heard Le Parisien had closed. It was one of my favorite restaurants. I'd just gone there about 2 weeks earlier, and had no clue that it would be closing or I'd have gone every day until it was gone!

    I still practically cry (or scream) every time I go by the stupid bank parking lot where it used to be.

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  36. Cheryl, I feel the same way when I think about never eating at Le Parisien again. And the bank is now closed, and nothing is there.

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  37. I love salad. This is definitely a rainbow salad! Tomatoes and mozzarella looks so colourful, so beautiful... and I bet it tasted so delicious :) This is totally new for me but it looks so yummy. Try to make tonight. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  38. I haven't seen those little mozzarella balls at Costco's but will have to check it out. I made something similar a few weeks ago for the kids, letting the tomato, mozzarella, basil, garlic salad sit at room temperature and then tossing it with hot pasta. Olives would have been a nice addition.

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  39. Jeanette, your version sounds great too!

    Thanks Carrian; we must have the same taste buds!

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  40. Kalyn ... This looks so bright and refreshing, right up my alley in this awful summer heat :-)

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  41. Another delicious recipe! I made your Basil Lemon Pesto the day before and used 2 tablespoons of that instead of the vinaigrette and it was excellent. Possibly bumped up the fat calories by using pesto so I had a smaller portion but it was worth it!

    I also added cucumber and dill to the leftover salad and that turned out well. Love that your recipes are so versatile to what you have on hand.

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  42. Found this on Pinterest and just made it (and blogged about it)! It was delicious! So many of my favorite things all in one place! :)

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  43. Christi, so glad you liked it! My faves as well.

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