School starts tomorrow in the district where I used to teach, so I'm definitely having that feeling of wanting to hang on to summer. Besides the hot weather, I also love the fresh flavors of summer and every year I miss them when they're gone. This Baby Kale Caprese Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil is a spin-off on everyone's favorite summer Caprese salad that combines tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. I marinated the mozzarella cubes in a balsamic and herb dressing and used a generous amount of fresh basil leaves mixed with the baby kale, and this was a salad that helped me capture those summer flavors for just a bit longer.
I'd enjoy this Meatless Monday salad for a lovely end-of-summer lunch, but it could also be a nice side salad for a meatless pasta dish or some grilled vegetables. (If you want more meatless recipes, you might might want to follow my Meatless Monday Pinterest Board, which has ideas from Kalyn's Kitchen and some of my favorite food blogs. I share a new recipe each week for Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)
Cut the mozzarella into cubes, about 1/2 inch square. (Or if you can find Fresh Mozzarella Pearls, they'd be perfect for this salad.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Spike Seasoning, and Italian Herb Blend to make the dressing.
Put the mozzarella cubes into a plastic bag with a scant 2 tablespoons of the dressing and let the cheese marinate while you prep the other ingredients.
Arrange the dressed kale/basil mixture into serving bowls and top each with some of the tomatoes and some of the marinated cheese. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.
(Makes 4 side-salad servings or 2 main dish salads; recipe created by Kalyn.)
6-8 oz. low-fat fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes about 1/2 inch square (or use Fresh Mozzarella Pearls)
5 oz. baby kale leaves (I pull off the larger stems)
1 oz. fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups, not packed)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 T good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
Cut the fresh mozzarella into slices and then into cubes about 1/2 inch square. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, spike seasoning, and Italian herb blend; then whisk in the olive oil. Put the mozzarella cubes into a plastic bag, add a scant 2 tablespoons of dressing, and let the cheese marinate while you prep the other ingredients.
Pull off the larger kale stems if desired and put kale into salad spinner and cover with cold water (to crisp the kale.) Drain the water and spin the kale dry. Wash the basil leaves in salad spinner and spin dry. (You can chop the basil leaves if they're large, but I left most of them whole.) Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Put the kale and basil leaves in a large plastic bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Divide dressed kale/basil into serving bowls. Top each one with some of the marinated cheese and some of the tomato halves. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
This salad is loaded with healthy low-carb ingredients, and as long as you use low-fat mozzarella (sometimes called "part-skim"), this salad would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. It would also be a great choice for most other types of low-carb eating plans.
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.
More Interesting Caprese Salad Ideas:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Stone Fruit and Burrata Salad ~ Vintage Mixer
Green Goddess Tomato-Mozzarella Stacks - with Green Zebras and Fresh Mozzarella ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Peach Caprese Salad ~ Iowa Girl Eats
Caprese Salad with Red and Green Tomatoes and Kiwi Fruit ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Caprese Salad ~ The Lemon Bowl
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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