I savored every bite of grilled zucchini, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil vinaigrette in these Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks!
There are some recipes that just symbolize summer, and Grilled Zucchini, Basil Vinaigrette, and Caprese Salad are summer standbys that I've been making for so many years that I can't imagine a summer without them. So when I had the idea for Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks that combined all those summer faves into stacks of grilled zucchini with thick slices of ripe tomato and creamy fresh mozzarella, drizzled with basil vinaigrette, I knew it had to be a winner. If you have fresh garden tomatoes and want something that will really impress your friends, you must make this before the summer produce is gone!
This would be perfect as a starter or side dish for a summer dinner, but I'd also enjoy a couple of these as a light main course with something like Ottolenghi's Perfect Lettuce Salad on the side. And since that would be a lovely meatless meal, this is my Meatless Monday offering for this week. Hope you enjoy!
If you're looking for meatless recipes, you might like my Meatless Monday Pinterest Board, which has ideas from Kalyn's Kitchen and some of my favorite food blogs. There are also lots of fun ideas featured for Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.
I combined about 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil from my window herb garden with 1/2 cup of Le Parisien Vinaigrette to make the basil vinaigrette. I make this first so the basil flavor can develop in the dressing while it sits in the fridge.
It's important to use zucchini that are big enough so the zucchini will be slightly larger than the slice of mozzarella, and the ones I used made slices about 3 inches across. Cut the zucchini slices about 3/4 inch thick so the zucchini will stay a tiny bit crisp when it's cooked.
I made a simple marinade for the zucchini with Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing combined with some dried basil and Spike Seasoning. (You could make this without marinating the zucchini, but this step adds a lot of flavor.)
When you're ready to cook, spray the grill with oil or non-stick grill spray and heat to high. Turn to medium-high when you put the zucchini on.
I took this photo from the other angle so I would remember to tell you to rotate each piece of zucchini after about 5 minutes so you can get criss-cross grill marks.
Then turn the zucchini over and cook 3-5 minutes more on the second side, depending on how done you like it.
While the zucchini cooks prepare the fresh mozzarella slices. I use pre-sliced mozzarella which is so convenient.
Then top the mozzarella with a piece of tomato and drizzle with the basil vinaigrette. You'll want to make this often if you have zucchini and fresh tomatoes, so you may want to make extra Basil Vinaigrette.
(Makes 4 appetizer or side dish servings, or I would eat two of these as a light summer meal with a big green salad on the side; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from some summer favorites.)
Basil Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/2 cup purchased or homemade vinaigrette dressing (I love Le Parisien Vinaigrette in this, but any dressing that you like the flavor of will work.)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or frozen basil will work if fresh basil is not in season)
Zucchini Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup purchased or homemade vinaigrette dressing (I used Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any all-purpose seasoning blend that you like)
8 large zucchini slices (preferably about 3 inches across and 3/4 inch thick)
8 round slices of fresh mozzarella
8 thick slices of tomato (about 3/4 inch thick)
Combine the chopped fresh or frozen basil with the vinaigrette dressing to make the basil vinaigrette. Refrigerate this while you marinate the zucchini so the basil flavor can develop in the dressing.
Cut the zucchini into slices, preferably about 3 inches across and 3/4 inch thick. Combine the vinaigrette, dried basil, and Spike Seasoning to make the marinade. Put the zucchini in a Ziploc bag in a single layer, and pour the marinade over it. Let this marinate on the counter for 4 hours (or even all day is fine, if you're not home or just want to do it farther ahead.)
When you're ready to cook the zucchini, spray the clean grill grates with oil or non-stick grill spray. Preheat grill to high.
Lay the zucchini on the grill and immediately turn grill to medium high. Cook about 5 minutes on the first side (lift one piece of zucchini to see when you have nice grill marks), then rotate each piece and cook 5 minutes more (or until you have nice criss-cross marks.) Turn zucchini pieces over and cook 3-5 minutes more on the second side. (You can stick a fork in one piece to see how tender it is. I like this best when the zucchini is still slightly crisp.)
While the zucchini cooks prepare the sliced mozzarella and slice the tomatoes. (I use pre-sliced mozzarella, which makes the pieces all the same size and makes this dish extra easy.)
To arrange the stacks, start with a slice of grilled zucchini, add a slice of fresh mozzarella, then add a slice of tomato. Drizzle desired amount of basil vinaigrette over and serve right away. Serve with a little more basil vinaigrette for people to add at the table.
South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making this recipe for the South Beach Diet, it's important to use vinaigrette with less than 2 grams of sugar per serving (or make your own vinaigrette.) I use low-fat skim milk mozzarella which has about 5 grams of fat in a slice, so I wouldn't eat more than two of these at a meal if you're actively trying to lose weight.
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 Caprese-Like Ideas for Summer:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Peach Caprese Panini ~ Panini Happy
Caprese Salad with Red and Green Tomatoes and Kiwifruit ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Caprese on a Stick ~ Barbara Bakes
Green Goddess Tomato-Mozzarella Stacks ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted Tomato Caprese with Avocado ~ Not Without Salt
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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