Spinach caprese salad with pesto dressing is everything you love about caprese salad-that is, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil-with enough substance to make a meal of it!
When late July rolls around every year, I start to get jump up and down excited. No, not because it’s almost time for school to start back…because of tomato?season! When I was at the produce stand buying the tomatoes for this post, I bought four-one classic beefsteak tomato, one yellow tomato, one green tomato, and the Cherokee purple that I used here. The guy that rang me up remarked, “Well, you’re getting a tomato in every color, aren’t you?”
Yes, yes I am. Because the season in which tomatoes in lots of beautiful colors are readily available and actually taste like something (that is, like pure edible heaven) is devastatingly short and I have to get my hands on as many as possible while I can. That means buying them in every color that I see. Tomato sandwiches, BLTs, fried green tomatoes, cherry tomatoes as finger food in my lunch…I will eat a fresh tomato pretty much any way I can get it, as many times a day as possible (I über-love a couple of fat slices of tomato and some avocado alongside the fried egg I eat every morning for breakfast).
Not least of my favorite summer tomato applications is the caprese salad. Usually, I’ll throw some cubed tomatoes into a bowl with some diced fresh mozzarella and julienned basil, drizzle over some olive oil, and I’m golden. That never seems substantial enough to be a meal, though, and by some strange twist of fate, I married a man who doesn’t really care for raw tomatoes. He’ll eat them, but they aren’t his favorite, so it’s helpful if I can throw in a few leaves of something to make it a little more palatable for him.
Spinach is such a substantial salad green and pairs perfectly with tomatoes and mozzarella. So…spinach caprese salad? Yep. Yep yep. One bag of spinach is enough spinach for the two of us…I tossed it together with a giant cubed tomato, a little fresh mozzarella, and some pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds). I whisked up a vinaigrette with some jarred pesto (feel free to make your own, but I had a jar of Colavita pesto in the fridge that needed to get used), lemon juice, and olive oil and drizzled it over. Spinach caprese salad: for the win!
Yield: 4 salads
15 minPrep Time:
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- 2 8-ounce packages spinach
- 2 large tomatoes - seeded and diced
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella - diced
- 1/4 cup pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds)
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the pesto and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle the olive oil in very slowly, whisking constantly to emulsify. Add salt to taste.
- Divide the spinach among 4 plates (you may not use all of it-to make two salads, I used about 2/3 of an 8-ounch package). Top with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and pepitas.
- Drizzle each salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Serve immediately.
This recipe is easily halved or multiplied!
Click here to print the recipe for spinach caprese salad!