Fresh diced tomatoes, mozzarella, and seasoned croutons make a nice summer meal in this recipe for Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad.
With the impending arrival of Little Tot, I took a brief hiatus from writing. My nesting phase consisted of cooking anything and everything I could think of that would freeze well. My thinking was I would be so drained from all those midnight feedings and sleepless nights that I wouldn’t have the coherence or the stamina to cook. The husband and I bought a used deep freezer off Craiglist. I felt like I was preparing for the Apocalypse as I prepared five pots of soup in one weekend and stockpiled various cuts of poultry that were on sale at the grocery store.
Little Tot arrived at two-thirty in the afternoon on August 10 weighing in at a very healthy 9 pounds 3 ounces! My biggest fear is that he will grow up to be a picky eater. However, given that he arrived weighing as much as a small toddler, he appears to enjoy eating and will hopefully keep an open mind when his Mommy asks him to try something new.
While the bulk of my cooking lately has consisted of reheating a previously frozen entrée, I did find time to make this delicious tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. If you are a tomato lover, this is definitely worth a try. There is such variety textures and flavors going on here.
How to Make Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad
Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees to toast your croutons. Stale bread works best for this. I like to use some type of crusty bread like French bread or sourdough. Cut the bread up into cubes, then spread them in a single even layer on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon of kosher salt and Italian seasoning. Drizzle the cubed bread with two tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and Italian seasoning. Toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the croutons are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Allow them to cool.
In the meantime, combine cherry tomatoes and ciliegine in a large salad bowl. Ciliegine is just a fancy name for fresh mini mozzarella balls preserved in water. I usually find them with the other specialty cheeses in the grocery store. Chop the fresh basil leaves and add them to the tomatoes and mozzarella.
Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, one teaspoon salt, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad and stir. Add the croutons. Serve immediately.
More Salad Recipes:
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad
- 2 cups day old bread cubed
- ½ cup plus two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound ciliegine small fresh mozzarella balls
- 1 ½ cups basil leaves torn
To Make the Croutons:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil.
- Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt and the Italian seasoning. Toss to coat. Bake for 5-10 minutes until croutons are slightly golden and crispy. Allow the croutons to cool.
Assemble the Salad:
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining olive oil, salt, vinegar, and black pepper.
- In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes, ciliegine, and basil.
- Pour dressing over salad. Toss to combine.
- Sprinkle with toasted croutons.