Say hello to my favorite salad:
This may look like just another side salad but it is seriously so good that it deserves it’s own post. I use the classic 3 ingredients for caprese salad: fresh mozzarella + tomatoes (this time of year, cherry tomatoes are the only way to go) + basil (my favorite herb). The dressing of course is just good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Really good olive oil and balsamic vinegar can change your life. Well, by life, I mean they can make or break the success of your salad. 😉 So these pretty simple ingredients are going on a spring blend of tender greens.
Now comes the “wow” factor. The part that will take your salad from ho-hum to “epic” status in one amazing bite…the homemade croutons. Homemade croutons are nothing like store-bought. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. You can season them how you like and you can use up day-old bread at the same time. This time around I couldn’t decide if I should use butter or olive oil to bake them with and so I used both. (You can thank me later.)
- Leafy greens (like spring mix lettuce or baby spinach)
- Cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
- Whole milk mozzarella balls (I found snack size whole milk mozz at Costco for a great price)
- Basil (cut into ribbons)
- Balsamic vinegar (good quality)
- Extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
- Slice of whole grain bread
- 1-2 tsp butter, room temp
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Italian blend of spices (such as basil, oregano)
- Top lettuce with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and equal parts olive oil & balsamic vinegar.
- To make croutons: spread a slice of bread on one side with butter (to cover) and then place the bread buttered side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle opposite side of bread with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Cut bread into 1" squares.
- Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Place croutons on salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.