Caprese salad is a must at my family’s home. It was back when I was in primarily school, my parents decided to head over to Washington for a week to show my brother and I all the monuments. My dad made a reservation at a lovely Italian restaurant four weeks before we visited the capital. He came across it the traditional way, in a magazine and one thing they mentioned was the Caprese salad with burrata. We fell in love with the restaurant and especially the food! So when I started dabbling a bit into cooking, my mom made me make a Caprese salad just to learn some knife and chopping basics.
As time went on and like any Indian household, we put our spin on the Caprese salad and made it with arugula pesto. We love our basil, trust me, but we wanted something a little different sometimes. We grow arugula and have so much of it. It’s a peppery green that tastes best when uncooked. The texture is a bit tough, but if dressed well, arugula pesto can be amazing!
This arugula pesto has walnuts and asiago cheese to give it a nuttier taste that pairs well against its peppery flavor. Asiago is also a bit creamier, helping the mixture combine well into a pesto. With pepper, you have to add lemon juice to bring some freshness and depth to the arugula pesto. It’s one of my favorite variations of the traditional pesto!
Serve up this Caprese salad with arugula pesto to friends and family or take it to a dinner party. It will get people talking about the pesto, I promise! I also love spreading this pesto on sandwiches or serving it with a milder cheese. Have you ever had arugula pesto before? It’s a unique one!
- 9-10 thick slices of fresh mozzarella,
- 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper, optional
- 2 cup arugula leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup asiago cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
For the pesto, blend the arugula, garlic, walnuts, and asiago cheese in a food processor. Then slowly pour in the olive oil and lemon juice as it continues to blend. Add salt to taste, blend again so it’s combined, and set aside.
Arrange the tomato slices and mozzarella slices on a plate or serving platter. Add a bit of salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Then add dollops of the pesto so it’s easy to grab. Serve immediately.