Southwest Caprese Salads with Green Green Pesto, fresh mozzarella and ripe juicy tomatoes make a light and healthy dinner or lunch. Stack them for extra fun!
Southwest Caprese Salads have been added to my Annual Spaghetti Western Week starring Classic Italian Recipes packed with Southwest flavors to pay tribute to Clint Eastwood, Mr. Spaghetti Western Hero himself.
“Salad! We don’t need no stinking salads!” Oooops… that was a different western movie. But, I’m sure many of the cowboy lovers at your house feel the same way. As for my boys? I can’t get them near your average salad. I wasn’t able to get my family to eat a salad until my one of my sons became old enough (or perhaps brave enough) to tell me that it was the lettuce he hated and not the actual salad.
That little bit of bravery opened up a whole world of creative and delicious salads at our house.
Serve Individual Southwest Caprese Salads Stacked
These Southwest Caprese Salads Stacks not only look impressive, they have one thing your average, run of the mill tomato and mozzarella salads don’t… Green Chile Pesto! Yum! The green chile is perfect with tomatoes and is a great way to “kick up” the flavor.
I use the Green Chile Pesto in all sorts of dishes— pastas, sandwiches, cheese plates, etc.
Slice the caprese salads and stack them “fancy like” for a special birthday celebration, lunch with the girls or for a way to get the “dudes” in your family to touch a salad.
Of course, you can always spread them on a plate and drizzle them with Green Chile Pesto to feed a crowd.
What is a Caprese Salad?
Caprese Salads are an Italian salad made with fresh, simple, healthy ingredients. Fresh ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese are sliced into disks then, arranged on the plate. The slices are topped with fresh basil leaves before they are drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and fresh black pepper.
Handy tools for making Southwest Caprese Salads and more-
Amazon affiliate links for useful tools for slicing tomatoes and soft cheese-
Multiuse Tomato Slicer/Holder for slicing tomatoes, lemons, potatoes and round fruits and vegetables
Rösle Stainless Steel 10 Blade Serrated Slicer for vegetables, fruit and cheese
Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer with aluminum handle, 2 pack
Wusthof 5 1/2 inch Tomato Knife with serrated edge and 2-pronged pointed tip
Kitchen Knife Sharpener – 3-Stage Knife Sharpening Tool- helps repair and sharpen the knives you already have (Amazon Best Seller)
Print the Recipe for Southwest Caprese Salads Stacks-
Southwest Caprese Salads Stacks with Green Chile Pesto
Chiles and tomatoes are flavors that are made for each other. This Caprese Salad has my Green Chile Pesto Recipe that you can find right here on Everyday Southwest and in my 101 Things to Do With Chile Peppers Cookbook.
The pesto recipe makes more than you will need for this recipe so plan on serving it in a pasta dish as well. You may also substitute regular basil pesto if you are in a pinch but, you will miss out on the terrific flavor of green chiles plus a little kick of heat.
NOTE: The prep and cook times are for the salad only considering that the pesto is already prepared.
- 4 medium tomatoes stem on, if possible
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella 8 ounces each
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- ½ cup green chile peso or basil pesto
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup baby arugula leaves
FOR THE GREEN CHILE PESTO
- 1 large fresh poblano chile, roasted and peeled
- 1 large fresh Anaheim chile, roasted and peeled
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- ¼ pine nuts or mild nut such as cashew or walnut toasted
- ¼ cilantro or parsley leaves chopped
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ to ½ cup light olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 1 cup baby arugula leaves
Rinse and dry the tomatoes and slice them crosswise into slices slightly under ½ inch thick but more than ¼ (so they hold up well when stacked).
- Slice the mozzarella cheese in the same manner as the tomatoes.
- Assemble the salads by placing the bottom of a tomato on the serving plate. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and diced arugula. Place a round of mozzarella on the tomato, drizzle with pesto and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Top the cheese with a tomato slice and repeat the layers until you have recreated the shape of the tomato and place finish with the top of the tomato.
- Garnish the plate with drizzles of pesto, dots of balsamic and a few arugula leaves.
- Serve at room temperature for the cheese to have maximum flavor.
FOR THE PESTO:
- Roast and peel the chiles (for more direction, see How to Roast Chiles on Everyday Southwest). Remove the stems and seeds, chop into large pieces and place in a food processor. Add the garlic, pine nuts, cilantro or parsley leaves. Pulse until the chile mixture is coarse, but well minced.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese and cumin.
- Drizzle the olive oil in while processing the chile mixture to a smooth texture. Start with ¼ of the oil for a thicker, paste type pesto. Add more oil to the pesto if you would prefer a "runnier" texture, add more oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust with more cumin if desired.
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—posted by Sandy