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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.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Southwest
Servings 4



  • 4 medium tomatoes stem on, if possible
  • 2 balls of fresh mozzarella 8 ounces each
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup green chile peso or basil pesto
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves


  • 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.


  • 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.
Keyword Caprese Salad, Keto Recipe, Vegan Recipe, Vegetarian Recipe