There’s a flavor combination unlike any other. One that sparks tang, sweetness and saltiness on your tastebuds. The Italians cracked the code on the ultimate combo: Caprese.
Juicy tomatoes, sour balsamic vinegar, and sweet-and-earthy basil. Those three ingredients alone can invoke a carnival of happiness in your mouth. I’ve been in love with Caprese salad for years and years.
This salad mimics the Italian classic but with one big twist: take out the tomato and replace it with fresh strawberries. It’s peak strawberry season right now, and the bins are getting cheaper and cheaper at the grocery store. The latest batch of strawberries I picked up you could smell them from a mile away. Now that is a good batch of fresh strawberries.
This salad ended up being a hodge podge of what I had in the fridge. Some of the best salads I’ve ever made started their lives like that. I had a nearly-gone bag of mozzarella pearls and a turning-brown container of rosemary in my crisper. What better way to use it up than a crisp, fresh salad?
I have to say, I may have the original Caprese beat. Strawberries add another level of sourness and sweetness that tomatoes just don’t have. If you add a little sweetener to your balsamic vinaigrette, then it really draws out the strawberry flavor even more.
All in all, this salad ended up being craveable. I’ve been eating it for lunch everyday this week and end up wanting more by the time I’m done. Can you say that about any other salad?!
If you’re looking for something different, something summery, vibrant, and fresh…than this recipe is for you.
Strawberry, Chicken & Basil Salad
A fresh summer salad with strawberries, chicken, basil and fresh mozzarella served with a balsamic vinaigrette.
- 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 TBS. fresh rosemary, chopped
- salt & pepper
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella pearls
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 4 cups spinach
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. sweetener (sugar, truvia, erythritol)
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- Make the chicken: season chicken with garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and let cool before chopping into bite-size pieces.
- Make the vinaigrette: whisk together oil, vinegar, sweetener, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper until emulsified.
- Make the salad: start with spinach and top with mozzarella pearls, strawberry slices, chopped chicken, almonds and basil. Drizzle vinaigrette on top. Serve.