Strawberry Caprese Salad with Pistachio Pesto


Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

For the Pistachio Pesto:

1 cup shelled pistachios

3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 small to medium garlic clove

1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/3 to 1/2 cup Flying Olive Basil, Gremolata, or a mild-medium Single Varietal of Choice

For the Salad:

8 ounces fresh ciliegine mozzarella balls (usually they come in an 8-ounce container), drained

12 ounces strawberries, about ¾ of a standard box, hulled and halved, or if strawberries are large, quartered

8-10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (a little less than a pint)

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1-2 Tbsp (to taste) Flying Olive Balsamic Vinegar of Choice such as Strawberry (but it makes your salad look a little "muddy"-see photo) or a white balsamic vinegar such as Sicilian Lemon, Cascadian Wild Raspberry, Cranberry Pear, or Pomegranate-Quince

A handful (about 1 cup) of fresh basil leaves

Sweetener of Choice to taste

Directions:

For the Pistachio Pesto:

Place the pistachios, basil, mint, garlic and cheese in a food processor. Pulse and blend until the nuts are coarsely chopped. With the processor on, stream in 1/3 cup of Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Choice . Add a little more if necessary, depending on how "spreadable" you want your pesto to be.

Taste the pesto and add in the salt, blending once more. This will make a little extra pesto than needed, so store it sealed tightly in the fridge for up to a week.

For the Salad:

In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella, strawberries, and tomatoes. Season with the salt and pepper. Using a large spoon, gently combine the ingredients. Toss in the fresh basil leaves. Add a few tablespoonfuls of the pesto and gently mix to distribute  Add in the Flying Olive Balsamic and/or sweetener of choice as needed.

Serve immediately.

Submitted by Barb L.