I have this thing with spinach. I typically only eat baby spinach because I can’t handle the size of regular spinach. And I don’t like the stem on either size. I will take a meticulously long time to de-stem spinach for a salad. I mean how many times have you been eating a spinach salad and the dressing-laden stem slaps some part of your face as you’re putting it in your mouth? You know what I’m talking about. And then there’s cooked spinach. The texture of the stem sticks out even when spinach has been wilted or cooked. Sometimes it makes me gag. You can probably guess why I don’t eat spinach that often.
That being said, I am aware of the health benefits of spinach and I do like the leaves so I bought some baby spinach the other day, fresh mozzarella pearls, basil and cherry tomatoes with the intention of making a caprese salad on top a bed of lettuce. I love me a good caprese salad and putting a lettuce-free salad on top of a bed of spinach sounds like a winning combo.
So I’m not going to give you specific amounts of foods for the recipe because really it depends largely on how many people you’re feeding and you’r personal taste. Some people may prefer more tomatoes than cheese. Or vice versa. I like an even ratio because I want both in my mouth in one bite. I paired the ingredients with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and had myself a satisfying salad that I intended to have as a starter to my dinner but instead it became my dinner.
- baby spinach, stems removed
- mozzarella pearls, halved
- grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- basil chiffonade
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
- Wash or rinse your spinach leaves as appropriate and run through a salad spinner to dry out. Place the spinach and some basil in an appropriate size bowl or ziplock baggie for the amount of salad you are making. Add some salad dressing, conservatively at first, as you don’t want the salad to be drenched in dressing. (Unless you do?) Seal the baggy tightly or tightly secure the lid on the container of lettuce and shake to evenly distribute the dressing across the lettuce mixture. Pour in a bowl.
- Top with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!
You can also “toss” the salad in a bowl but the method above is how I learned to make salad when I worked as a bartender at a restaurant. Servers had to make their own salads using pre-portioned bags of lettuce and we would shake the lettuce with the salad dress and then plate the rest of the salad. The technique works well!
I have seen versions of this salad without basil but believe that basil is crucial to the recipe. You can’t have caprese anything without the three main ingredients: tomato, mozzarella and BASIL.