Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Salad1

 

It’s my Mother’s Birthday today! She is the most special woman in my life. She is my first best friend and I have had heaps of special moments with her. She handed down so many traits of hers to me… We both love bags, shoes, clothes and FOOD! She is such an awesome cook!

As already confessed in my intro page, I never learnt to cook before I got married and being such a great cook that she is, my mom was quite concerned about that part. She sincerely wrote down all her recipes in a diary for my convenience and gifted it to me on my D-day. That is my most prized possession and a lovely gesture on my mom’s part! I should soon get down to posting few of her special recipes!

Among many things my mother and I share, we both LOVE pasta! So aptly, I am posting a very simple pasta salad which is very refreshing and flavorful. I’m sure my mom would have enjoyed this thoroughly if I could make this for her at home for tonight’s celebration. But we are distanced by miles hence a virtual birthday dish will have to suffice! 😦

 

Caprese Salad2

 

I love Caprese in any and every form!

You must remember I once created this unusual ice-cream with it and these skewers served with pesto!

This time I brought together 2 of my favorites and created this dee-lish caprese pasta salad. Of course with a twist… I added capers for a little tang! And it really did wonders. This salad is so beautiful, adorned with pear tomatoes and bursting with basil! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Happiest of Birthday Mother! Cheers!!!

Caprese Salad3

Caprese Pasta Salad
Servings: 4-5 as a side and 2-3 as a light lunch/dinner
Ingredients:
For salad:
  • 2 heaping cups bow-tie pasta
  • Around 20-25 pear tomatoes, sliced
  • 25-30 small cubes of Mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained & washed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
For dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted boiling water according to package directions till al-dante. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, sliced tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese cubes, capers and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients mentioned under dressing and whisk.
  4. Add the dressing to the large bowl of salad ingredients and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let it chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Top with sliced basil leaves just before serving.
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Caprese Skewers & Spinach Walnut Pesto

Caprese Skewers1

So I made some Caprese skewers.. They are so dang cute! Of course there is absolutely no need of a recipe to make them. It’s just cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and Mozzarella cheese on thrown together on a stick seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That simple! Making these is a child’s play and they’ll rock any party! It can be served as an appetizer or as a last course with favorite cocktail or wine! 😉

I served these skewers with spinach walnut pesto.. Hmm… seems interesting?! Require a recipe for another quick pesto? Then read on.. I have told time and again that pesto is my fave. It is so versatile. I made a big enough batch for only 2 of us in the house and served it with these skewers, made dinner with some spaghetti, threw some in my breakfast omelet and made some grilled cheese for lunch. Phew!

So let’s get down to the recipe business!

Caprese Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • fresh Mozzarella balls
  • basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, as per taste

Directions:

Skewer the cherry tomatoes alternating with basil leaves and Mozzarella balls. Once they are all skewered, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside spinach walnut pesto.

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or untoasted (I’m lazy & used untoasted)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil to begin with, add more as and if required

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till smooth puree is formed. Add more olive oil as and if required. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.

Spaghetti with Spinach Walnut Pesto

Grilled Cheese

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Summer mac salad1

I love pasta in any and every form. Be it a hot or cold preparation. It’s my favorite at dinner time as it is pretty quick to put together and simple.

Especially this salad… It is perfect for summer nights when you are craving something light and refreshing! I particularly loath anything heavy for dinner… So this one ticks all the boxes for me! 🙂

I love this one so much that it’s been prepared 3 times already in my house! It was much appreciated by our guests too! Its an apt side-dish at any elaborate lunch or dinner parties and a must accompaniment for picnics! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Summer mac salad2

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams uncooked elbows
  • 200 grams grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp eggless mayonnaise (American Garden’s)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider/red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  •  2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine onions, mayonnaise, vinegar, yogurt, mustard, oregano, garlic powder, basil leaves; mix well.
  3. Add tomatoes (and any juice from the tomato), zucchini, pasta, salt and pepper to taste, toss well and place in a large bowl.
  4. Serve immediately or keep in fridge till the serving time.

Enjoy chilled with a glass of your favorite mocktail or cocktail! 🙂