Chunky mozzarella salad with basil, almond & roasted garlic pesto

Chunky mozzarella salad with basil, almond & roasted garlic pesto recipe

The subtitle for this recipe should read: “This is what happens when Sara puts all her favourite flavours in one big bowl”.
Quick, filling and refreshing, this lovely little dish is what I like to call the perfect taste of summer that you can enjoy all year round. Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil are a classic combination in Italian cooking but I wanted to give it a bit of a twist and, well, after having it for lunch I can confirm the experiment was successful!

If you’re new to making homemade pesto (and you’ll see how easy it is below), I can guarantee you will never ever go back to the shop-bought variety after trying this. Trust me. Not only does the homemade stuff taste a billion times better but it also doesn’t contain all the rubbish that they put into processed pesto jars these days: I have seen everything from sugar and glucose to bamboo fibre (what the heck?!) and the famous “flavourings” (by far the most meaningless catch-all word used by food manufacturers). Check out a few pesto labels next time you’re in a supermarket and see for yourself.

Anyway, enough of me ranting away at the food industry – it’s time to make some yummy things happen!

Chunky mozzarella salad with basil, almond & roasted garlic pesto

Serves: 4

Quick, filling and refreshing, this lovely little dish is what I like to call the perfect taste of summer all year round.
Ingredients
For the pesto:
  • 1 medium head of roasted garlic (take a look at my step-by-step guide on How to roast garlic)
  • A small bunch of basil (approximately 25g)
  • 40g almonds
  • 30g vegetarian parmesan cheese, grated or cut into small chunks
  • 6 tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the salad:
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into large chunks
  • 6 salad tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 mozzarella balls, cut into large chunks
  • 120g of pitted black olives
Instructions
  1. To make the pesto, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the salad ingredients and add the pesto. Then, using your hands, toss the salad gently until evenly coated by the pesto. Serve with bread if desired.
Notes
The pesto is absolutely bursting with fresh flavours and works beautifully with pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups and of course most salads. So why not make a little extra by doubling the amounts listed above? You can pour it into a jar, cover with a little extra oil, seal it and store it in the fridge for up to a week. Alternatively, pour into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours until solid. Then remove the frozen pesto cubes from the tray and store in a resalable plastic bag for future use. Pesto will last up to 3 months frozen.

Do you make pesto at home? If so, what’s your favourite flavour combination?

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