What’s not to love about a caprese salad? Ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil… It’s almost guaranteed to be delicious.
I’ll tell you what’s not to love about it though… it’s not exactly a meal.
But, with a few handfuls of greens and some grilled chicken, you can quickly turn it into a meal!
It’s flavorful, pretty healthy, and a quick way to get dinner on the table without even turning on the oven or stove.
1) Add chicken breasts to a bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt, basil, and paprika. Mix together and let sit for a few minutes or you prep them a few hours in advance.
2) Grill chicken on high heat for 6-8 minutes per side until the breasts are cooked through (will depend on thickness of your breasts).
3) Let chicken rest for a few minutes and then slice into pieces.
4) Half tomatoes and toss with cubed mozzarella. Stir in spinach or arugula and drizzle with olive oil.
5) Stir in diced chicken and a handful of chopped fresh basil. Serve immediately!
If you are going to store it for the next day, don't mix in the spinach or arugula until just before you serve it so it doesn't get wilted.
Adapted from a Food and Wine Sept 2012 recipe.
Marinated chicken gives this salad some protein which turns it into a solid meal rather than just an appetizer.
For my chicken, I just tossed a few chicken breasts with olive oil, dried basil, and paprika, plus some salt and pepper obviously.
I just stirred this all together and let it sit for a few minutes.
Then heat up your grill and cook these bad boys on high heat for about 7-8 minutes per side until the breasts are cooked through.
Try not to overcook them. One of my least favorite things about working with chicken breasts is that they dry out really quickly if you overcook them.
Let your chicken rest for a few minutes so the juices can redistribute in the meat and then just chop them up!
About a chicken breast per person is a good gauge if you’re serving this as a meal.
If you are using it as an appetizer, half a chicken breast per person would be just fine.
I actually made this salad with two different kinds of greens over two days. I tried it with arugula and baby spinach. Both were very tasty.
I think I preferred the arugula just because it was peppery and had some bite to it. The spinach was good also though.
Besides some greens all you need are some ripe tomatoes and good mozzarella cheese.
Dice up the tomatoes and mozzarella and your work for the salad is basically done!
When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the chicken in with the cheese and tomatoes and drizzle in some good olive oil.
Then add your greens very last.
If you add them too early, they might turn soggy which is never good.
Dice up some fresh basil if you can and add that to the salad for more of that traditional caprese flavor.
If you are keeping this salad for leftovers, I recommend not mixing in the greens until right before you eat it. The greens don’t really keep all that well with all the other stuff. They will get really wilted and kind of gross.
You could easily throw this meal together on a weeknight and then have the leftovers on day two for lunch or dinner. It’s healthy, flavorful, and definitely a whole meal of food.