If you live in Ontario and have a vegetable garden (even a small one like mine!), you probably noticed that it took ages for the tomatoes to ripen this year. I don’t have a green thumb by any means, but my guess is that this had something to do with the unseasonably cool summer we had.
Whatever the reason, it’s the second week of September and I’m up to my ears in cherry tomatoes! One of my favourite ways to use them up is to combine them with bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls) and chopped fresh basil, drizzle it all with extra-virgin olive oil and a little vinegar and season with salt and pepper. It’s essentially a more casual version of the classic Italian caprese salad – sliced tomatoes stacked with rounds of fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves.
My favourite part about this dish? It’s light, healthy and oh so tasty! Tomatoes are well known for their health-promoting attributes. They contain high amounts of nutritious plant pigments including lycopene (known for its antioxidant and potential disease-fighting effects) as well as dietary fibre and essential vitamins and minerals.
As for the cheese, bocconcini happens to be a saint as far as cheeses go. It’s naturally low in calories and fat, boasting almost half that of cheddar. Not too shabby!
If you notice a few dark flecks of herb, that’s because I included some purple basil (also from the garden!) in this dish. It has the same flavour as regular basil but with a pretty dark hue.
If you don’t have bocconcini, you can also use crumbled feta cheese in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the seasoning because feta can be quite salty.
What’s your favourite way to serve tomatoes?
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls), halved
- 10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, bocconcini, basil, olive oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
- If you can't find the small mozzarella balls (bocconcini), use the large size fresh mozzarella and chop or tear into chunks before incorporating.