Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

If you thought classic Caprese Salad cannot get any better, try this Strawberry-Avocado version and you would fall in love.... all over again!

This super simple Salad Recipe, will undoubtedly become your Summer favorite.

Ladies and gentlemen... Be prepared to be blown away!

When I came back from the Farmer's market last weekend with tubs of sun kissed tomatoes and luscious strawberries, all I had in my mind was my delicate Caprese Salad and my zingy Strawberry Salsa. Never in my wildest imagination, did I even think of combining the two.

But when I saw the same recipe from The Love and Lemons Cookbook being recreated by two of my favorite blogs - Oh She Glows and Two Peas & Their Pod, I knew I needed to give it a try.

Before I move on to the recipe, here is a snap of my very prized Sweet Italian Basil. Thanks to Sam's green thumb, my tiny herb garden is thriving very well. It's pure joy to walk into your yard, snip a few herbs and your everyday meal suddenly becomes extra special.

And now let's talk about this awesome awesome thing called Balsamic Reduction. It is super simple to make. It does needs a little babysitting, though. It smells really pungent during the cooking process and it is a good idea to open your windows and the stove vent to get the strong vinegary fumes out.

But the resultant thick, syrupy goodness is so darn worth it. Smoky, Sweet and Acidic all at the same time, the flavor profile is quite complex but so delicious. I am slathering/drizzling it on anything and everything right now. Not only it is currently my favorite salad dressing, but I have drizzled it on grilled pork, chopped strawberries, sliced avocados and even vanilla bean ice-cream. It is that GOOD!!!

Addition of Strawberries and Avocados to the troika of Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil gives a nice creamy and fruity touch to the classic Caprese Salad. Balsamic Vinegar is absolutely delicious on Tomatoes, Strawberries and Avocados. Hence, the Balsamic Reduction, ties this salad beautifully.

Pair this fun and fruity Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction with a side of grilled meat or fish and your favorite red wine. And you'll have the perfect summer dinner.

Recipe Snapshot: Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Serves: 4 serving (as a side salad)
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Strawberries - 1 cup (about 10 largish one), hulled and thickly sliced

Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (any color) - 1/2 cup (about 30), halved
(I have used yellow ones)

Avocado - 1, medium sized, pitted and diced

Mini Mozzarella Balls - 1/2 cup (about 20 mini balls), halved

Sweet Basil Leaves - 1/4 cup loosely packed, chiffonade cut

Hemp Seeds (or any nuts or toasted seed of choice) - 2 tablespoon

Balsamic Vinegar - 1/2 cup

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon

Himalayan Pink Salt or Coarse Sea Salt, to taste

Freshly Cracked Pepper

What I did:
1. In a small saucepan, bring the Balsamic Vinegar to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Switch on the kitchen stove vent. The vinegar smell is pretty strong. Once the vinegar starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, uncovered, until the vinegar thickens and reduces by half. Keep aside.

2. Chiffonade is a very fancy word for the very simple process of slicing basil or any other delicate herb into very thin ribbons. To do so, simply stack the Basil leaves on top of another. Roll them tightly into a cigar shape. Slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll. And there you have it - delicate strands of basil, that's looks pretty and are very aromatic.

3. In a large bowl add the sliced strawberries, halved tomatoes, bite sized mozzarella balls, diced avocado, and chiffonade cut basil.

4. Drizzle on the EVOO and gently toss until everything is lightly coated.

5. Season generously with Himalayan Pink Salt (or any sea Salt of choice) and Freshly Cracked Pepper and toss again.

6. Add the Hemp Seeds (or any seeds or nuts of choice) and toss well.

7. Plate the salad into individual serving plate and drizzle the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately with additional sprinkle of Hemp Seeds and ribbons of fresh Basil.

Notes/Tip: This salad is most definitely, best enjoyed fresh. But if needed, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for a few hours.


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