Insalata Caprese, the ubiquitous tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad, is one of the most popular dishes in summer when tomatoes are in season and so, so good. It also happens to be one of my favorites and a great way to use up extra tomatoes. I sometimes include avocado to increase the nutritional value and make it a bit more filling as a main dish. I must admit that I am on quite a grilling kick this summer which has taken an interesting turn since I am no longer just throwing steaks and burgers on the grill. I have had to get more creative with ingredients and have started grilling fruits and vegetables that I would not have considered in the past, including recent dishes, Grilled Nectarines and Summer Squash with Balsamic Glaze and Grilled Artichoke Mixed Veggie Platter.
So when it came to making my first Caprese Salad of the summer, I decided to give it a twist by using the tiny sized mozzarella ‘Pearls’ and cherry tomatoes to top a grilled avocado. Grilling the avocado gives it a wonderfully warm and creamy, slightly smoky flavor. In addition to being delicious, avocado is a great addition to any diet for health and weight loss. “According to a study by the Haas Avocado Board, adding avocado to a lunch meal caused a 23-percent increase in satisfaction and a 28-percent decreased desire to eat over the next five hours after eating, compared with the avocado-free lunch. And, over a three-hour period, adding avocado to lunch meant a 26-percent increase in satisfaction and 40-percent decreased desire to eat later on. Half an avocado has about 112 calories and 6 grams of fiber. Avocados are filled with heart-healthy fats, protein, potassium, and vitamins (such as B6, C, K, and B)” (Glamour.com) So next time you have the grill going, throw on a couple of avocados. You’ll like it!
Grilled Avocado Caprese Salad
1 ripe but firm avocado
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup ciliglene, tiny fresh mozzarella balls (or larger mozzarella ball, diced)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced crosswise into strips (chiffonade)
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
- Using a sharp knife, slice avocado in half lengthwise. To remove the pit easily, strike the pit with the sharp blade and twist slightly. The pit should pop right out.
- Brush the cut sides of the avocado with olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a hot grill and grill for about 5 minutes, or until you see nice grill marks. You can place the avocados on the grill perpendicular or horizontal, depending on how you want the grill marks to look.
- Or you can get fancy and grill diagonally
- Get crisscross grill marks by turning the avocado 90 degrees half way through.
- Remove avocados from heat and let cool slightly.
- Place each avocado half on a plate and fill with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, divided between the two.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Grilled Avocado Photo Credits:
1) Horizontal- http://www.foodandstyle.com
2) Diagonal- http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness
3) Criss-Cross- http://www.grillinfools.com