Arugula Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Vinaigrette

It’s starting to warm up here in Israel. The rains are over (and what rains they were this year!), we had a proper sandstorm (not fun), and the temperature is rising every day. As soon as I get my first taste of spring I start to crave light, bright, fresh foods. That’s where this salad comes in. I got a beautiful bunch of fresh basil from my local produce market and the intoxicating smell followed me all the way home, planting the idea of this vinaigrette in my head.

Arugula Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Consider this salad a deconstructed caprese, a dish comprised of what may just be my favorite flavor profile of all time: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Using the best, freshest ingredients possible is of course key here. The basil vinaigrette is based on a traditional one with lemon and mustard. It can be made in advance and in fact only improves with a day or two in the fridge to allow the basil to really infuse the oil. I like to use bocconcini, which are very small balls of fresh mozzarella, but any size or shape will do. Likewise, grape tomatoes or slices of whole tomatoes can be used in place of the halved cherry tomatoes.

Arugula Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

5.0 from 3 reviews
Arugula Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Vinaigrette
 
Prep Time
Total Time
 
This deconstructed caprese salad makes an excellent light lunch, appetizer, or side. Using the best, freshest ingredients possible really makes this salad sing.
Author:
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Yield: 4 side servings or 2 main
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 6 ounces arugula
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 12), halved
  • 4 ounces bocconcini, or cubed fresh mozzarella
Basil Vinaigrette:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch basil (about 3 ounces), leaves picked
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
For the Salad:
  1. Combine the arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella in a salad bowl or on individual plates.
  2. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette (recipe below) over.
Basil Vinaigrette:
  1. Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse to mince.
  2. Add the basil leaves and pulse a few times.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard and process until fully combined and emulsified (there may still be small bits of basil).
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately or store in a cruet or closed glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Notes
Gluten free, Kosher dairy, Vegetarian

Linked up at Tastetastic Thursdays over at A Little Nosh


55 Comments

  1. I love this salad and your pictures Katherine, it’s almost spring, I cant wait to plant some basil and mint and fill my balcony..
    Hugs!

  2. that is so refreshing salad and it’s tempting me a lot, I always love tomatoes especially cherry tomatoes, they are delicious and always great to make salad, love it

  3. Seriously, Katherine, you make the most dazzling salads. I could dive right into that plate full and not come out until sundown!

  4. I am on a serious arugula kick right now and am even growing some from seeds. I just love that peppery flavor. The basil vinaigrette sounds wonderful. Lovely photos too, I may be spring.

    • That is so cool that you are growing your own arugula! It’s one of my favorite greens. I also love its peppery flavor.

  5. Simple, yet delicious! And that vinaigrette must be delicious!

  6. I’m DEFINITELY ready for light fresh food also! This salad totally sounds like the way to kick off spring!

  7. Basil vinaigrette sounds like the perfect dressing for this salad.

  8. I am so ready for spring! Picnics, outdoor festivals-they are just right around the corner. Also, so is the wonderful produce that will be rolling in.
    Your salad does look delicious-Caprese ingredients are always a welcome sight. Also,your basil vinaigrette looks awesome-definitely a good idea to have a container of this on hand. Enjoy the day!

    • Me too! Sigh…picnics and outdoor festivals…nothing better! Thanks Tina! Enjoy the rest of your weekend šŸ™‚

  9. I want to jump into that salad!!!

  10. Oh man a sand storm! That sounds crazy! I feel the same way about spring time, the food should be fresh and light! This salad looks amazing, especially the vinaigrette! Definitely bookmarking this recipe for my next salad! Yum!

  11. this is a beautiful salad…all ingredients i adore! i’m definitely bookmarking this and making it once i see the big and fragrant bunches of basil at the farmers market šŸ™‚

    • Thanks Jenn and Seth! I love the first fresh basil of the year. I hope you enjoy šŸ˜€ Let me know how it turns out if you do make it!

  12. so pretty! And, although it hasn’t started to warm up here, this gorgeous salad has got me ready for spring! Theresa

  13. I am a big fan of all dishes deconstructed. This looks wonderful!

  14. This looks beautiful! I actually made a caprese sandwich this week myself šŸ™‚
    How amazing that you live in Israel…

  15. Beautiful!!!
    What a perfect recipe for summers….
    Basil vinaigrette….Delicious!!!

  16. This looks like a great recipe! I would love for you to link it up to my Recipe Party at The Sweet Spot.

  17. Arugula is my top favourite green salad šŸ˜‰ Had some yesterday too.

  18. I am all about this basil vinaigrette!

  19. This is beautiful! I love a gorgeous salad.

  20. Just lovely. So light and fresh…you have me craving mozzarella now! What’s involved in a proper sandstorm?

    • Thanks Abby!! Ha, a proper sandstorm involves an apocalyptic orange sky, grit and sand blowing through the sky and getting in your eyes and mouth. Then, when it’s over it rains but there’s still so much particulant matter in the sky that it literally rains mud. Pretty much the grossest weather condition I can think of!

  21. Mozzarella, tomato and basil salads are just meant to be together! Such a delicious combination.

  22. That salad really does remind me of Spring. What great colours – so fresh and vibrant. We’ve had plenty of rain here too! Basil and mozzarella are such a winning combination. xx

  23. Warm weather always makes me crave salads too! This ‘deconstructed caprese’ looks as beautiful and vibrant as I imagine it tastes. Lovely presentation…now I’m longing for summer and a healthy salad. šŸ™‚

  24. Katherine, this is such a wonderful recipe! I will be trying this salad with the vinaigrette!! Sounds so refreshing and love this deconstructed version!

  25. Hi Katherine, thanks for visiting my blog. You have a lovely space. Your salad looks so colourful and delish. I love lots of colour in my food and this salad just fits the bill šŸ™‚ Love your photography!
    Cheers

  26. What a gorgeous healthy looking salad Katherine šŸ˜€ Your vinaigrette sounds quite similar to one I make, however I don’t use basil leaves. I will have to try this šŸ˜€

  27. I love the mozzarella, tomato, and basil trinity. And cherry tomatoes are perfect in this ā€” they actually have some flavor, unlike all except dead ripe regular tomatoes. Simple, nice, wonderful – great recipe, great pictures, great post! Thanks.

    • Thanks! It’s such a wonderful, natural flavor combination! And I agree that cherry tomatoes have such a wonderful flavor. We’re lucky to get magnificent ones in Israel.

  28. Oh Katherine…I am just craving bright, fresh flavors for spring. This looks divine! Happy to hear it’s warming up for you – spring is definitely coming in like a lion here. Time to make this salad and pretend it’s balmy out!

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