The Best of Summer: Caprese Salad

Jul 28, 2020
 

How has the summer been going for you? Have you managed to get some time away?

I have been super lucky and having just spent a glorious 9 days in Italy, I am now in France at my summer home where I will spend the rest of August. One of my biggest summer highlights is eating tomatoes that are now at their sweetest – in fact, I’ve been known to eat them like an apple. In this part of the world they are particularly magnificent and I eat them every day.

 

I use tomatoes in lots of ways, but my hands down favourite is my interpretation of Caprese Salad. Traditionally, a Caprese salad is made from fresh tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. It is believed the salad was created in the 1950’s as a symbol of the Italian flag, with the red, the green and the white elements layered in turn on the plate.

 

I’m really sorry Italy, but I’ve added more colour and more variety to mine. I diverge from the original in the following ways:

 

  • I try to get a mix of tomatoes that are black, yellow, green and of course red. The yellow ones tend to be the sweetest and the green the tartest.
  • I sometimes use burrata, a much creamier version of mozzarella, and make it a star in the middle of the instead of layering it through the salad.
  • I use avocado because it just works
  • I use balsamic glaze on top to sweeten the whole thing and make it look beautiful

 

Before I share my recipe, I wanted to go back to my Health Coaching roots and tell you why tomatoes are not only delicious but are also ridiculously good for you!

 
How Good Are They?
 
With benefits including improved eye sight, good stomach health, reduced blood pressure, relief from diabetes, skin problems and urinary tract infections. They can also increase digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, improve fluid balance, protect the kidneys, detoxify the body, prevent premature ageing, and reduce inflammation and related conditions.
 
One serving of red, ripe, raw tomatoes (one cup or 150 grams) is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Tomatoes also provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health. And they’re delicious!!
 

The Top 7 Reasons to Eat Tomatoes:
 
1. They Fight Cancer

Tomatoes are natural cancer fighters that contain a large amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in defending against cancer causing free radicals. You can get this benefit not only from raw tomatoes, but also from heat-processed tomato products like ketchup. The lycopene in tomatoes defends against cancer and has been shown to be particularly effective in fighting prostate cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of the stomach and rectum as well as pharynx and esophageal cancers. It also protects against breast cancer and cancer of the mouth.

In addition, a single tomato can provide about 40% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents against cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body’s systems.

2. They Make Your Skin Healthy

Tomatoes make your skin look great! Beta-carotene, also found in carrots and sweet potatoes, helps protect skin against sun damage. Tomatoes’ lycopene also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles. Topical application of tomato juice is even known to cure severe sunburns.
 
3. They Improve Vision

The vitamin A that tomatoes provide can improve vision and help prevent night blindness. Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.
 
4. They Improve Digestive Health
 
Tomatoes keep the digestive system healthy by preventing both constipation and diarrhoea. They also prevent jaundice and effectively remove toxins from the body. One serving of tomatoes gives you 2 grams of fibre, which is 7% of the daily recommended amount. Fibre can bulk up the stool, reduce symptoms of constipation and it can regulate your bowel movements, thereby improving your overall digestive health.
 
5. They Give You Strong Bones and Hair

Tomatoes build strong bones. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.  Lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis. 
 
Tomatoes will even make your hair look good. The vitamin A found in tomatoes works to make hair strong and shiny. (Sorry, tomatoes cannot help much with thinning hair—but they will make the hair you have look better!)

6. They Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Tomatoes also reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, as well as bladder cancer. Because tomatoes are high in water content, which can stimulate urination, they are a diuretic in certain ways. They increase the elimination of toxins from the body, as well as excess water, salts, uric acid, and some fat as well. Their relatively high-water content also makes them a filling food.
 
7. They Lower Blood Pressure 

Eating a tomato daily reduces the risk of developing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. This is partially due to the impressive levels of potassium found in tomatoes. Potassium reduces the tension in blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing circulation and lowering the stress on the heart by eliminating hypertension.

 

Amazing, right?

 

My Caprese Salad

I love to make this salad when I'm in France where I have access to amazing ingredients. If you can't get different colour tomatoes, just use the ones you have. This dish is more about cutting and assembling than cooking. This version is how I put it together, but feel free to get artistic and present it how you think it looks best! 

 
 

Prep Time

15 minutes

 

Cooking Time

0 minutes! But let stand 10 minutes for flavours to come together

 

Yields

4 to 6 servings

 

Ingredients

 

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, ideally a red one, a yellow one and a black one, sliced
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • A handful of rocket
  • 1 large burrata
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • olives and torn fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

 

  1. Arrange the rocket on a serving platter so it loosely covers it.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes and avocados in an alternating pattern around the outside. A suggestion would be red tomato slice, yellow tomato slice, avocado slice, black tomato slice. Continue until you have made a ring around the whole platter.
  3. Place the burrata in the middle on the rocket and cut across widthwise and lengthwise. Open it up a little so it fills the space and the inside is exposed for seasoning. If your burrata is small, then you can fill the empty spaces with any leftover tomato and avocado slices.
  4. Salt and pepper all the ingredients. Make sure to season them well. Drizzle 1 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil over the the whole platter. It pays to use the best oil you can get for this dish. 
  5. You can add some chopped basil to decorate the dish as well.
  6. When it looks the way you like, drizzle the balsamic glaze in a line pattern across the dish to finish.
  7. Let sit 10 minutes before serving to let the flavours come together.

 

Notes

 

You can substitute fresh buffalo mozzarella for burrata if you find it hard to find. If you do, then cut it into slices and put it into the alternating pattern rather than in the middle on its own.  Continue the pattern into the middle of the plate.

 

I would love to hear if you give this a go and would especially like to know what variations you made. Please share in the comments below or in my Facebook group, 

 

Female Entrepreneurs Craving Time and Financial Freedom 

 

Committed to your success, 

 

Marina x

 

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