Nightshade-FREE – Caprese Salads – Two Variations
10 – 12 oz. (1 bundle) asparagus (smaller = tender)
1 medium red onion, cut in thin large pieces/slices
6 oz. mozzarella balls, halved
2 ripe papayas and/or other fruit in season — avocado and beets are good partners (small slices or chunks)
3 TB. nightshade-free pesto*
Salt and pepper to taste
Pine nuts to dress salad and for pesto*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On large baking sheet, spread out asparagus, red onion, sliced papaya, add the pesto. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness of asparagus), until the asparagus is tender.
Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool. Plate the asparagus, onion, and papaya and top with mozzarella and fresh-cracked pepper and salt. (Optional to sprinkle nuts on top ). Serve!
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts or pistachios)
3-5 garlic cloves, minced (about 3-4 teaspoons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To make the pesto, combine basil, garlic, pine or other nuts and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Dr. G’s KITCHEN NOTES: If you want to make a large batch and freeze the pesto, omit the cheese (it doesn’t freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. I make a huge batch when pesto is at its peak and freeze as stated above, it’s a wonderful sauce for so many recipes, experiment with some of your own. One of my favorites is making a quesadilla and using the pesto as dipping sauce.
Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto will stay greener longer that way.
To pick the perfect mango, squeeze it gently to judge their ripeness. If the mango has a slight give, it’s ripe and ready to eat. If it’s too firm, let it ripen on the counter for a few days at room temperature…AND…don’t judge a mango by its color: The red blush you’ll see on some varieties is not an indication of ripeness or quality; it’s simply a characteristic of the variety.
3 large, ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 TB. freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
3 TB. extra virgin olive oil
Pink Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Snipped fresh basil for garnish
Pesto* to drizzle on top as desired
Crusty toasted baguette slices (optional)
Romaine lettuce or spring mix for bed of salad
Place mango slices on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in oven as indicated in the recipe above for papaya. Remove from oven and let cool then place sliced mango on a platter, alternating with slices of mozzarella. Drizzle with lemon juice and oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with pesto sauce and serve with gluten-free crackers, bread or baguette slices.
Alternative Balsamic Reduction Sauce
1 cup dark balsamic vinegar (can use flavored balsamic like mango, strawberry, etc.)
1/4 cup honey or Lakanto Natural Sweetener
1 slice of fruit used in salad like mango or papaya.
If using fruit, blend until smooth with balsamic vinegar in blender and add the sweetener.
Stir balsamic vinegar mixture in a small saucepan and place over high heat – stir consistently to avoid sticking and burning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool then drizzle over salad. NOTE: I like to make the sauce the night before, refrigerate then drizzle on the salad the next day after bringing sauce to room temperature.