For Thanksgiving last weekend I brought this salad to share with the 18 other people at our table .... well, the adults at least. It was a hit with those over the age of 16 and was so refreshing. I do so love a lettuce-free salad once in awhile.
The brilliant flavours of the pesto paired with the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers, the tartness of the fresh Parmesan (don't go for the 'less than real stuff' here!), the heat from the red onion and the spongy-goodness of the wee bocconcini cheese balls that were marinated in said pesto were a match made in gastronomical heaven.
While this is great to share with a group it's also a great lunch you can make ahead of time for a little change of pace from the traditional sandwich or wrap. No matter who you share it with (or don't) this salad is a keeper.
16-20 small bocconcini balls, sliced in half
1/2 cup pesto (I used my Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto)
2 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
3-4 cups cherry tomatoes, whole
1/2 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/3-1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
Garnish - balsamic glaze (see Note below)
At least a several hours before serving (or preferably overnight) place the sliced bocconcini balls into a large Ziploc bag and add the pesto and oil. Gently massage the pesto and oil into the cheese and place into the fridge until ready to serve. If possible, a couple of times pick up and massage the bag of cheese during the marinating time so the pesto gets worked into all sides of the cheese.
When ready to serve: Place cherry tomatoes into a large serving bowl. Add orange pepper slices and red onion. Add bocconcini cheese/pesto mixture to the tomatoes and gently mix together. Just before serving sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Then drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve immediately.
Note: Balsamic Glaze is a thicker, reduced sauce whose main ingredient is balsamic vinegar. Its thickness helps to cling to the veggies in this salad. It can also be used to drizzle over grilled meats, veggies .... Find it near the balsamic vinegar in your food store.
Source: The Baking Bookworm