Ok I know that posting a salad may seem like cheating, but hear me out! This is an AMAZING salad! There are lots of colors, textures, and awesome flavors!
Although I have to admit… I love any excuse to put mini marinated mozzarella balls in food. They are soooo cute! Plus the oil with spices adds so much personality!
This salad has such a blend of flavors. The garlic croutons and balsamic chicken give it such a bold flare, but then the salad itself balances everything with its freshness.
And lemme tell you about this chicken! Holy moly it’s amazing! The trick is to cook up the chicken and deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, cover and let it hang out. This really concentrates the flavor and caramelizes the edges of the chicken.
I have life advice for you… never underestimate a good crouton. They are the abandoned and unsung hero of salads! The best way to make croutons is to use day-old bread then bake them low and slow. This gives them a nice crunch and browns them evenly. No burnt edges here! I used a loaf of sourdough from the amazing Miga Bread and I was not disappointed.
This is perfect for a summer day… or just a lazy day. Or even a day that you need to hurry and get food so that you can finish binge watch Ugly Betty. Theoretically… ahem… You get the gist!
Long story short… this salad is amazing so make it! And if you do, post pics in the comments!
Caprese Salad with Garlic Croutons and Balsamic Chicken
Yields: 2-4 servings
Time: 15 minutes
- I bag of lettuce
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup of mini marinated mozzarella balls, drained with some olive oil marinade saved.
- 2 large uncooked chicken breasts, cut into thick slices
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ loaf of day-old bread, cubed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons of garlic powder
- ½ lemon
For the chicken:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Take sliced chicken breast and toss them with ½ cup of olive oil, ½ balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons of garlic powder. Saute in a hot skillet until browned along the edges. Be sure to stir occasionally. Put remaining marinade into the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan until thickened. Then add sliced mushrooms, remaining balsamic vinegar and toss until tender and covered in glaze. Then cover and turn off heat.
For the croutons:
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Take cubed bread and spread evenly into one layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder, and toss to coat evenly. Bake for 5 minutes, remove the tray and turn over, then bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan.
For the salad:
In a large serving bowl combine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, chicken and mushrooms, mozzarella balls and croutons. Toss with juice of ½ a lemon and reserved olive oil marinade. Salt and pepper to taste.
*Tip: Store any leftover croutons in an airtight container for a few days. Makes a great snack!