There’s nothing I love to order more at an Italian restaurant or deli than a Caprese salad. I love the combination of fresh basil and tomato; it’s such a fresh tasting salad that instantly makes me think of summer. Adding butternut squash to this traditional salad packs it with extra nutrition and fills you up. Sprinkle a bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and prepare to be in food heaven!
One of the things I miss about living in New York has to be the Italian eateries. I miss going into a small delicatessen and looking behind the glass counter at all the amazing pasta, meats, cheeses, and salads. I loved getting a Caprese salad whenever possible.
The smell of fresh basil has a special power over me. It’s a herb certainly worth growing.
Did you know that basil is one of the healthiest herbs in the world? Basil, also known as St. Joseph’s Wart, belongs to the mint family. What makes basil so healthy? Basil has antibacterial qualities, provided by its volatile oils — such as estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. Basil also has important antioxidants such as, orientin and vicenin, which, have been found to protect cell structures. Plus, it tastes beautiful and makes Margherita pizza, salads, soups, pasta, and sandwiches taste fantastic.
While I love fresh out of your garden basil, you can easily buy a basil plant to keep in your kitchen or home to add flavor and nutrition to your everyday foods.
Basil is even good in cocktails; basil gimlet and a basil lemon martini were my faves at a bar I used to go to in NYC.
I’ve been neglecting my spiralizer lately, and I feel really guilty about it. In fact, Luke and I have been eating way too much meat lately and have both realized — since my recent nutritional therapy certification — that we need to abstain from wheat. However, that’s a whole blog series in itself (and may become one)!
You don’t have to own a spiralizer to make this recipe because it would be just as delicious with chopped or sliced butternut squash. This is a chilled salad, however, so you will be refrigerating the squash after it is fully cooked. I prefer spiralizing butternut squash, so when I can, I will take advantage of that over chopping any day!
With the 4th of July coming up (wow, that makes me homesick) this salad would be a wonderful addition to any BBQ or get together. Spiralized butternut squash Caprese salad is so colorful, flavorful, and simple — you really should give this recipe a try.
- 1 Medium butternut squash (spiralized or chopped)
- 2 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (and two full leaves to garnish)
- Two cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp of healthy oil (I used hemp, you could use any healthy oil of your choice)
- 2 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- You will want to cook your butternut squash noodles or cubes and let them chill in the refrigerator ahead of time (minimum of 90 minutes)
- Preheat your oven to 400 (ovens vary).
- Prepare and peel your butternut squash for spiralizing or chopping. If you're going to spiralize your butternut squash, you should use your "C" blade (for thinner noodles).
- Cook the squash until thoroughly heated (mine took about 30 minutes)
- Place cooked squash in the refrigerator to cool.
- To prepare the rest of your salad:
- Chop up your tomatoes into chunks
- You will want to roughly chop your basil leaves, and depending on how strong you want your basil flavor to be, you may want more than ¼ cup!
- Finely chop the garlic.
- Once your squash is cooled, place the chilled noodles (or chunks) into a giant bowl and add the tomato, basil, and garlic.
- Add in your 2 tbsp of healthy oil and combine all the ingredients.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the salad mixture back in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Once the entire salad mixture has chilled thoroughly, add in your 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese and garnish with two basil leaves.
You could cut down on the cooking time by serving this salad cooked, but during the summer don’t you just love a pasta salad or chilled veggies? I know that I do.
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Do you like basil? What’s your favorite Italian dish?