Caprese salad is a true beauty to behold. Fresh Mozzarella cheese with sliced tomatoes, all the basil leaves you can get your hands on and a little drizzle of olive oil. Perfect combo! Yes, I do love the flavors of that salad, BUT a lot of times when I eat it I want it to be more. I want a bunch of lettuce and some other veggies thrown on there. Can it be done without detracting from the amazing fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and fresh tomato combo?
I think so!
And loaded caprese salad with shrimp was born!
There is only one way to make a salad loaded, add a ton of the most exciting veggies you can think of and then throw some protein on there. For this loaded caprese salad we start with a base of mixed greens, then we have some sliced avocado – because avocado is always needed – and some cucumbers for crunch and freshness. Of course we need the classic fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes (my fave, but you can use any kinds of tomatoes your prefer), and plenty of fresh basil leaves. To top that trifecta of ultimate flavor combos off we make a basil dressing using 2 cups of basil leaves, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blend it all up and pour it on top of the entire salad! A basil dressing on top of juicy grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, life doesn’t get much better than that!
BTW don’t be like me and think you can use your blender to make the dressing, use you food processor (proof is in the pictures). There wasn’t enough mass in there for my blender to handle it. No one wants to wash a blender AND a food processor!
Oh and the shrimp! We cook the shrimp in a skillet first and allow it to cool so the lettuce won’t get all wilty on us (<– there is nothing I hate more than wilty lettuce!) For protein I chose to go with sauteed shrimp because it’s quick, easy and goes nicely with the basil and tomatoes – keeping that summertime vibe going. BUT if you aren’t a fan of shrimp you can simply leave it off for a lighter salad, or replace it with leftover chicken. No matter which direction you decide to go you will love this loaded caprese salad.
Guys, I am currently on my annual family beach vacation – wohooo! As you’re reading this post it is my last day – sad face. Vacation weeks always go so fast. It has been a true break for me to not have to cook, my wonderful family has been on top of it. It’s also been great to enjoy time on the beach or in the pool with my cousins. My favorite has been sipping on a margarita, with a good book while the ocean waves lap over my feet. It’s my jam.
Truth moment for a second. I am writing this post on Thursday before I head down to the beach for the day. When I go on vacation I normally stress myself out leading up to the vacation in order to get all of my posts scheduled for while I’m gone. This time I thought I would try something different and do a little work from my trip. You guys, I didn’t want to work today, I wanted to get up and be lazy all day. Instead I got up for a run and then hunkered down to write this post for you real quick. You know what, I’m glad I stuck to my plan because after having several lazy days here on the beach it feels really nice to be productive for a small portion of the day.
Ugh, being your own boss is hard sometimes, because it’s so easy to make excuses for yourself. Other times being your own boss is really cool too because if I wasn’t my own boss I may not be here to enjoy the beach at all. P.S. If you haven’t noticed that I’ve been a little MIA from Instagram lately, I blame all of the margaritas and the beach bumming. But you know what, a good break was well needed, I’ve barely been on Instagram while I’ve been here and that is a beautiful thing my friends!
Anyways, I hope you enjoy this loaded caprese salad as much as I do. It’s packed with amazing flavor, texture, and tons of veggies – summer vibes! And that basil dressing is pretty much the entire purpose of life! Also it only takes 25 minutes to make – you still have time to get outside and be a bum like me this week, because what else is summer for?!
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-vained (use wild caught when possible)
- Basil Dressing
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons agave nectar
- salt and pepper to taste
- A few handfuls of mixed greens
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 to 3 mini cucumbers, sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or as balls
- ½ cup basil leaves torn or julienned
- Cook the Shrimp: Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, once heated melt the butter. Add the shrimp and arrange in a flat, even layer. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Or until the shrimp curls up, turns pink and is opaque. Remove from pan and allow to cool,
- Make the Basil Dressing: Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender of a food processor (for the small amount of dressing I found my food processor to work best). Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings and blend again if needed. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: To a serving bowl add the mixed greens. Then arrange the cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, mozzarella, and sprinkle the basil on top.
- Serve: Just before serving the salad drizzle the basil dressing on top and toss to coat the salad in the dressing. Serve immediately. If you want to store any leftovers, they are best stored in separate containers and without the dressing.