As summer starts to peep around the corner, the human body begins craving lighter fare, turning from heavier, warm dishes to those with crisp and cool compositions. This simple salad is perfect to begin preparing the body to let go of the extra winter “padding” it might have acquired. Not to mention that the monounsaturated fats from the olive oil and the avocado are wonderful for the heart and overall cardiovascular health. For those concerned with beauty, this salad’s ingredients are chock-full of nutrients that benefit your hair and skin as well. The avocado and the olive oil both are lauded as ways to eat your way to shiny hair and rosy skin, and the basil and the tomatoes provide essential anti-aging antioxidants to protect your skin.
While this dish can be made year-round, it is at its tastiest at the height of summer. Three of the main ingredients—tomatoes, basil, and avocado—are at their best from now until September. If available, try to shop locally whenever it is possible. Not only does the produce taste better, but the local economy is served and the planet better maintained. Finding avocados might be a stretch for those living outside of California or Florida, but basil and tomatoes should be fairly easy to find at a local farm or farmers’ market.
This dish works wonderfully as a light lunch or dinner, paired with a crusty hunk of rustic whole-grain bread or even just by itself. It’s fast and easy, plates beautifully, and tastes amazing. One note on the ingredients though: the higher quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil used, the better the salad. Using high quality ingredients is not only beneficial to the body, but they also taste far better as well.
Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, and Avocado Salad
- 1 dry pint of grape tomatoes
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 small ball of mozzarella cheese
- 4-5 large leaves of fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar (the older, the better)
- Fresh-cracked pepper
- Sea salt
- In a mixing bowl, coarsely tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and combine with the grape tomatoes.
- Tear or cube the mozzarella into small pieces (about the same size as the tomatoes), and then toss with the basil and tomatoes.
- Drizzle about a tablespoon or two of the olive oil on the mixture, adding cracked pepper to taste with just the tiniest pinch of sea salt.
- Then add about a tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and toss gently to mix.
- Cube the avocado and add last to the salad, only tossing once so they won’t lose their shape. Then plate and serve.