Growing up in St. Louis has given me a love of all things Italian. I may be a little picky about my cracker thin crust pizza or what’s in my marinara and meatballs, but I’ll pretty much eat whatever you put in front of me. (It does irk me, though that the majority of St. Louisans can’t pronounce “Mostaccioli” right and say “Muskacholy” instead. But I’ll just add it to my list.)
We are starting to get a TON of basil in our garden and I was dying to try out a new nut free pesto recipe. I thought this would make a good base for a vinaigrette. All that was left to do was figure out what to put on top! So, here goes another salad in the Summer Salad Series!
Antipasto means “before the meal” and it’s the Italian version of an appetizer. It usually consists of cheeses, meats, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, artichokes and peppers.
This salad serves 5 smaller lunch sized salads or 3 main dish salads.
1 pound mixed baby greens
10 TB Pesto Vinaigrette (nut free) see recipe below
2 red peppers, sliced in half and seeded OR jar of roasted red peppers
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup shredded Provel or mozzarella cheese*
15 jumbo black olives, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
5 slices prosciutto or ham, torn into chunks
1 can of cannellini or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
cooking spray or aluminum foil
paper lunch sack or plastic storage bag
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line 1 baking sheet or pan with foil or spray with olive oil.
3. Place 4 halves of red peppers cut-side down on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes, turn peppers over and roast for an additional 20 minutes.
5. Remove peppers from oven and place in bag and let cool. This allows the skin to steam away from the pepper.
6. Remove peppers from bag and gently peel skin away and discard skin.
7. Slice peppers into long slices.
8. Toss greens with vinaigrette and plate.
9. Arrange peppers, artichokes, cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, prosciutto and beans on plate.
10. Serve with gluten free breadsticks or crackers.
*Provel is a white, processed cheese that is made from cheddar, Swiss and provolone and is only found in St. Louis. If you live in St. Louis, you are morally obligated to use Provel in this recipe, for those of us suffering without it! I’m NOT kidding!
Pesto Vinaigrette (Nut Free)
1/2 cup Nut Free Pesto
1/2 cup mild vinegar (rice wine, white wine, red wine)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smoothe. You can also use a bowl with an immersion blender. Store unused portion in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.