So let’s talk about salads! Not the usual kind of salads but crazy, out of the box and the boring cooking norms of – what makes a salad – salad! Like this Italian summer salad combo made from the best Italian salad – Caprese Salad and the best antipasto – Melon Prosciutto. Combine with a refreshing basil vinaigrette and you are in heaven.
Ever since I can remember, the usual summer salad on my family table has been the famous Greek salad (called horiatiki): tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, olives, oregano, and of course feta cheese. A delicious combination of fresh summer veggies topped with creamy, spicy feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil. So good!
No matter how I enjoy a salad like that, I always embrace variety while meal planning for my family. We should embrace food variety for so many reasons.
First of all, variety gives you a wide range of nutrients. Swapping the kind of vegetables you’re eating will provide a broader range of nutrients.
Secondly, I like to shake and spice things up mostly because I hate cooking and eating the same food day in and day out without getting tremendously bored (my taste buds and whole body actually).
Lastly, it is extremely important to serve a variety of healthy foods and get our kids exposed to all kinds of foods and tastes.
My picky eaters drive me crazy most of the time but it is a great victory when they accept to take a bite and approve something new, something with a funny smell, color, or texture. Ultimately, they are going to take a second one and then next time another one, and ultimately, they are going to do the big move: eat that salad because they enjoy it not because they have to “eat your green”.
TWO FAVORITE ITALIANS IN ONE
In our family menu, melon prosciutto is my husband’s favorite antipasto. Well, he is half Italian from his father’s side and so Italian food is in his DNA. I still remember the first time we made this antipasto. I couldn’t understand how fruit can pair with cold meat. Weird. It wasn’t! It was exquisite and became one of my favorite antipasti too.
Should I talk about Caprese salad? There is a good reason that this salad is so popular.
Served in no more than 5 minutes, the combination of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, basil, and a splash of vinaigrette is love at first bite.
Ok, now here is an idea! Why not take Caprese salad to the next level and pair it with some melon? It sounds good, isn’t it? Incorporating fruits in a salad is a brilliant and tasteful way to increase daily fruit intake.
Oh, wait a minute! How about adding some good protein too? Our Italian friends have shown us that melon and cured prosciutto is a happily ever culinary marriage. That’s it! A mix of two Italian favorites in one salad topped with a simple basil vinaigrette. Holy yum!!!
Don’t be afraid to improvise and make your own version of salad out of your favorite ingredients or leftovers. You may be surprised at what becomes your next favorite salad!
ITALIAN SUMMER SALAD: TIPS
As always the success of this recipe depends on fresh, good-quality ingredients.
Make the basil vinaigrette and cut the melon into the shape you want. Place both in different food containers and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 days until served. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette a few minutes before serving to avoid soggy melon and veggies.
My vegetarian friends will skip the prosciutto but they will keep everything else.
Serve this amazing combo on a nice platter along with a cool white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc and a Greek Assytrico like Santo Wines ΝΥΧΤΕΡΙ Reserve. Relax with your friends and family and enjoy the coolness of the moment.
MORE REFRESHING SALAD RECIPES!
There is a ton of salads in the Mediterranean way of eating but I will give you my favorite list of the best summer salads:
First of all, the one and only Greek salad. There are so many reasons that this salad is a legend.
Then, this black-eyed pea salad is so special. It is so easy to make and it’s really impressive to serve.
Furthermore, this Mediterranean-inspired cucumber salad is easy to make and an excellent salad to serve BBQs, picnics, and back-yards parties. When served outdoors it tastes even better for some reason.
This eggplant salad is my favorite. It may not look like a classic salad because there are no greens etc but only eggplant. That’s why it is so unique and I strongly recommend trying it!
If you make this recipe, you have to let me know! I absolutely love your feedback. This is a huge motivation for me and it keeps 30daysofgreekfood’s kitchen alive. Bookmark this recipe and leave your rate and comment below, or take a photo with your Italian Summer Salad and tag me on Instagram with #30daysofgreekfood and Facebook with @30daysofgreekfood.
Italian Summer Salad
FOR THE SALAD
- 4-6 cups cantaloupe or/and honeydew melon
- 10-15 mozzarella balls or a big one in pieces
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes
- 4 slices prosciutto
FOR THE BASIL VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
- ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
- Salt, pepper to taste (optional)
FOR THE SALAD
- Use a small scoop or melon baller to form ball-shaped spheres. You may also just cut it into cubes or any other shape you like.
- Place prosciutto slices at the bottom of a plate or bowl or other serving dish of your choice.
- Over the prosciutto, layer the melon, the tomatoes, and the mozzarella cheese.
FOR THE BASIL VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Drizzle the basil vinaigrette dressing over the salad or just serve it in a small bowl with a spoon for individual use.