If you are looking for a healthier appetizer, serve these easy Caprese Bites with Pesto at your next gathering. You will love the juicy tomatoes, tangy mozzarella with fresh basil pesto on a crostini type bread!
Caprese Bites with Pesto
Your farmer's market can provide some wonderful produce during the summer months. I love moseying around the vendor stands looking for the season's best fresh ingredients. One of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes is making a caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and basil with a drizzle of olive oil.
These bite sized appetizers are made with the same fresh ingredients but what makes them so special you might ask? It's making your own pesto!
It's really easy to make and once you do, you'll never buy the store stuff again! Plus the aroma is amazing. Not only is pesto great on these bites but you can maybe use to toss with spaghetti or make into a pasta salad.
Making your own pesto is easy to do and really packs a nice flavor with fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella!
Ingredients/items used in making Caprese Bites with Pesto:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Rustic Italian bread
- Olive Oil
- Fresh basil leaves
- Pine Nuts
- Romano Cheese (or parmesan cheese)
- Salt and Pepper
- Kitchen items that you might need: Food processor, cutting board, knife
What is pesto?
Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy. In fact, I was there this past February and many of their dishes had fresh pesto and it was delicious! The main ingredients are fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, salt, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and olive oil. Just a few ingredients that pack a punch and so easy to make at home.
How long will fresh pesto last?
I would suggest using the pesto within an hour if using right away. You can also store in the refrigerator in a small container and just be sure to keep the top covered with olive oil and your pesto can last about 2 weeks. I haven't tried freezing it, so I'm unable to recommend that. If you have, please let me know in the comments.
Other ways to use pesto:
Fresh pesto can be used in a variety of ways. Not only is it delicious with these caprese bites, but you can toss with freshly made pasta as in the Gnocchi with Pesto and Cream Sauce that would make a great night dinner, or this Sausage Pesto Pasta, or toss with some pasta salad for a fresh taste.
Remember, summer time is the best time to get fresh ingredients. A visit to your local farmer's market would be a great place to start to get basil and small cherry tomatoes.
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 4 oz. Mozzarella cheese (do not use fresh)
- 4 slices rustic bread (i.e. Italian)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup romano cheese
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste if desired
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and set aside
- Slice mozzarella cheese into ¼" slices then cut into but 1" squares and set aside
- Brush both sides of bread with olive oil and crisp up by placing on a hot grill (watch and turn so they don't burn - you just want to get some grill marks on both side) then cut into about 1 ¼" squares and set aside
- To make pesto, place basil and pine nuts in a food processor and process until chopped fine
- Add romano cheese, garlic and cheese and process until mixed
- With blade running, drizzle olive oil slowly until it is incorporated.
- If desired, add salt and pepper to taste
- To assemble, place about a ½ teaspoon of pesto on bread, top with mozzarella, cherry tomato and secure with toothpick
- Serve immediately
To toast pine nuts: place in a hot pan and stir for 3-4 minutes
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g
Nutritional information provided is computer-generated and only an estimate. You may want to do your own research with the ingredients listed if you have concerns about health or specific diets.
If you love caprese stuff like me, be sure to check out these other recipes: