Beat the heat: A summery twist on caprese salad

This take on a caprese salad is light, refreshing and showcases some of the best flavors this season.

click to enlarge This sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous dish can be whipped up in a jiffy. - Katie Machol Simon
Katie Machol Simon
This sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous dish can be whipped up in a jiffy.

click to enlarge This sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous dish can be whipped up in a jiffy. - Katie Machol Simon
Katie Machol Simon
This sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous dish can be whipped up in a jiffy.
  • Katie Machol Simon
  • This sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous dish can be whipped up in a jiffy.

If the sweltering summer heat has you cringing at the thought of slaving over a hot stove or dreading turning on your oven, then I've got the perfect, no-cook side dish recipe for you.

This summery take on a caprese salad is a light, refreshing side dish that showcases some of the best flavors of this season: savory tomatoes, sweet watermelon, juicy peaches and bright, verdant herbs. The best part: no pots, pans or hot ovens needed to throw this together. All you need is a cutting board, knife, whisk and a couple of bowls.

Perfect for picnics, dinner parties or a quick, weeknight side dish, this salad with white wine vinaigrette and herbs can be whipped up in a jiffy, a day ahead or à la minute. It can also be changed to your tastes — ditch the basil and add add tarragon or thyme, swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or feta (or leave out the cheese altogether).

Keep your cool when cooking this summer and try out this sweet, savory, tangy and herbaceous side dish that I guarantee you'll be making a staple in your kitchen.

Peach, Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and White Wine Vinaigrette
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

Salad:
2 ripe peaches
2 cups watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 small or 2 large tomatoes
A few leaves fresh basil
A few leaves fresh mint
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut the peaches lengthwise around the pit and twist the two halves to separate. Make two or three cuts lengthwise into the half without the pit, then turn those slices sideways and make a few more cuts to dice them. Repeat this with the half with the pit in it (the slices will be easier to remove from the pit when cut versus trying to pry out a stubborn pit). Cut the tomato into similarly sized pieces. Put the peaches, tomato and watermelon chunks into a large bowl.

Roughly chop the mint and basil or chiffonade them: Place a few leaves on top of one another and roll them up tightly lengthwise into a small cigar shape; slice the leaves and they will look like thin ribbons. Put the herbs in the large bowl along with the fruit and toss to combine, reserving some for garnish.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey and Dijon. Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to combine. If not serving immediately, let the salad sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry. Add mozzarella and reserved herbs to the salad right before serving.


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