Green Caprese Salad with Oversized Garlic Croutons

This week I’m celebrating “Fri-yay” with a delicious, flavorful, indulgent salad (yes, an indulgent salad, it’s a thing). It’s essentially a classic Caprese salad reorganized as a side or dinner salad, with baby greens, a basil-infused balsamic vinaigrette, and giant garlic croutons. If you’re thinking “that sounds more like garlic bread,” well, you caught me.

This is a great choice for when you’re taking the easy way out and ordering pizza for dinner, but want something fresh and healthy on the side.

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Ingredients
DRESSING
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped basil
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper

CROUTONS
Baguette slices
Olive oil
Garlic clove, peeled and sliced in half

SALAD
4 cups baby romaine lettuce
4 boccocini mozzarella
8 campari tomatoes

Steps
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with a small pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add basil and set aside.
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Spread at least six (up to however many people you are planning on serving) 1 inch thick slices of baguette on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a glove to protect your hand, rub the open side of garlic clove. The oil and little bits of garlic will scrape off across the bread, flavoring it without leaving chunks of garlic behind.
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Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into bite sized pieces‎. In a large bowl, drizzle the vinaigrette over the baby romaine and toss to coat evenly. Add tomatoes and mozzarella, tossing a bit more to mix in. Top salad with croutons and serve as a side salad, or add a protein such as scallops or chicken to make an entree salad.
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