Juicy balsamic-grilled chicken and lots of fresh strawberries and creamy mozzarella cheese make for the ULTIMATE twist on caprese salad!
I nominate this caprese salad for president. ↑↑
Because when all else fails, let’s be real: caprese salad will just never let you down.
Also…there’s the fact that I have a full-blown obsession with fresh mozzarella. Seriously, you know I’m a cheese-head and all that since I happen to live in the cheese capitol of the world and I love ALL the cheese. But I have a certain soft spot and deeeeeeeep obsession with fresh mozz.
And in this particular salad…we explore the various degrees of potential obsessions with balsamic grilled chicken…juicy fresh strawberries subbin’ in for the usual tomatoes you see in caprese…obviously as much fresh mozzarella slices I can squeeze in one poor salad…and of course, more balsamic vinaigrette.
Seriously. Real, authentic caprese salad need not even apply to be in my salad life anymore. This salad is ALL the caprese I need.
Quickie sidenote: I need to tell you something about mozzarella cheese. So my mom buys those little mozzarella balls, you know? The itty-bitty ones? Yeah, they’re seriously SO delish, but wouldn’t you know it my family decided to ALMOST ruin them for me.
They call them eyeballs. And I can just barely get past that one, guys…they totally stole my cheese innocence.
Oh, and the other day? I asked my mom to get the XXL mozzarella balls when she was shopping so I could slice them for this salad and she said something along the lines of, “You’re going to SLICE the eyeballs??”
Do you see what I have to put up with? 🙄🙄
Getting back to our caprese salad business here…Guys, I tell no liez—this salad is the REAL FREAKING DEAL. At first glance you probably think that it’s harder than heck to throw together than regular caprese, but it really isn’t! It just takes a wee bit of planning ahead.
You see, the chicken has to marinate in a balsamic marinade for about 2 hours—this builds up TONS of flavor and I would highly recommend not skipping this step. (plus, the marinade plays double-duty as the dressing later on!)
Then the chicken gets slapped on the grill for a few minutes. Chippity-chopped into bite-sized strips.
And tossed in romaine with juicy sliced strawberries, sliced avocado, creamy mozzarella, oodles of fresh basil…
Let’s finish things off with a nice waterfall of balsamic vinaigrette, shall we?…
K, let’s DO this new-and-improved caprese salad thing, guys.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 8 oz sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, agave, garlic, pepper, and salt until smooth. Divide mixture in half and pour one half into a plastic bag. Arrange chicken breasts in plastic bag, seal and refrigerate chicken at least 2 hours.
- Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade (keeping reserved half cold in fridge) Grill chicken over medium-high heat, turning once until chicken registers 165F, about 15 minutes. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, slice into strips. Set aside.
- Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine strawberries, mozzarella, avocado, lettuce, and grilled chicken strips. Drizzle reserved balsamic dressing over top and toss to coat. Sprinkle fresh basil on top of salad. Serve immediately.