simple marinated mozzarella spinach & tomato salad

 i love fresh mozzarella in any shape or form.  i may have a ton of cheese knowledge, but there is something about it’s simplicity.  it’s a bit of a blank canvas.  one of my favorite things to do when tomatoes are everywhere & perfect for eating is make this salad, have it on the side or add a protein and a meal is made.  the marinated cheese & dressing can be done days in advance, so this is great for parties or midweek meals.  no other salad i make tastes a fresh yet comforting as this bowl of tastiness.

makes 4 large side salads

1 box fresh baby spinach
3 cups cherry, grape or small tomato cut into bite sized pieces if needed

for marinated mozzarella

1 container of bocconcini
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil

. drain liquid from container & add all of the spices/herbs
. add just enough olive oil to coat the bocconcini making sure the mozzarella is well coated with spices & herbs
. put in the fridge for at least a couple of hour and up to a few days in advance

for dressing

2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2-3 teaspoons rice wine vinagar
olive oil
salt & pepper

. combine everything except olive oil, salt & pepper in food processor
. add olive oil slowly until dressing is emulsified, then salt & pepper to taste

to put together

. toss tomatoes with dressing
. toss spinach with dressing
. slice bocconcini in half
. place spinach in center of each bowl or larger salad plate, then tomatoes on one side & mozzarella on the other (i don’t mix this salad or pile the tomatoes or mozzarella on top of the spinach because it gets all mushy, gross)

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