Insalata caprese, or ‘salad of Capri’, is traditionally a simple salad made of sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil. I have switched the olive oil for fermented coconut aminos (which gives it such a great flavour) and dairy mozzarella for my plant-based version (see page 260). This is such a perfect, fresh summer salad using ingredients that can be readily available in your veggie garden. The quality of the tomatoes you use makes all the difference. Vine ripened is best and organic is even better.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Very easy
- 225 g (8 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
- 15 g (½ oz/½ cup loosely packed) basil
- 90 g (3 oz/¾ cup) black olives, pitted
- ½ cup ‘Cashew notzzarella’ (see page 260)
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos*
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the salad ingredients on two platters or one big share plate.
Top with the coconut aminos and cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
This plant-based version of traditional mozzarella cheese has revolutionised pizza night at our house. Not only that, dollops of this creamy, easy-to-make cheese can be added to many dishes. It spreads well on toast, or on savoury crackers and is perfect in wraps. I like to freeze any leftovers when I make a batch. You do have to wait for it to thaw again but that can sometimes be easier than making a fresh batch. Another way we love to enjoy this cheese is in a simple Insalata caprese with olives (see page 102). So good.
Makes 1 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 155 g (5½ oz/1 cup) cashew nuts
- 50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) tapioca flour
- 20 g (¾ oz/⅓ cup) nutritional yeast*
- ½ teaspoon salt juice of 1 lemon
Pour boiling water over the cashew nuts and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
Place an empty shallow bowl in the freezer to chill.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add 375 ml (12½ fl oz/ 1½ cups) of water and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat.
Gently simmer and stir until the mixture thickens. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and pliable. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the freezer and spread the mixture over the base. Place the bowl of mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Pull the ‘notzzarella’ apart to add to pizzas, salads or allow to come to room temperature before using it as a spread. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for longer periods.
This is an edited extract from Whole byHarriet Birrell published by Hardie Grant Books $50.00 and is available where all good books are sold. Photographer: © Nikole Ramsay