We’re growing some basil and I wanted to use it for something other than pesto…that requires a heck-ton of basil. I decided it would be good as dressing for a twist on caprese salad. Tomato, mozzarella, and basil dressing were calling out to some orzo and voila! Side dish/salad/veg success!
What makes this Basil Vinaigrette versus pesto? Glad you asked!
Basil Vinaigrette = liquid-y, light, with a vinegar tang
Basil Pesto = nutty, cheesey, thicker
1 cup basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs garlic, chopped
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs lime juice
sprinkle of sugar
1 cup orzo
2 large tomatoes
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
In a food processor, combine basil, a little of the oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt & pepper, and sugar. Blend while streaming in the rest of the oil.
Taste & adjust as you like it and refrigerate until use.
Meanwhile, boil salted water for the orzo. Cook according to the package, being careful not to over cook.
Then cool for at least 30 minutes.
Chop the tomatoes and mozzarella. Add them to the orzo with the basil dressing.
Mix and refrigerate until serving.
I liked this one. I think the vinegar and the lime add a good little tang to the basil. Like: wake up! It would be an easy one to switch up for other pasta shapes, lentils, white beans, farro, quinoa, or whatever.
We had this as a side dish with some grilled chicken, but it could be it’s own meal. I tried to go heavier on the tomato than on the cheese, since we definitely need more veggies than cheese on the menu. It was good and it did well as leftovers too.