Just as a disclaimer, this was 100% not my idea. It should have been, but it wasn’t. We’ve already established on this blog that I am a big fan of tomato/basil/mozzarella combinations and that I’m making an effort to prep my breakfasts and lunches ahead of time so that I don’t have to think about it during the week. Right now, mason jar salads are all the rage, but to be honest, I don’t love bringing salad for lunch at work. It just seems really unappetizing after sitting there all morning, no matter how carefully everything is stacked. However, during a previous Recipe Redux, I saw this gorgeous post on FitLiving Eats for a Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad and I knew I had a solution to my salad problem. I am always willing to eat mozzarella chunks, even if the salad isn’t perfect by lunch time!
So, I decided to try to do a prep-ahead version that I could bring with me to work all week. Now, the inspiration recipe wasn’t exactly difficult or time-consuming, but I made it even easier. I still roasted the tomatoes, but I roasted them on low while I was also making some no-sugar-added granola. Also, instead of making or buying a balsamic vinaigrette, I tossed the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting them, then I just poured a little of the leftover “dressing” in the bottom of each mason jar while the tomatoes roasted.
Then, following the recipe’s recommendation, I put the roasted tomatoes in next to act as a shield between the dressing and the greens. I don’t think it’s even necessary to roast the tomatoes during the summer when they are in season, but this is a great way to get a taste of summer with less-than-perfect tomatoes in the winter! I let this step cool for a few hours to prevent the greens from wilting and the cheese from melting.
Next, I ripped up some basil leaves and tossed those in, followed by the tiny mozzarella pearls. Finally, I jammed in a ton of arugula, which is one of my favorite greens and is hearty enough to hold up to a few days in the fridge.
This made a healthy, quick, and delicious lunch all week long. It was like a refreshing little ray of sunshine in the middle of my day!
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 large basil leaves
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
- 5 oz baby arugula, washed and dried
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine tomatoes, balsamic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, saving the dressing in the bowl. Roast about 20 minutes, until skins split.
- Divide remaining dressing evenly between the jars. Divide tomatoes evenly between jars when finished roasting, then let cool.
- Once cool, tear basil leaves into large pieces and sprinkle on top of tomatoes. Next, drain the mozzarella and divide between the jars.
- Top off each jar with a few handfuls of arugula and store in the fridge until needed. Shake to distribute the dressing and enjoy!