Caprese Salad Recipe, with Bufala Mozzarella & Nut-Free Pesto

by Nancy Zaffaro
0 comment

On a recent trip to Chicago, we found Tesori quite by accident. My teenaged nephew and I had enjoyed a great morning walking Grant Park and visiting the Shedd Aquarium. We were still planning to visit the Art Institute, but were famished. Located in the heart of the Loop, on Adams Avenue, just off Michigan Avenue and across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago, we enjoyed a terrific lunch before setting off again.

Tesori’s menu is Italian-Mediterranean, and they’re open for lunch and dinner. The bar is inviting for happy hour or a late night cocktail.

Tesori makes their own bufala mozzarella and won me over with their burrata insalata—a salad of wild baby arugula, dried black mission figs, aged balsamic vinegar, toasted walnuts, and a large ball of their fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Here, we share their recipe for that summer Italian classic, the Caprese Salad—one of the best way to use summer tomatoes and basil. You may not be able to find Tesori-quality mozzarella at home, but the better the quality of mozzarella and tomatoes, the better this salad will be. We especially like this easy-to-make nut-free and dairy-free basil pesto.

-Recipe courtesy of Tesori, Chicago.

Basil Pesto


  • 5 oz. fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

To Prepare:

  1. Add Basil, Garlic, Parmesan, Salt, and Pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2. With food processor running, drizzle in Olive Oil.

Use immediately, or cover tightly (with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pesto, to prevent oxidation) and refrigerate for later use.

Caprese Salad (per person)

Ingredients, Per Person:

  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto (see Tesori’s nut-free recipe above)
  • ½ heirloom tomato, sliced ¼” thick
  • 3 ½ ounces fresh mozzarella di Bufala, sliced ¼” thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 10+ year balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch micro basil (or basil chiffonade)

To Prepare:

  1. Spread pesto on a plate.
  2. On top of the pesto, place alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic over salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and garnish with basil.
tesori main dining room

Tesori’s main dining room is located right in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.

Tresori's burrata insalata, with house-made bufala mozzarella.

Tresori’s burrata insalata, with house-made bufala mozzarella.

For More:

Tesori, 65 East Adams Street, Chicago, IL,

-Photos courtesy of Tesori.

Download PDF

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.