This simple Caprese Salad on a Stick with Basil Dipping Sauce is easy to assemble and makes the entire families lunch (or dinner) almost as much fun as going to Italy, almost!
The first time I ever had a caprese salad on a stick was at a friends house party a zillion years ago, way before I had kids, where the music was loud, the champagne was flowing and I think I stayed out until 3 am <—— yep, definitely before kids!
But no matter how much champagne I consumed that night, I still remember how amazing the caprese on a stick was! One ripe cherry tomato along with one mini mozzarella ball paired together on a stick all drizzled with a perfect basil dressing.
They were a one bite party-in-my-mouth kinda deal.
And I am pretty sure I ate an entire tray of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a plated caprese salad as well. But the problem with those salads, in my opinion, is that you have to knife and fork the tomato, the mozzarella is usually cut too thick and is overpowering, while the basil always gets all wonky and I end up eating an entire bite of basil leaf.
So this whole one bite caprese salad on stick with a basil drizzle, BRILLIANT! The best of all worlds.
After that night, I brought caprese salad on a stick to almost every party I went to. I made it into one of my dishes.
Then I had kids, two of them.
Was no longer cool enough to go to those types of parties.
Stopped staying out until 3am drinking the night away.
And sadly forgot all about caprese salad on a stick.
And then one morning, as I was scrambling around trying to pack a school lunch for Ellie, I realized that I had all the ingredients to make my long forgotten caprese salad on a stick! I was pumped!
But I needed to beef it up a little to make it a full on meal, so I added some –
Ellie devoured her caprese-on-a-stick! Being such an easy lunch to toss together, I added these sticks to her weekly lunch rotation.
Since then, I have made this simple dish so many times and in so many different ways.
I usually start by making it as a dinner meal by tossing together a big green salad, adding some sliced grilled lemon chicken and then topping with the cherry tomatoes, olives, croutons, mini mozzarella balls and drizzling with the basil dipping sauce.
The basil dipping sauce is 🔑 to life, so whatever you add or do, don’t skimp on the dipping sauce!!
Then later in the week, I take all of the leftovers and make them into these caprese on a stick for lunches for the entire family.
Feel free to add anything you know your kiddo will love – grilled chicken, red or green chopped peppers, rolled prosciutto, beans, strawberries, cooked cheese tortellini or even cubed watermelon. But again, don’t forget the basil dipping sauce!
And because I know you will ask – these cute metal bento lunch containers are from Ecolunchbox and the round dipping sauce container is from Kids Konserve. I just got them and love how easy and small they are to pack lunches in!
Caprese on a Stick with Basil Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olives (sliced or whole pitted)
1/3 cup croutons or cubed loaf bread
1/4 cup mini mozzarella balls
10 6-inch wooden or lollipop sticks
8 slices bread (loaf, white, wheat, gluten free), cubed
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
For Basil Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup packed basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add cubed bread and stir until bread is slightly covered in oil, drizzling the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto bread if needed.
2. Sprinkle the cubed bread with garlic and salt and stir well.
3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Turn heat down to low, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from heat and let cool. Croutons will continue to get crunchy as they cool.
For Basil Dipping Sauce
1. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse for 30 seconds in 3-4 second intervals, scrapping down sides if needed.
For Caprese on a Stick
1. Taking one stick at a time, thread a tomato, olive, mozzarella ball, crouton, mozzarella ball, olive and then a tomato onto the stick, but you don’t have to follow my rules, you can use any pattern you wish.
2. Finish threading all of the sticks and serve with a side of dipping sauce.
Yield – 10 finished sticks, 3 extra cups of croutons and 1/2 cup extra basil dipping sauce.
Storage – sticks last for 2 days in fridge, croutons last for 1 week in air-tight container on counter, and basil dipping sauce lasts for 2 weeks in air-tight container in the fridge.
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