What to CookSalad

A Pseudo-Caprese Salad

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As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: When you don't have mozzarella or tomatoes, improvise: Editorial Intern Taylor Schwartz shares a pseudo-caprese for when you need a salad that's more composed than you are. 

A classic caprese salad -- with juicy tomatoes and rich mozzarella -- is what you turn to when all you want to do is eat cheese for lunch and call it a salad for reasons of dignity. But upon opening the fridge, you come to the sad realization you don't have basil. Or mozzarella. Or tomatoes, because you're too greedy with ripe summer produce to keep it around for more than a day. So you admit defeat, abandon the caprese, and eat half a jar of almond butter and a handful of raisins instead. This is a cycle I know far too well.

More: Polish off that nut butter with a stick of celery for a more rounded (and inner child-approved) lunch

Luckily, caprese can be easily faked as it really only requires four ingredients: good olive oil, soft fruit, cheese, and seasoning. I usually have ricotta on hand, and can scavenge some sort of fruit from the produce bowl I keep on display to feign good health -- peaches and plums have become popular additions as of late. I thinly slice the fruit, fan it on a plate, and layer on a healthy amount of cheese. I finish the salad with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of flaky salt, and whatever nuts I have leftover from when I made (read: improvised) Genius granola the night before. 

How do you adapt your caprese -- and your lunch -- when you don't have the right ingredients? Tell us in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Peach, Ricotta, Lunch, Back to School, Summer, Not Sad Desk Lunch