My incredible fresh, local and sustainable panzanella summer salad

Italian Inspired Strawberry Salad with West Cork Mozzarella, Pine Nuts, Crispy Croutons and a Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Italian Inspired Strawberry Salad with West Cork Mozzarella, Pine Nuts, Crispy Croutons and a Creamy Balsamic Dressing

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Side Dish
aisling larkin salad dressing
creamy balsamic dressing
garlic croutons
seasonal strawberry salad
sustainable food
west cork mozzarella
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes



  • 600 g ripe local strawberries
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 small shallots thinly sliced
  • 150 g fresh local salad leaves
  • 200 g West Cork mozzarella torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 100 g pine nuts toasted
  • 3 slices of bread preferably rustic country-style bread or sourdough
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided


  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp basil roughly torn
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Preparation: Peel and finely slice the shallot. Wash and dry the salad leaves. Wash, pat dry and slice the locally grown strawberries and cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the diced garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and balsamic vinegar to make the creamy balsamic dressing. Season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
  • Croutons: Roughly tear up or chop up the bread. Heat the oil in a pan and toss in the bread to create croutons. Toss frequently until golden brown and delicious. Remove and set aside. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 180°C. Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine the halved strawberries, cherry tomatoes, sliced shallot, torn mozzarella, and pine nuts. Keep a little basil, shallot and pine nuts back for a garnish. Add the cooled bread croutons to the salad and toss gently to combine.
  • Allow this to sit for 10-15 minutes to allow all the flavours to develop.
  • Assembly: To serve, I like to create one big sharing platter for the centre of the table and let everyone share. Heap the fresh salad leaves on the plate, liberally sprinkle the salad over the leaves and assemble. Drizzle about three quarters of the dressing over the salad. Garnish with a few shallots, pine nuts, basil and a few more fresh juicy strawberries. Enjoy every bite.