Wholesome Cook
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Beetroot and Basil Pesto Insalata Caprese

A wintry take on the classic Caprese salad served with pickled beetroot slices and basil pesto. Only 5 ingredients.

I used to think that beetroots were my favourite vegetable, and speaking strictly botanically, they still are because tomatoes are a fruit. And while I’m still head over heels in love with the classic flavours of the tomato and buffalo mozarella Caprese, this version suits me much better in Winter. It’s almost hearty and big on flavours.

Now, you could use fresh roasted beets here as well, but I find them a little bland against the backdrop of the milky flavour of mozarella. Canned beets pack a lot more punch and are closer in acidity to the original tomatoes.

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Beetroot and Basil Pesto Insalata Caprese

I used full size bocconcini for this recipe, but a buffalo mozarella ball of about the same total weight would be just fine. Basil pesto from a jar is fine, or you could make your own using this quick pesto recipe, just omit the cheese. Leftovers are great for mixing through pasta or as a topping for steak.
Servings: 2


  • 225 g can of sliced beetroot
  • 200 g tub of buffalo mozzarella or bocconcini cheese
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto
  • 1 tsp chopped pine nuts
  • pepper to taste


  • Drain cheese and canned sliced beetroots.
  • Slice bocconcini into 0.5cm thick slices.
  • Layer on a platter, interchanging with slices of beetroot.
  • Mix pesto with a little pepper and drizzle over the salad.
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Mez May 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Yes!t u
This looks so delicious, but I would need to do it for a pregnant lady (which means I can’t have the cheese cold huhuhuhuhuhuuuu) So I’d probably put this on a pizza?! Crazy?! Maybe… but I’m sure it would taste deeeeeelicious!


Mez May 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

bahaahahahaa I don’t know know why there is a t u after the Yes!

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook May 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm

That’s a great idea! Yum!

reflexenbandouliere May 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Love tomates-mozzarella-basil ( or pesto ) too. The best simple recipe I ever ate in summer time. Very good idea to use beets ^^ Sounds yummy too.
Have a great night.

Petits repas entre amis May 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Sorry about the email adress ;(
It wasn’t my cooking blog !

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook May 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

No problem, the more the merrier :-)

Eha May 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Looks great! I would probably like it better with the buffalo mozarella: what a delicious flavour punch! And I do like to make my own pesto even tho’ winter is wreaking havoc in my herb garden . . . Methinks our preference for the tinned beetroot is strictly atavistic; beetroot in both Poland and Estonia mostly being presented in a pickled state.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook May 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm

True, but having said that I like the flavour of roasted or cooked then pureed beets too. But always with a squeeze of lemon juice for that pickled tartness.

Eha May 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

One lives, one learns! I suppose I was not as much ‘into’ beetroots as you and only learned how marvellous they are roasted some brief years ago. I don’t remember when I last pureed any – what a fabulous idea with my next purchase! Thanks!

rsmacaalay May 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Looks so good, the colour combination in that plate is amazing

Anna @ the shady pine May 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm

What a great Autumn version of this famous salad….can’t wait to try it as it’s perfect for this time of year.

lateraleating May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I haven’t tried that combo but I guess it works. Will give it a shot.

frugalfeeding May 22, 2012 at 2:19 am

A great idea. I mean, I really hate beets :D, but it looks gorgeous and I can imagine that if one likes beets this must be fantastic.

Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) May 22, 2012 at 3:06 am

This is so colourful and delicious-looking.

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide May 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

It’s summer here, I don’t really like beets and still, I want this!!!!!!!!!!!

Courtney May 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

Great take on caprese! Love it, Martyna!

Lisa May 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Holy cow. This is food porn to me. I love beets.

Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas May 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I think it’s totally genius that you put beets in this caprese…I absolutely love beets too. So trying this!

ChopinandMysaucepan May 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

Dear Martyna,

Beautiful take on the caprese, now why didn’t I think of using beetroot.

Baltic Maid May 23, 2012 at 3:02 am

I love this!! It looks so beautiful and I can only imagine how good it must taste. I love beets, mozzarella, and pesto. I never thought of combining them… Thanks for this recipe!!

delicieux May 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

What a great idea to use beets!! Such simple delicious flavours that you know are going to taste amazing.

Sook May 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

What a beautiful dish!

Nami | Just One Cookbook May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Very easy and delicious looking recipe, yet I haven’t tried eating beets with mozzarella cheese! Yum! I love beets and they are in my fridge too. This is a good one I want to try immediately!

Natasha January 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Awesome Recipe :)
I love beetroot and recently planted some in the backyard.
Here’s a good article on how to grow Beetroot :)
Thanks for sharing.

Style Icons x Food Porn | Messy Nessy Chic Messy Nessy Chic March 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm

[…] Frida Kahlo + Beetroot and Basil Pesto Insalata Caprese  […]


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