Fresh Mozzarella & escarole with Hummus Crackers & olive tapenade dressing

Fresh Mozzarella and Escarole with Hummus Crackers and Olive Tapenade Dressing

Fresh Mozzarella and Escarole with Hummus Crackers and Olive Tapenade Dressing-Chris Ciolli

Fresh Mozzarella and escarole with Hummus Crackers and Olive Tapenade Dressing

Fresh and flavorful, this salad even includes gluten-free crackers that are simple enough to make at home.

A Note about Escarole

I’ve about had it with escarole. Even if it makes gorgeous salads like the one pictured above, with fresh mozzarella and hummus crackers, it’s never been my favorite green. I prefer it to iceberg, but give me baby spinach, endive, or romaine any day.

My lack of enthusiasm for escarole has only gotten worse as the season progresses— we’ve eaten at least six of them brought to us clogged with dirt, snails and funny little-pear shaped bugs (ah, the joys of chemical-free farming) by my smiling, proud father-in-law. Six might not sound like much, but one escarole usually makes four to five big one-plate meals for us, so I’m pretty much trying to use it and mix it into foods as often as possible so it doesn’t spoil. I hate to throw away food. It makes me feel almost sick to my stomach with guilt.

Fortunately, the weather is warming up, and now father-in-law is bringing me romaine lettuce–also full of chunks of earth and creepy crawlies, but much easier to wash.

Anyway, one day making yet-another escarole salad for lunch, I was trying to figure out something to do with a tiny bit of leftover rosemary hummus. I didn’t want to make it into a dressing, and since I had the oven on anyway (peanut butter cookies for a friend), I decided to try to make it into crackers.

Homemade Hummus Crackers

As it turns out, hummus crackers are easy to make, vegan and gluten-free. Score!

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup Hummus (I used homemade rosemary hummus)
  • baking paper
  • cookie sheet

Instructions

  1. Press the hummus between two large pieces of baking paper on a cookie sheet until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Remove the top sheet of baking paper and cut off any excess paper around the cracker on the bottom sheet.
  3. Bake at 180ºC or 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, until brown but not burnt. Let cool for 20 minutes at room temperature
  4. Break into pieces.

Olive Tapenade Dressing

This is one of my favorite dressings. I use it on all kinds of salads, and also as a marinade for meats and vegetables.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 1 tsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced roasted garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to a jar. Screw on lid and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Mozzarella and Escarole with Hummus Crackers and Olive Tapenade Dressing

Now that you have the crackers and dressing made, you can put it all together to make the salad.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of escarole, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 4-6oz package of fresh mozzarella, preferably mozzarella di bufala, cut in half.
  • Olive Tapenade dressing
  • Hummus crackers

Instructions

  1. Toss the escarole with the olive tapenade dressing.
  2. Add the mozzarella (half to each serving)
  3. Garnish with hummus crackers. 

Extra Tips and Serving Suggestions

 

  • My hummus is very thick. If yours is more liquid, add flour to the mix to get it to the right consistency (resembling cookie dough). For celiacs, add a gluten-free flour like rice, or corn flour.
  • Hummus crackers would also be a fun garnish on a traditional Greek Salad or served with a dip.
  • Olive tapenade dressing makes a great marinade for roasted meats and vegetables.
  • For vegans, make this salad with lentils or garbanzos instead of cheese. Another option is nuts and dried fruits.
  • Make this a more substantial meal by adding a roasted chicken breast, or sauteed shrimp.
  • This is a gluten-free recipe appropriate for vegetarians.
  • If you use store bought hummus and tapenade, read the labels to make sure they’re gluten-free. Manufacturers are always sneaking it in.
  • Not a fan of olives? Substitute tomato paste for the olive tapenade in the dressing recipe to make a tomato-balsamic vinaigrette. 

 

 

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