Fresh Pesto Appetizer with Tomato and Mozzarella Slices


This fresh pesto appetizer with tomato and mozzarella slices might be my favorite appetizer of all time. It’s easy to make, and virtually everyone seems to like it.

Fresh pesto is an Italian classic that is popular around the world. The star of a great pesto is the fresh basil, and basil is one of my favorite herbs. (See below for tips on how to grow your own fresh basil.) And when you add fresh pesto to tomato slices and mozzarella slices, you have the ultimate Italian appetizer!

I like to make the pesto ahead of time and keep it chilled in the refrigerator. Then, when guests arrive, I assemble the tomato and mozzarella slices. I add a dollop of pesto to the top of each stack. The appetizers are ready in minutes.

Warm fresh pesto appetizers right out of the oven. Yum!

stirring the cheese into the basil blend


How to Make My Fresh Pesto Appetizer with Tomato and Mozzarella Slices


Pesto Ingredients

2 cups basil leaves

¼ cup pine nuts

2 cloves of garlic

2/3 cup olive oil

½ cup grated pecorino cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Additional Appetizer Ingredients

Mozzarella cheese slices

Fresh tomato slices


Making the Fresh Pesto

Cut and trim 2 cups of fresh basil leaves. Press them lightly into a 2-cup measuring cup to make sure you have 2 full cups of leaves.

Put the basil leaves and pine nuts into a food processor. With a garlic press, squeeze the garlic into the food processor. Add the olive oil. Pulverize all ingredients in the food processor.

Spoon the pesto into a mixing bowl. Mix in the grated pecorino cheese.

Viola! You’ve just made fresh pesto.

fresh basil leaves and finished pesto in a decorative blue bowl.
Fresh basil leaves and finished pesto in a blue bowl


Making the Appetizer

Now set out the tomato slices on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Place a small mozzarella slice on each tomato. (Make sure the mozzarella does not cover the entire tomato slice. You want the tomato to be visible.) Then put a dab of the pesto/pecorino mix on each slice.

fresh pesto appetizer with tomato and mozzarella slices

Put the slices on a foil-covered cookie sheet and broil for about 3 minutes. The mozzarella should be just lightly brown. Serve immediately.



Here’s my video that shows how to make Fresh Pesto Appetizer with Tomato and Mozzarella Slices


Fun Fact About Pecorino Cheese

What exactly is pecorino cheese? Pecorino is the name for all Italian cheeses that are made from sheep’s milk. There are four main types of pecorino cheeses, with Pecorino Romano being the best known outside of Italy. Pecorino cheeses are aged, hard, salty—and delicious!


Tips on Growing Basil

Basil is an easy-to-grow herb that has many culinary uses. It grows best in full sun when planted in rich, well-drained soil. Basil is a tropical plant that doesn’t like cold weather. It is NOT frost tolerant.

The beautiful green leaves of a basil plant
The beautiful green leaves of a basil plant.

Plant basil seeds or starter plants in the spring when all chance of frost has passed. Give it ample moisture and mulch the soil around the plant to keep it from drying out. Pinching off the top growth encourages bushy growth. Harvest the leaves as needed for use in the kitchen.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please read Country Style Quiche Lorraine.


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