Appetizer Pesto Salad Kebabs

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“A great summery appetizer! We enjoyed a similar salad as a light lunch at the restaurant of a wine farm near Robertson the Western Cape Province, and ever since I've been imitating it. Of course small soft mozzarella balls (bocconcini) are preferable, as is home-made pesto, but let's face it, these real deli goodies are not always available. I used a good bottled pesto and ordinary mozzarella. You can use shallots in place of the small (pickling type) onions. This is great with a glass of chilled dry white wine and some still-warm home-made bread!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 8 white pearl onions, small, the type used for pickling (or use shallots)
  • 4 -8 slices ham, best quality (like Parma or Black Forest ham)
  • 12 bite-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls (or 12 mozzarella squares, or bocconcini balls)
  • 12 grape tomatoes (also called small plum tomatoes)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if necessary, see directions)
  • 1 cup arugula (or use any lettuce mixture, tightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing
  • concentrated balsamic vinegar (optional)


  1. You'll need 4 - 6 thin kebab sticks.
  2. Peel the onions, rinse well, and boil for 5 minutes. (More than that. and they tend to disintegrate). Rinse again under cold water and leave to cool somewhat. They don't have to be cold when you use them.
  3. Prepare the mozzarella -- draining and drying, or cutting into neat chunks.
  4. Rinse and dry the small tomatoes.
  5. Put the cooled onions, the mozzarella pieces and the tomatoes in a small bowl. If your pesto is quite thick, mix in the olive oil to thin. Gently fold in the pesto with a spoon to coat the cheese, onions and small tomatoes.
  6. Arrange either arugula lettuce leaves on plates. Drizzle each little heap with some vinaigrette.
  7. Put on each skewer tomatoes, pieces of mozzarella, folded ham slices and onions. (See photo's -- use as it suits you). For delicate presentation, use fewer ingredients on a skewer. For a side dish at a BBQ, use longer skewers and more ingredients.
  8. Arrange the skewers on the salad leaves.
  9. Drizzle some thick balsamic on the plate. Serve with extra vinaigrette.
  10. Can be served as a side salad, starter, or with wine and bread as a healthy light lunch.
  11. **When taking the photograph I did not have ham, and fried some bacon, but it's not as delicate as a very good ham.

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