Finally, tomatoes taste like tomatoes and not like… well, nothing. I wait all year for summer local ripe, deep red, nothin-like-it tasting tomatoes. For weeks, I eat tomato sandwiches on buttered toast with kosher salt every day for lunch. Yum. When tomatoes are this good, I like to keep tomato salad really simple so that the taste shines through.
Here are four ways I use summer ripe tomatoes in tomato salad. The salads take between 2-10 minutes to make. If I prepare any of them well before serving, I scoop up the cut up tomatoes in my hands, then give them a gentle squeeze and shake over the sink. This gets rid of some of the extra juice and seeds so that the salad won’t be watered down. This is optional of course.
Tomato Salad with Basil – Simplest of all and great!
- Cut tomatoes in chunks or wedges. Sprinkle on some finely chopped fresh basil. Drizzle on some good olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
Cherry Tomato Salad with Olives– When you want something fancier for company. Robust flavours and textures. Looks beautiful.
- Cut 40 cherry tomatoes in half (for about 8 people). Add 1 or 1 1/2 cups of sliced or chopped olives (can mix green and black if you like). Add 1-2 minced green onions (I use the green part only)
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar; 1/2 tablespoon of white sugar; 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add mixture to tomatoes. Chill for a couple of hours if you have time.
- Toast 1/4 cup pine nuts in a small skillet by stirring them on medium heat for several minutes until lightly brown. Add to tomato salad before serving. You can substitute roasted crushed almond or walnut pieces.
- This is a recipe I’ve been using for years, adapted from AllRecipes
Bruschetta Tomato Salad – A delicious and easy go-to appetizer when tomatoes are at their ripest. Just a few ingredients go a long way. The recipe is a guideline for 4 people- just taste and adjust as needed.
- To make the crostini, cut a baguette on an angle into pieces about 3/4 inch thick. Grill on both sides or broil until golden (watch carefully to prevent burning). On one side of each crostini, brush lightly with olive oil. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub the cut side on each crostini as well.
- Finely chop 2 medium tomatoes (I squeeze out seeds and excess water). Add 10 finely chopped or shredded fresh basil leaves. Drizzle on some olive oil. Sprinkle on kosher salt. Mix to combine. I like to serve this in a bowl with crostini on the side so the crostini don’t get soggy. If you make this salad ahead of time, add the salt just before serving (but don’t forget it! it brings out the flavour in the tomatoes so well).
Tomato Salad and Chicken Bowl – a perfect light supper or lunch using freshly grilled or left over chicken.
- Cut tomatoes into wedges or chunks. Add some freshly finely chopped herbs (basil, thyme, chives, green onions or oregano). Sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in the middle of bowl. Add grilled chicken pieces hot or cold (I use leftover chicken). Add toasted garlic bread on the side or some quinoa if preferred.
- Drizzle on your favourite salad dressing. Mine is maple balsamic dressing (used in our Quinoa-Roasted Yam Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing) which takes only a minute or two to make. I use only 4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) of oil for this purpose. You can even use a bit less.