The best thing you can enjoy in the summer is a delicious bowl of fresh salad. A salad made from amazing summer vegetables is not just visually appealing, but is also super awesome for your health. Although you might have come across a thousand types of salads, there are some traditional recipes that beat every other. One such recipe is the heirloom tomato salad.
A heirloom tomato salad is refreshing, tasty, healthy, and super easy to make. You can get this on a plate in less than 10 minutes. Serve this salad as a side, or enjoy it as a main course with grilled bread slices. Whatever you do, this salad is refreshing, tasty, and convenient. To top it all off, it so visually appealing, perfect for entertaining.
What are heirloom tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes are a type of tomatoes that are known for their unique features. These features include the fact that these are sweeter in flavor is less acidic, and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and color. Moreover, they are also resistant to diseases.
Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have existed for hundreds of years without manipulation by commercial farming. They are usually fresh, straight from a farm, and offer high nutritional value.
Tomatoes contain a natural compound called lycopene. It is a powerful anti-oxidant. Furthermore, tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Finally, they have a distinct sweet and wine-like flavor.
What is in a heirloom tomato salad?
A traditional heirloom tomato salad comprises three main components. These are:
- The vegetables: The main vegetables used in this delicious and refreshing salad are tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion. As the name indicates, the primary tomato type used is the heirloom tomato. Apart from it, we also add cherry tomatoes. The use of tomatoes makes this salad very juicy and refreshing.
- The dressing: No salad is complete without dressing. Although there are several varieties of dressings you can make, we use a flavorsome yet straightforward dressing for this recipe. It is made from ingredients like olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, oregano, and basil. This dressing is a perfect balance of all flavors. It goes really well with the tomatoes.
- The garnish: You might skip this component for a majority of salads, but it isn’t the case with this salad. You can garnish this salad with fresh basil and crumbled vegan feta.
Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe
Making a heirloom tomato salad is super easy, because its simplicity is what gives the salad its delicious taste. You don’t need over the top ingredients, and all the ingredients are pretty standard and usually available in the vegan pantry.If you happen to not have any of the ingredients, they can all be easily be bought from the store.
The only ingredient that is usually not commercially available is the heirloom tomatoes, but these are commonly found in farm stands, farmer’s markets, small grocery stores that sell locally-sourced produce, or straight from small farms that sell produce during tomato season (May-October, depending on where you live).
Above all, the ingredients are very economical, making this salad fit within a tight budget as well. Here is a detailed breakdown of all the ingredients you need for this refreshing and zesty salad:
For the Salad:
- Heirloom tomatoes: Heirloom tomatoes are delicious. They have a unique tomatoey flavor that is on the sweeter side. Its flavor is said to be smoky, sweet, and wine-like. It is very refreshing on a summer day. For this recipe, I have used sliced heirloom tomatoes. However, you can also cut them into wedges or dice them. Whichever way you prefer.
- Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes, as the name indicates, are small cherry-like tomatoes. Their taste resembles fresh tomatoes but is small in size. Because of their size, they are super easy to use, and you don’t even have to cut them in half. They are juicy and pop in your mouth.
- Cucumber: Cucumber is a great summer vegetable. It is rich in water and is very refreshing. Adding cucumber to the salad will make it refreshing and tasteful. It will also bring in color and add texture. I have sliced the cucumbers for this recipe, but you can dice it in any size you like as well.
- Red onion: Red onion brings in the crunch we all love in the salad. It also brings in a savory, slightly sharp flavor. Slicing the red onion thinly is the best way to use it. However, you can also finely dice it. Whatever goes well for you.
For the Dressing:
- Olive oil: Every dressing needs a base. And the best ingredient for it is olive oil. It is full of healthy fats and nutrients, and seems to be the perfect choice for the dressing base.
- Lemon juice: You can bring tanginess and tart by adding fresh lemon juice to this dressing. It adds a punch of citrusy flavor and freshens up the salad to another level.
- Garlic: Minced garlic adds delicious savory flavor to the salad dressing, and goes perfectly with the tomatoes.
- Maple syrup: To balance the tanginess of the lemon, we need a sweet element. Maple syrup seems to be the best option for this. It has a complex, sweet, nutty, caramel-like flavor which adds dimension to the salad dressing. Furthermore, it also gives the dressing a thick texture which helps the dressing stick to the vegetables of the salad.
- Salt: A little salt is essential for any dish and same for this salad.
- Basil: Basil has a slightly sweet and savory flavor. I add finely chopped fresh basil to this recipe.
- Oregano: Fresh oregano has a bold, earthy, and slightly bitter flavor. It also gives a distinct aroma. Adding finely chopped oregano makes the salad much more flavorsome.
For the Garnish:
- Fresh basil: For the garnish, I use fresh basil. It brings us so much flavor and aroma. Also, it looks visually appealing.
- Vegan feta cheese: From the first look, the white color of the vegan feta cheese stands out and makes the dish pop. It balances out not just the flavor and texture but the color of this salad as well. Crumble the vegan feta cheese before adding it to the salad. This way, you can get it in every bite. I have my own recipe, or you can buy Violife or Follow Your Heart brand vegan feta cheeses.
How to make heirloom tomato salad?
Making heirloom salad is probably the easiest thing you can do. It is a dish you can even get your kids to make or help you with. That’s because you don’t have to go through extensive preparation for this one. It’s a simple add and mix formula. Here are simple steps on how to make heirloom tomato salad:
- All you have to do is add sliced vegetables, i.e., heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion, in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, add dressing ingredients, i.e., olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt, basil, and oregano. Mix well so that all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Next, pour the dressing on the vegetables and toss.
- Lastly, garnish with fresh basil and crumbled vegan feta cheese and serve immediately.
Ideas for a heirloom tomato salad?
There are so many different ingredients you can add to this salad. However, because it is an heirloom tomato salad, make sure you keep this ingredient in the salad. Other than this, here are a few things you can add to this salad to make it more tasteful and healthier:
- Capers: Capers are flower buds that have a unique flavor. They have a salty, lemony, and olive-like flavor that gives the salad complexity and a different dimension. You can either use fresh or dried capers for this heirloom tomato salad.
- Spinach: We all know the many benefits of spinach. So, you can add it to the heirloom tomato salad to increase the salad’s nutritional value.
- Parsley: Although basil and oregano work very well, you can add parsley to this salad as well.
- Balsamic vinegar: You can also add balsamic vinegar to the salad dressing instead of lemon. It has a complex yet delicious flavor that will add so much to the salad.
How to store tomato salad?
Storing heirloom tomatoes in the refrigerator works really well on a hot summer day. You can beat the scorching heat by enjoying chilled heirloom salad on a busy day. Place the leftover salad in an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for up to three days in the refrigerator.
More Vegan Salad Recipes
- Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Vegan Greek Salad
- Falafel Salad Bowl
- Quinoa Tabouli
- Jicama Cucumber Salad
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Southwest Salad
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- Energy: 150 kcal / 627 kJ
- Fat: 11 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Carbs: 13 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Ready in: 10 min
- For: 4 servings
For the Salad
- 2 1/2 cups heirloom tomatoes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cucumbers, sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
For the Dressing
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
For the Garnish
- In a large salad bowl, add tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber.
- Add all of dressing ingredients, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt, basil, and oregano, in a separate bowl. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients, and top the salad with basil leaves and feta cheese.
- Serve immediately, or cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.