Flavorful Tomato Basil Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Bowl of chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil

Tomatoes are one of our favorite seasonal foods in the summer. When we nab ourselves a bag of fresh, juicy tomatoes, the last thing we want to do is cover them up. Instead, we showcase them in this lovely dish. Our recipe combines heirloom tomatoes, basil, and tasty seasonings into the perfect summer side salad.

Which Tomatoes are Best for Salad?

When shopping for your ingredients, remember – with this dish, there is nowhere to hide! That is to say, you need great tomatoes. Otherwise, you won’t get a great salad.

Heirloom tomatoes on the countertop

So, what is a great tomato? Well, there are a few things we look for:

  • Is it in good shape? Has the tomato split open, or gone mushy in spots? Then steer clear!
  • How does it smell? If it has that earthy, sweet, “tomato” aroma, then you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t smell like anything, put it down!
  • Is it local? The closer your tomato was grown to the vendor, the more likely it ripened on the vine. Try and find a farmer’s market or smaller grocery store to increase your chances of getting a ripe one.

In addition, we choose heirloom tomatoes for salad whenever we can. These don’t just look great – they have a real flavor advantage!

You see, heirloom tomatoes are bred from seeds carried over from one crop to the next. At the end of each growing season, farmers take seeds from the plants that produced the best fruit. This results in tomatoes that are juicier, tastier, more colorful, and diverse in size and shape. Yum!

How to make Tomato Salad

Ingredients to make balsamic vinegar

As you’ll see from the recipe below, tomato salad is simple! However, here are a few tricks that really make it shine:

  • Make sure you have a sharp knife. You want to slice your tomatoes, not crush them!
  • Pair your tomatoes with really fresh basil – avoid putting discolored or slimy leaves in your salad.
  • Taste-test your tomatoes for acidity. If they’re especially sour, balance this with a little more maple syrup.
  • If you’re using red onions, reduce their bite by soaking them in water.
  • Have some crusty bread ready to mop up all the delicious juices left in the bowl.

Is Tomato Salad Healthy?

Thanks to the tomatoes, yes! This salad delivers plenty of nutrition. For example, tomatoes are packed with carotenoids – especially lycopene. They also provide vitamins A and C. These are all potent antioxidants, which work to delay or prevent cell damage in your body.

What’s more, these nutrients all work together. As a result, you benefit more from eating them all in a tomato, compared to taking individual supplements.

Bowl of chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil

Can You Make this Salad in Advance?

Yes, but please keep the ingredients separate and mix them right before eating! Otherwise, the salt will draw water out of the tomatoes and create a soggy mess. Your lovely salad may also get overpowered by onion (if you chose to use it).

If you have leftovers, you can store the salad in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure you use an airtight container. Also, be aware that our tomato salad is always best when eaten immediately!

We hope you agree – this salad is the bomb! Add it to the spread at a picnic or BBQ and watch it fly off the table! Once you’ve tried it, please let us know what you think with a comment and rating. Every bit of feedback helps make The Plant Riot even better.

If you’re looking for more fresh summer meals, check out our delicious Watermelon, Grilled Peach and Quinoa salads! Yay Summer!

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Bowl of chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil

Flavorful Tomato Basil Salad with Balsamic Dressing


  • Author: Rachel Steenland | The Plant Riot
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings, as a side 1x

Description

Make your summer gatherings *POP* with this refreshing tomato salad! Beautiful heirloom tomatoes pair with fresh basil in the perfect summer salad recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

Tomato Basil Salad

  • 3lbs / 1.5kgs tomatoes (we used heirloom tomatoes, but feel free to use any tomatoes you prefer), chopped
  • Large handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

 

Balsamic Dressing

 

To Serve

  • Juice of one lemon
  • Fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Place chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, onion (if using), and salt and pepper into a salad bowl. Stir to combine. See notes section below.
  2. Make the balsamic dressing by whisking together the ingredients, then drizzle over the salad.
  3. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the salad and sprinkle with more fresh basil leaves.

Serve immediately, or keep the ingredients separate and mix them together just before eating!

Notes

  • 3lbs / 1.5kgs tomatoes is around 9 medium tomatoes
  • Taste test your tomatoes for acidity. If they’re especially sour, balance this with a little maple syrup.
  • If you’re using red onions, reduce their bite by soaking them in water.

Keywords: tomato salad, tomato salad basil, tomato salad recipe, The Plant Riot

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