Ripe, juicy tomatoes don't need much to make them sing. A simple dressing of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and fresh herbs are all you need for a summery salad.
Since the salad only has a few ingredients, look for the best tomatoes you can find. When shopping, look for tomatoes that are brightly colored, heavy for their size, and firm but juicy. The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, but good cherry, grape, vine, or heirloom tomatoes will work, too. Feel free to use the best tomatoes you can find, regardless of variety. If using a small tomato-like grape or cherry, there's no need to seed them. Simply slice them in half and you're done.
Tomatoes are low in calories, low in fat, and high in vitamins A, C, and K. They're also known for containing lycopene, a natural pigment that gives tomatoes their signature red color. Lycopene is also an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
You only need a few minutes to make balsamic tomato salad, so it's easy to throw together for a barbecue or a weeknight summer dinner. It also packs well for a picnic or meal on the go, and can be made ahead of time and stashed in the fridge until serving time. Serve with grilled steak, fish, or blackened tofu.
- 8 plum tomatoes (or other variety of ripe tomato)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil (chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, optional)
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Cut the tomatoes and core them to remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into chunks (whatever size you desire). If using grape, cherry, or another small tomato, cut in half so they will absorb the flavors of the dressing.
Place the chopped tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs (if using). Toss well.
Transfer to a serving dish and top with salt and pepper to taste. Or plate the salad individually for your guests and garnish with a sprig of fresh oregano or basil.
- Use a mix of colorful heirloom tomatoes for a festive looking salad. Green, orange, yellow, and striped heirloom tomatoes are often available in the summer.
- Replace half of the tomatoes with another summertime veggie, diced cucumber.
- Add some baby arugula or spinach just before serving, dressing with additional oil and vinegar as needed.
- Top with a sprinkle of shaved Parmesan, or toss in small balls of mozzarella cheese.
- Add a diced avocado just before serving.