This is one of the easiest summer salads to make. It is even more beautiful when there is an assortment of tomatoes in various colors. The colors pop when paired with fresh basil. A few capers and balsamic vinegar add more mature flavors and create a nice contrast. Experiment with other pantry favorites to make it your way. VEGAN DAIRY FREE EGG FREE
This is a salad that we make during summer when fresh tomatoes are plentiful. During the peak of summer, it can get uncomfortably hot here and we keep indoor cooking to a minimum. The abundance of fresh produce and an outdoor grill is all that you need to make a lovely meal without overheating the home. A salad like this will take only 5 minutes to make and tastes refreshing.
Why we love this salad
It is so easy that even the kids can assemble it. It is a great way to get the little guys and girls away from the screens.
For us, summer is when the backyard garden yields the most. The produce is fresh and at its peak tasting the sweetest and juiciest. Salads like these are a great way to use fresh veggies and herbs.
Fresh ingredients are the key to this recipe. Fresh colorful produce needs little or no enhancements. This is not the only summer tomato salad I make, but when you get as gorgeous produce as these colorful tomatoes you would rather let these speak for themselves and keep to the basic ingredients – tomatoes, basil, and a vinaigrette.
You need ripe but firm tomatoes for this recipe. If the tomatoes are overripe use them to make a sauce or soup. Ideally, I would like to have the freshest of fresh tomatoes for this as in just plucked from the yard or bought from the farm stand. But when I came across these heirloom beauties at the store I could not resist. Beefsteak, Roma, cherry, or any other variety that is not sour tasting will work here.
In other words, use fresh ripe tomatoes that are firm and juicy.
The fresh-picked aroma of the herbs is unmatched by the dried ones. If you have a basil plant in the backyard or on the porch this is the time to run to it and get a few leaves. I have one indoors for the winter, and a few in containers outdoors as soon as the weather turns warm.
A simple vinaigrette of oil and vinegar (or lemon) is all that is needed here. You can dress it up with added ingredients. The key to getting it right lies in quality ingredients – use extra virgin olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. You could substitute red wine vinegar or avocado oil if you like, but no refined oils please.
Since the stars of the recipe are fresh, it pairs well with a few salted pantry favorites. I love to add capers as these provide a beautiful contrast without overpowering the tomato. Pickled artichoke hearts and olives are other favorites. Occasionally a couple of anchovies will find their way to the dish as well – but that is not a popular ingredient.
Making the Salad
When tomatoes are so pretty, try to showcase their beauty. Just slice them into discs to expose the intricate ribbing inside. If you are using cherry or grape tomatoes (small tomatoes) leave them whole or halve depending on the size. Arrange them on a plate.
Roughly tear the basil leaves and sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the capers as well.
The dressing is a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a touch of garlic. Mix well and adjust salt and pepper to your preference.
Just before serving, mix the vinaigrette well and pour over the tomatoes evenly.
NEED MORE SUMMER RECIPES ?
- Watermelon Agua Fresca – an easy refreshing cooler
- Strawberry frozen yogurt – just 3 ingredients
- Brazilian shrimp Stew
- Roasted vegetable picnic loaf
- Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables
How to Serve
The good thing about this dish is that it is perfect for a backyard barbeque or a potluck. You can slice the tomatoes and mix the dressing a few hours in advance, but assemble it just before serving.
Cherry tomatoes or halved or quartered Roma tomatoes will be a better choice when making large quantities. Toss the tomatoes in a container with the capers and basil. Add any other optional ingredient at this time as well. Transfer to a serving plate and smooth into an even layer. Drizzle the vinaigrette over just before serving.
Use these tomatoes in your burger and taste the difference. I for one can just have these between two slices of bread or pita bread and call it a meal – but that is just me.
Garden Tomato Basil Salad
- 3 – 4 Tomatoes Medium to Large
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2 Teaspoon Capers Nonpareil in brine
- 1 Clove Garlic Finely Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt To taste
- Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste
- Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch thick discs.
- Mince or grate the garlic finely. Add to a small mixing bowl. Mix together with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed
- Arrange the tomatoes on a serving plate. Roughly tear the basil leaves and scatter over the tomatoes.
- Before serving pour the dressing over the tomatoes, and sprinkle the capers on top.
- Use as much or as less of the vinaigrette as needed. Refrigerate the leftover, if any, and use within 3 days.
Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.