Basil Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes is a celebration of mid-summer, when the basil is going gangbusters and heirloom tomatoes are in their glory days. This is a simple, healthy salad that will delight friends and family with bold flavor and gorgeous color.
There’s nothing revolutionary about this recipe except that I’ve used basil and only basil for my greens, and the payoff is huge. Talk about explosive flavor! I love using herbs as the base for salads, it’s a nice change of pace and nobody expects it. If you’re intrigued by the idea check out these other herb salads on the blog~
- Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad, an amazing recipe from Ottolenghi.
- Micro Caprese Salad (served right in a hollowed out tomato!)
- Citrus Caprese Salad, uses citrus fruit in place of tomatoes for a whole different experience.
I can’t imagine a better way to revel in summer basil…pick the freshest leaves for this salad, living plants are best, whether they’re from your garden, the nursery, or the supermarket. Plan to assemble everything just before serving while the leaves are still quivering. Add some colorful heirloom tomatoes, either full size or cherries, thin rounds of bright red onion, and lots of toasted pine nuts. There’s no cheese to weigh this salad down, it’s light as a feather and pure heaven.
Heirloom tomatoes show their true colors after they’ve been sliced. They can be one color on the outside, and completely different when you cut into them. Some are solid, and some are mottled. Even if you are using cherry tomatoes, make sure to halve or quarter them, not only is this prettier, it allows the juices and flavors to hit your taste buds right away. Choose firm but fragrant tomatoes, anything that feels too soft is bound to be mushy.
If you want to make a meal out of this Basil Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, top it with grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
- 4 handfuls of fresh picked basil leaves
- an equal amount of chopped heirloom tomatoes
- thin rounds of red onion to taste
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- a drizzle of your best olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Choose a wide shallow salad bowl and add the fresh basil leaves. Top with the tomatoes, red onion, and pine nuts.
- Grind a generous amount of fresh pepper over everything, add a dash of salt, and then drizzle with the oil and vinegar just before serving.
notes for basil salad with heirloom tomatoes:
- Don’t chop the basil, it will bruise…keep the leaves whole and choose a variety of sizes. If you need to wash it, do it very gently and make sure it is really dry before adding it to the bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing on immediately before serving so the delicate basil leaves don’t wilt. No need to toss.
- This salad is ideal for arranging on individual serving plates, too.
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