This beautiful Heirloom Tomato Salad is the perfect summer side dish! Topped with pesto, lemon juice, shallots, pine nuts, and big flakes of sea salt. So delicious and easy to make!
I finally spotted the heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store last weekend. It was like looking at a rainbow. I get mesmerized by all their beautiful colors and unique shapes.
Obviously I had to buy some and make a new salad recipe. Since tomatoes are at their peak in the summer I wanted to make a salad that was simple and would let their flavor shine.
This Heirloom Tomato Salad only uses a handful of ingredients and their all ingredients that highlight the tomato flavor and don’t try to mask it. This summer salad is perfect to serve alongside you favorite grilled protein, I’ve listed some of my favorites below.
What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes differ from conventional tomatoes in that their seeds are passed down year after year from farmers. The seeds are taken from their best, juiciest, sweetest crop of tomatoes. The color, size, and shape of the tomato is also important in the selection of seeds.
Unlike conventional tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated. This means they’re pollinated naturally by bees, insects, the wind, etc. When you see heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will taste great.
Many stores will cash in on the “heirloom” name, when in fact the tomatoes have come from gmo seeds and not grown in the best practices. When buying heirloom tomatoes it’s best to buy from somewhere you trust or a local farmers’ market.
Ingredients For Heirloom Tomato Salad
Heirloom Tomatoes – The star of this salad. When picking out an heirloom tomato it should feel heavy and the skin should be smooth and unblemished. If they’re a little underripe that’s ok, they’ll ripen in a day or two on the counter.
Pesto – Pesto and tomatoes are a great combination. The fresh herbaceous and salty flavor pairs perfectly with the sweet tomatoes.
Lemon – Fresh lemon juice adds acidity and brightness to the tomatoes.
Pine Nuts – They have a mild nutty flavor as well as a buttery taste and texture. Store them in the freezer as they can go rancid quickly.
Basil – Fresh basil and tomatoes are a classic combination.
Flaky Sea Salt – Salt and tomatoes compliment each other well because salt helps the tomatoes taste sweeter. Don’t use table salt for this, you want big flakes of sea salt for the best flavor. Salt isn’t just salt and the flavor and saltiness can vary greatly.
How To Make It
Start by slicing the heirloom tomatoes. I think it’s best to cut them about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. You can usually get about 4 slices out of one tomato at this thickness.
Arrange the tomatoes onto a serving platter. Dollop on the pesto making sure each tomato has a little bit on it. Sprinkle the shallots evenly over the tomatoes.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over them and then sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts and fresh chopped basil.
Finish the salad by adding flaky sea salt all over the top. I’m pretty generous with the salt, but use however much you want. Serve the salad immediately if possible.
If you are going to refrigerate it, leave the pine nuts off until just before serving so they stay crunchy.
Tips And Substitutions
- Don’t refrigerate tomatoes. This kills the flavor and texture.
- Look for heirloom tomatoes that feel heavy and have smooth skin. Wrinkles on the skin means it’s old.
- If your tomatoes aren’t ripe, store them on the counter for a couple days before using them. To help them ripen faster stick a banana or avocado next to them.
- Use good quality flaky sea salt and use plenty. Skip the salt in your salt shaker. If you’re tomatoes aren’t as sweet as you hoped they would be, salt will make them taste sweeter.
- Fresh lemon juice is a must, none of that bottled stuff.
- If you don’t want to use pine nuts you can skip them or try substituting with unsalted pistachios.
What To Serve With It
More Tomato Salads
Heirloom Tomato Salad
This simple, fresh, and easy to make Heirloom Tomato Salad is perfect for summer!
- 4-6 heirloom tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Flaky sea salt
- Slice the heirloom tomatoes about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Arrange them on a serving platter. Dollop on the pesto. Sprinkle on the shallots and squeeze the juice of half of a lemon all over the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts, basil, and sea salt all over the tomatoes and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.
Leave a Reply