Heirloom Tomato Salad is a vibrant dish that combines the simple yet robust flavors of summer’s best produce. This recipe incorporates juicy heirloom tomatoes from the local farmers’ market, crisp red onion slices, and crispy toasted Panko breadcrumbs, all tossed in a tangy balsamic dressing and sprinkled with fresh basil leaves.
What sets this salad apart is the addition of garlic-infused olive oil, which is toasted with the breadcrumbs to create an extra layer of flavor that really makes this salad pop.
Heirloom tomato salad is a refreshing side dish, perfect for any summer meal. The salad is a celebration of the tomato in its most pure form, enhanced by the crunch of red onion and the aromatic flavor of fresh basil. It’s not only a feast for the palate but also for the eyes with its vibrant colors.
What makes this heirloom tomato salad recipe truly special is its simplicity. Each ingredient gets a chance to shine, without being overshadowed. So, if you’re looking for a salad that’s fresh, flavorful, and easy to prepare, this recipe is definitely worth a try.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious heirloom tomato salad recipe today!
- What is an Heirloom Tomato Salad?
- Why This Is The Best Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe
- What You Need to Make Heirloom Tomato Salad At Home
- How to Make Heirloom Tomato Salad Step by Step
- Tips For Making the Best Heirloom Tomato Salad Every Single Time
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Similar Recipes
What is an Heirloom Tomato Salad?
Heirloom Tomato Salad is a vibrant and flavorful side dish that celebrates the beauty of fresh, ripe, and diverse heirloom tomatoes.
This dish generally consists of heirloom tomatoes, which are sliced and arranged on a platter, a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper, a scattering of thinly sliced red onions, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to enhance the taste. The salad is usually garnished with fresh basil leaves for an added touch of freshness.
This dish is popular for its simplicity, as it allows the natural flavor and texture of the heirloom tomatoes to shine through. It’s also a favorite at the farmer’s market due to the variety of tomatoes available, each contributing its unique flavor and color to the salad.
My recipe for heirloom tomato salad goes a step further by including a crunchy topping of garlic-infused Panko breadcrumbs, adding a delightful texture contrast to the soft tomatoes. This is a simple yet transformative step that turns a basic salad into a dish you’ll crave again and again.
You can use these garlicky breadcrumbs in other dishes as well. My favorite skillet green beans only benefit from the addition of a crispy breadcrumb topping.
The recipe doesn’t require a separate dressing as the combination of olive oil, vinegar, and the juice from the tomatoes create a light, flavorful coating for the ingredients.
I’m confident that once you try it, this heirloom tomato salad recipe will become a staple in your kitchen.
Why This Is The Best Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe
Easy to Make: The heirloom tomato salad recipe requires only a few simple steps and basic ingredients, making it a breeze to whip up.
Versatile: This salad can easily be customized to your taste. If you prefer a creamier texture, try adding some creamy burrata cheese or fresh mozzarella. Want a bit more crunch? Toss in some toasted breadcrumbs. Like it spicy? A sprinkle of red pepper flakes would do the trick.
Delicious: The combination of ripe heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, crunchy breadcrumbs, and a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar creates a flavor explosion in every bite. The sweet and tangy tomatoes, fragrant basil, and the crunch from the breadcrumbs make this salad irresistibly tasty.
Crowd Pleaser: This salad is a hit with both kids and adults. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish at a family barbeque or as a main course for a light summer supper, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Healthier Option: This salad is packed with fresh, wholesome ingredients from the local farmers’ market. It’s a lighter, healthier alternative to heavy, mayo-laden salads. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly, making it a dish that everyone can enjoy.
What You Need to Make Heirloom Tomato Salad At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious heirloom tomato salad recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
Olive oil: You’ll be needing some olive oil to make this recipe. The oil will add a richness to the salad and provide a medium to sauté the garlic and breadcrumbs for that garlicky crunch.
Garlic: We’ll also need some cloves of garlic. The garlic will infuse the olive oil and breadcrumbs with its pungent taste and aroma, adding depth to the salad.
Panko breadcrumbs: You’ll be needing some Panko breadcrumbs to make this recipe. The breadcrumbs will bring an unexpected texture to the salad, creating a delightful contrast with the soft tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes: We’ll also need some heirloom tomatoes. These tomatoes will be the star of our heirloom tomato salad, providing a burst of fresh, juicy flavor. Pick those that are most aromatic for the best taste.
Red onion: You’ll be needing some red onion to make this recipe. The onion will add a sharp, bright flavor to the salad, balancing out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar: We’ll also need some Balsican vinegar. The vinegar will act as a simple dressing, highlighting the flavors of the other ingredients while adding a tangy note.
Salt: You’ll be needing some salt to make this recipe. The salt will enhance the flavors of the other ingredients, making the taste of the tomatoes and onions really pop.
Pepper: We’ll also need some pepper. The pepper will add a touch of heat to the salad, complementing the sweetness of the tomatoes and the tanginess of the vinegar.
Fresh basil leaves: You’ll be needing some fresh basil leaves to make this recipe. The basil will add a refreshing, aromatic note to the salad, perfectly complementing the tomatoes and onion.
How to Make Heirloom Tomato Salad Step by Step
Making this incredible heirloom tomato salad recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
2. Depending of the size of your tomatoes, cut them into 5 or 6 wedges and arrange on a serving plate. Don't forget to remove the core.
3. Thinly slice the red onion and scatter it over tomatoes. Season the salad with salt and pepper.
4. Top the tomato salad with the toasted breadcrumbs followed by a drizzle of 1 tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar. Scatter basil over the salad and serve immediately.
Your delicious Heirloom Tomato Salad is ready to be served!
Tips For Making the Best Heirloom Tomato Salad Every Single Time
Choosing the Right Tomatoes: The most important part of an heirloom tomato salad is, of course, the tomatoes. When shopping, smell them and choose the most aromatic ones. If buying from a local farmers’ market, ask the vendors which tomatoes they recommend for the most flavor.
Storing Your Tomatoes: To get the most out of your heirloom tomato salad recipe, store your tomatoes on the counter instead of in the fridge. This allows them to ripen naturally and enhances their taste, giving you a more flavorful and delicious salad.
Creating a Crunchy Topping: Turn your simple tomato salad into a “want-to-make-it-again” salad with a crunchy topping of Panko breadcrumbs, garlic, and olive oil. This garlicky crunch pairs perfectly with the soft tomatoes, adding texture and a burst of flavor.
Slicing Your Tomatoes: Depending on the size of your tomatoes, cut them into 5 or 6 slices. This ensures that each bite of your salad has a good ratio of tomato to other ingredients. Plus, thin slices are easier to eat and distribute flavors more evenly.
Preparing the Red Onion: Thinly slice the red onion before scattering it over the tomatoes. This not only ensures it blends well with the other salad ingredients but also helps to mellow the onion’s strong flavor, creating a more balanced taste.
Seasoning the Salad: Season your salad with kosher salt and black pepper for a simple but impactful addition of flavor. A hint of salt brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes, while the black pepper adds a slight heat.
Dressing the Salad: Rather than using a heavy dressing, this heirloom tomato salad recipe calls for a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This allows you to taste the tomatoes and crunchy topping predominantly, with the oil and vinegar acting as a simple, complementary accompaniment.
- This Heirloom Tomato Salad is a perfect addition to a hearty grilled vegetable panini. The freshness and acidity of the salad beautifully cut through the richness of the grilled vegetables, providing a balanced and satisfying meal.
- Pairing this salad with a creamy burrata cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese can elevate the flavor profile. The creamy texture of the cheese contrasts nicely with the crispiness of the breadcrumbs and the juicy tomatoes, creating a delightful taste experience.
- For a more substantial meal, consider serving this salad with a slice of crusty bread or bruschetta. The bread will soak up the olive oil and balsamic dressing, enhancing the flavor of the salad and making it a hearty meal on its own.
- This salad also pairs excellently with grilled fish or chicken. The freshness of the salad ingredients and the crunch from the breadcrumbs complement the smokey flavor of the grilled protein, creating a wholesome and healthy meal.
- Consider serving this salad alongside a pasta dish. The acidity of the tomatoes and the tanginess of the balsamic dressing can help cut through the richness of a creamy pasta, providing a refreshing contrast.
- The salad can also be enjoyed as a standalone meal for a light lunch. Sprinkle some feta cheese on top for an extra burst of flavor and a more substantial feel.
- Finally, if you have leftovers, store the salad in an airtight container and enjoy it the next day as a side dish. The flavors will have had time to meld together, creating an even more flavorful salad.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Heirloom Tomato Salad
This delicious heirloom tomato salad recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Herb Infused: If you’re a fan of fresh herbs, this variation is for you. Simply add a handful of fresh herbs from your local farmers’ market such as thyme or parsley to the salad. The addition of these herbs will give your heirloom tomato salad an aromatic twist and a unique flavor profile.
Cheesy: For cheese lovers, this variation is a must-try. Add a generous sprinkle of feta or creamy burrata cheese over your salad. The creamy texture and salty tang of the cheese will perfectly complement the sweetness of the tomatoes, taking your heirloom tomato salad to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Onion Crunch: Incorporate some thinly sliced red onion into your salad for an added crunch. The onions not only add a texture contrast to the soft tomatoes but also lend a slight sharpness that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Basil Overload: If you’re a fan of fresh basil, this variation is for you. Double the amount of fresh basil leaves in the salad. The intense aroma and flavor of basil will add a refreshing and summery twist to your heirloom tomato salad.
Olive Twist: Inspired by Mediterranean flavors, add some sliced green olives or capers to your heirloom tomato salad. These ingredients add a tangy and briny taste that makes any dish shine, giving your salad a deliciously complex flavor.
Leftover Love: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and use them as a topping for grilled bread or mix them with pasta for a quick and flavorful meal. This will not only reduce waste but also transform your leftover heirloom tomato salad into a whole new dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, you don't need to seed the tomatoes. Seeds are edible and actually very healthy for you. They are high in Vitamin C which may boost your immune system.
Yes, it can. The crispy garlicky topping can be prepared 2-3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, to maintain the freshness and flavor of the salad, we recommend slicing the tomatoes right before serving.
Absolutely! Purple basil can be a fantastic addition to your heirloom tomato salad. It brings a unique color and slightly different flavor profile that pairs well with the fresh ingredients of the salad.
If your budget allows, I recommend buying organic tomatoes. Organic tomatoes are less likely to contain traces of pesticides. However, if you opt for conventional tomatoes, ensure to wash them thoroughly.
Yes, you can substitute red onion with shallots in this recipe. Shallots have a slightly milder and sweeter taste, which can add a different flavor profile to your heirloom tomato salad.
Certainly, feel free to experiment with the ingredients based on your preference. Adding cucumber slices or bell peppers can add more texture to the salad.
Yes, while this recipe doesn’t call for cheese, you can certainly add some. Creamy burrata cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese would complement the flavors nicely.
Certainly, grilled chicken or shrimp can be a great addition if you’re looking to add some protein to this dish.
How to Store Leftover Heirloom Tomato Salad
Storing leftovers of this Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe is quite straightforward. Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious salad, transfer any remaining portions into an airtight container.
Place the container in the fridge, where the salad can stay fresh for up to two days. As the salad contains fresh ingredients like heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, red onions, and creamy burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese, it’s recommended to consume the salad as soon as possible to enjoy its original taste and texture.
When it comes to reheating, it’s best to serve the salad cold or at room temperature, as reheating may negatively affect the texture of the tomatoes and the freshness of other ingredients. Simply take the airtight container out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat, allowing the salad to come to room temperature. Toss the salad gently to re-distribute the flavors.
Unfortunately, freezing the Heirloom Tomato Salad is not recommended. Freezing and thawing can cause the tomatoes to become mushy and may lead to a loss of their vibrant flavor.
If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below and rate it. I always appreciate the feedback. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
If you're looking for a quick overview of the recipe, please check out my Heirloom Tomato web-story.
Crunchy Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet and over medium heat. Add garlic pushed through a garlic press and stir for 30 seconds. Add Panko breadcrumbs and toast stirring from time to time until they start turning brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer Panko to a bowl.
- Depending of the size of your tomatoes, cut them into 5 or 6 slices and arrange on a serving plate.
- Thinly slice the red onion and scatter it over tomatoes. Season the salad with salt and pepper.
- Top the tomato salad with the toasted breadcrumbs followed by a drizzle of 1 tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar. Scatter basil over the salad and serve immediately.
Iryna Bychkiv is the founder and writer of the culinary website Lavender & Macarons, where she shares clean, European-inspired recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, and made with wholesome ingredients. Iryna loves creating meals that are simple yet healthy and unique, including vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Iryna is also a freelance writer for MSN and Associated Press Wire.