A Squared: Heirloom Tomato Salad

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Salad

This simple heirloom tomato salad only requires a few ingredients. The bold fresh flavors and the beautiful colors make this the perfect recipe for celebrating summer-- the beginning or the end of it!

My husband is great about trying all of my new recipes, but when it comes to food he is a purist. He would be a happy man if we just rotated through a short list of his favorite meals. Lucky for me, he's very patient and appreciates that I love to cook and try new things-- and he's open to eating them about 90% of the time. So, when I try something new and he eats 3 servings of it and says "can we have more dinners like this?" I know I have done something right.

On a recent rare weekend when Alex and I didn't have big plans, we got up early and made the 3.5 mile walk to Chicago's Green City Market. One stand was selling about 20 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and since I had a tough time choosing, I bought several. I made this salad that evening to accompany some simply seasoned grilled filets and homemade garlic toast and it was probably one of the best dinners we have made all summer. Simple, fresh, and really satisfying.

The heirloom tomatoes are really the stars of this salad, so the additional ingredients are simple and really just enhance the flavor of the fresh tomatoes. Fresh basil is a no brainer when it comes to pairing with tomatoes, but I also like the spicy bite of fresh parsley here too. Normally you only need to dress a tomato salad like this with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. I like a little more acid though-- since vinegar can really overpower the flavor of the tomatoes, I just squeezed half a fresh lemon over the top and it was perfect. Garnish with a little salty shaved parmesan and this salad is ready to serve.


  • 6 medium heirloom tomatoes, various colors/types
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 oz. fresh parmesan, shaved

If tomatoes have been refrigerated, take them out and allow to come to room temperature. Slice each tomato into 1/4/-1/2-inch slices widthwise.  Discard top and bottom slices.

Arrange the remaining slices on a large platter, alternating colors and overlapping as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the top of the tomato slices and repeat with the lemon juice.

Sprinkle parsley and basil evenly on top and finish with the shaved parmesan. Serve immediately.

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