I picked up a couple of pints of the most absolutely gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes over the weekend. My go-to tomato salad that I love to make is a bruschetta salad, which I often put together when I have a lot of tomatoes on hand, especially using fresh tomatoes from my organic home vegetable garden. The classic combination of high quality, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil makes for a delicious salad. I have been making this simple tomato salad for as long as I can remember. It is delicious served on its own, or on top of warm flat bread or crostini. While I have used heirloom cherry tomatoes in today’s recipe, you can use your favourite tomato variety or whichever is available seasonally in your region.
Tomatoes are a wonderful superfood. They are rich in potassium and vitamin C which makes them helpful in treating cardiovascular disease. They also contain carotenoids including lycopene which has been shown to protect against cancer and guard the skin and eyes from sun damage. I have included a healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil, in this recipe as the carotenoids found in tomatoes are fat soluble, which means that they need to be eaten with some fat in order for the nutrients in the tomatoes to be properly absorbed.*
Basil is my favourite spice and I love adding fresh basil to this salad. I keep a basil plant in my kitchen so that I can enjoy fresh basil year round. Basil contains eugenol and apigenin (also found in parsley and rosemary) which have anti-inflammatory properties and as such, are quite healing. Herbs like thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, basil and rosemary have been used for thousands of years to help preserve foods in order to protect against microbial contamination. Today research has shown that these herbs can protect us too.*
For this recipe you will need:
2 pints (4 cups) Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp fresh basil
Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Wash and chop tomatoes and place in a medium size mixing bowl.
2. Add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, basil and stir. Season with Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste.
3. Cover and place in the refrigerator until serving.
Note: The flavours in this salad intensify the longer you allow it to sit and marinade. I recommend preparing this salad in advance and waiting at least an hour before serving.
*Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.