Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette 2

A fresh and vibrant tomato salad with a zesty lemon-basil vinaigrette is the perfect dish for a light lunch, a side for your dinner, or a contribution to a summer picnic. This salad highlights the natural sweetness and acidity of tomatoes, complemented by the aromatic and citrusy notes of the lemon-basil vinaigrette. Here’s a detailed recipe to help you create this delightful dish.




Ingredients:

For the Salad:
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes (heirloom or beefsteak varieties work well)
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (mixed colors if available)
  • 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (torn or chiffonade)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:

1. Preparing the Tomatoes:
  • Heirloom or Beefsteak Tomatoes:
    • Wash and core the large tomatoes.
    • Cut them into wedges or thick slices, depending on your preference.
    • Place the tomato slices in a large serving bowl.
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes:
    • Wash the cherry or grape tomatoes.
    • Cut them in half lengthwise.
    • Add them to the bowl with the larger tomato slices.
2. Preparing the Other Vegetables:
  • Red Onion:
    • Peel the red onion and cut it in half.
    • Thinly slice each half into half-moon shapes.
    • If the onion is too pungent, soak the slices in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry before adding to the salad.
  • Cucumber:
    • Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise.
    • Scoop out the seeds with a spoon if desired (this helps reduce any bitterness).
    • Slice the cucumber into thin half-moons.
    • Add the cucumber slices to the salad bowl.


3. Adding Fresh Herbs and Cheese:
  • Basil and Parsley:
    • Wash and dry the fresh basil and parsley.
    • Tear the basil leaves or cut them into chiffonade (thin ribbons).
    • Chop the parsley leaves.
    • Add the herbs to the salad bowl.
  • Feta Cheese:
    • If using, crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle it over the salad.

Summer Tomato Salad Recipe

4. Making the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette:
  • Lemon Juice and Zest:
    • In a small mixing bowl, combine the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Olive Oil and Vinegar:
    • Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture is emulsified.
    • Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk to combine.
  • Mustard, Garlic, and Sweetener:
    • Whisk in the Dijon mustard and minced garlic.
    • Add honey or maple syrup if you prefer a touch of sweetness.
  • Fresh Basil:
    • Finely chop the fresh basil leaves and add them to the vinaigrette.


  • Seasoning:
    • Season the vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Tomato Salad Recipes

5. Assembling the Salad:
  • Tossing the Salad:
    • Pour the lemon-basil vinaigrette over the prepared tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs in the salad bowl.
    • Gently toss the salad to ensure all the ingredients are evenly coated with the vinaigrette.
  • Seasoning:
    • Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
6. Serving:
  • Presentation:
    • Transfer the salad to a serving platter or individual plates for a more elegant presentation.
    • Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves or a sprinkle of extra feta cheese if desired.
  • Enjoying the Salad:
    • Serve the tomato salad immediately for the best flavor and texture.
    • Pair it with crusty bread or as a side dish to grilled meats, seafood, or pasta.


Tips for the Perfect Tomato Salad:
  1. Tomato Selection:
    • Choose ripe, juicy tomatoes for the best flavor. Heirloom varieties offer unique flavors and colors.
    • If possible, use a mix of tomato types and colors for a visually appealing and flavorful salad.
  2. Vinaigrette Balance:
    • Adjust the acidity and sweetness of the vinaigrette to suit your taste. More lemon juice or vinegar for tanginess, or more honey for sweetness.
    • Let the vinaigrette sit for a few minutes before using it to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Fresh Herbs:
    • Fresh herbs are key to the salad’s flavor. Use high-quality, fragrant basil and parsley.
    • Other herbs like mint or cilantro can be added for different flavor profiles.
  4. Cheese Variations:
    • If you’re not a fan of feta, try using goat cheese, mozzarella, or even a hard cheese like Parmesan.
    • For a vegan option, omit the cheese or use a plant-based alternative.


  5. Chill Ingredients:
    • Keep the ingredients, especially the tomatoes and cucumbers, chilled until just before assembling the salad to maintain freshness.
  6. Serving Suggestions:
    • This salad pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken, fish, or steak.
    • Serve as a light lunch with a side of quinoa or couscous.

Nutritional Information (Approximate per serving):

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 6g

Conclusion:

This Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette is a refreshing and delicious way to enjoy the vibrant flavors of fresh tomatoes and herbs. The combination of ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and tangy red onion, all dressed in a zesty lemon-basil vinaigrette, makes for a perfect summer dish. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish, a light lunch, or part of a larger meal, this salad is sure to impress with its simple yet sophisticated flavors. Enjoy!




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