Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

June 17, 2009


This is one combination of ingredients that I can’t seem to get enough of:  tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and garlic!  We’re lucky here in Southern California to have great produce practically year round, but if you happen to live somewhere else, hopefully you’re able to get them now that Summer is right around the corner. I found this great medley of small heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe’s.

Recently, I talked about my love for Insalata alla Caprese. The ingredients in this salad are very similar, but just served differently. So, if you love Caprese, I guarantee that you’ll love this salad!

It’s quick and easy, so it’s perfect to take to a neighborhood cookout or to a friend’s house for a cocktail party.


I found the original recipe for this dressing in the June 2009 issue of Food & Wine. It was featured in an article called “best 5-minute dressings”. The original recipe didn’t include the mozzarella cheese, but I couldn’t imagine this salad without it. I think I also doubled the garlic and the olive oil. This is my version.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
(adapted from June 2009 issue Food & Wine)

1 lb. small heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
2 garlic cloves
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. Champagne vinegar
1/4 lb mozzarella, diced into cubes
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Coarse salt, to taste

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, arrange on serving platter and sit aside.

I don’t like the bite of raw garlic in a dressing, so I pressed the garlic cloves into a small pan and sauteed them in a tablespoon or so of the olive oil just until a little soft. I then added the crushed red pepper flakes to the oil and garlic and sauteed for just another minute or so.

Put the basil in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar, the garlic and the crushed red pepper and process until smooth. Toss in a bowl and add cubed mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Pour on top of the tomatoes and serve!

I think this tomato salad would also be great served on top of a plate of baby lettuce.

I have to use this beautiful bunch of basil soon, so…

some time in the next few days, I’ll be sharing with you yet another great recipe that includes these fantastic ingredients!

I hope you love them as much as I do!


12 Comments so far

  1. Posted by grace

    June 17, 20096:19 am

    i just ADORE the look (and taste) of heirloom tomatoes. this is the most beautiful tomato salad i have EVER seen, and i swear i’m not exaggerating. excellent work.

  2. Posted by LilSis

    June 17, 20098:46 am

    Thank you, Grace! I really appreciate the compliment. I was pretty happy that something this simple turned out as nice as it did.

    I’ll be making it a lot this summer!

  3. Posted by Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

    June 17, 200910:13 am

    WOW this looks wonderful – So summery!

  4. Posted by Melissa

    June 17, 200910:45 am

    Ya makin’ pesto with that? 😉 I love the salad. Can’t wait to start making all the tomato, basil, mozz dishes I can think of.

    And I would have had the June F&W had they not messed up the start of my subscription. Boo.

  5. Posted by LilSis

    June 17, 200911:05 am

    Thanks Cathy! I hope TJ’s keeps the heirloom tomatoes in stock because they were so good! Yes, and very summery.

  6. Posted by LilSis

    June 17, 200911:09 am

    Hi Melissa,
    I’m actually going to share with everyone your fantastic Caprese Pasta recipe. I made mine with wheat pasta since my hubby is supposed to lay off the white stuff. I’ll be linking to your original post that you shared with me, so be watching for it!

    Bummer! That issue of F&W had some good recipes in it. Maybe you can get them online.

  7. Posted by Glenda

    June 18, 20093:02 am

    wow! my husband and i love caprese salad and he is sure to like this recipe. i can almost smell the tomatoes and the basil leaves from your pics =)

  8. Posted by Maria

    May 6, 201012:05 pm

    Perfect summer salad!
    .-= Maria´s last blog post … 2peas3-0 =-.

  9. Posted by Tracy

    May 6, 201012:15 pm

    So colorful! Love it!

  10. Posted by maggy

    May 6, 20107:48 pm

    I love when simple flavors create incredible meals. YUM! This looks delicious.
    .-= maggy´s last blog post … Nanaimo Bars =-.

  11. Posted by Cookin' Canuck

    May 7, 20101:00 pm

    Beautiful way to highlight the sweetness of heirloom tomatoes.

  12. Posted by Jen @ How To: Simplify

    May 13, 201011:00 am

    I love heirloom tomatoes…well, I basically love anything with tomatoes in it. This salad is so colorful and seems like it would be so flavorful!
    .-= Jen @ How To: Simplify´s last blog post … Insalata Caprese =-.

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