Traditional recipes

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that have been saved from year to year. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt, and pepper amounts to best highlight your unique tomatoes.

Click here to see 15 Tastiest Heirloom Tomato Recipes.


  • 1 1/2 Pound assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced basil, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 Teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heirloom Tomato Salad

It pairs amazingly with so many main dishes, including our Balsamic Grilled Chicken.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe

Published: May 21, 2013 · Updated: Aug 6, 2020 · This post may contain affiliate links.

When I picked up some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at my local greengrocer I knew immediately I wanted to make a Heirloom Tomato Salad with them.

Some ingredients are best enjoyed simply, and this is certainly true of tomatoes in my opinion, especially heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes lack a genetic mutation that is present in common tomatoes that provide that uniform red colour we are so familiar with, but the lack of this mutation is of benefit to the tomatoes though in that it imparts a sweeter and more of a true tomato taste.

Amazingly heirloom tomatoes come in over 4,000 different varieties. Yes, 4,000! And come in yellow, brown, red, green, purple and also come in a mixture of these colours, making them especially beautiful.

My heirloom tomato salad is a combination of chopped and sliced tomatoes, bocconcini, basil, toasted croutons and a simple dressing. While I made the salad for 1, for my lunch today, you can easily multiply the ingredients to make a larger salad to share.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Take a bite of summer with this light, refreshing side salad.

mixed-color cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

finely chopped chives, plus more for serving

heirloom tomatoes, some sliced and some cut into wedges

Small basil leaves, for serving

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add cherry tomatoes and chives and toss to combine.
  2. Arrange heirloom tomatoes on plate and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spoon cherry tomato mixture on top. Top with additional chives and basil leaves.

Nutritional information (per serving): About 105 calories, 9.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 1 g protein, 185 mg sodium, 6 g carb, 1 g fiber

15 Recipes to Make the Most of Juicy Heirloom Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the essence of summer, and heirloom tomatoes the best of the bunch. Here's how to make the most of your farmers' market haul, and savor the season's colorful crop well past August.

Heirlooms are tomatoes (or other plants) grown from seeds handed down over generations. They are open-pollinated, meaning they produce seeds that resemble the parent plant, which not always the case with commercial hybrids. Hybrid tomatoes are often bred for durability, so they can be shipped. Heirloom tomatoes are more diverse. Traditionally they were bred for flavor, and their apperances vary widely some are small and some extremely large. Heirloom tomatoes also come in a veritable rainbow of shades, not just bright red to pinkish tones but all the way through orange and yellow to striped and ombré colorings. Their names are attractive, too: Brandywine, Purple Cherokee, Green Zebra, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Nebraska Wedding are just a few of the heirloom tomatoes available as seed to grow your own or to buy at the farmers' market.

When shopping for heirloom tomatoes look for plump fruit without bruises or decay as you would with any tomatoes. Heirlooms are more susceptible to cracking, but as long as the cracks are healed (meaning you can't see the flesh), the blemish won't affect taste or safety. Once home, store tomatoes on the counter&mdashnot in the refrigerator&mdashfor a day or two. So, what are the best ways to enjoy this tasty summer staple? Let heirloom tomatoes shine in simple, sunny salads like our Tomato and Beet Salad. You can also use heirloom tomatoes for appetizers made for sharing, such as tartines or bruschetta. And if you're hosting brunch, you can't go wrong with our Bloody-Mary Tomato Salad.

What is an Heirloom Tomato?

&ldquoHeirloom&rdquo refers not to a specific breed of tomato, but more to a tomato&rsquos past. They are fruit from plants whose seeds have been passed down from season to season for at least 40 years or more.

Unlike your average supermarket tomato, heirlooms have not been selectively bred or modified for certain traits, like uniform color, resistance to pests, or size. Instead, heirlooms are pollenated as nature intended: by the birds, bees, and open air.

The result is tomatoes that come in a crazy variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Generally speaking, they are juicier and sweeter than anything you&rsquoll find in the grocery store.

Because of their un-modified heritage, heirlooms do not have a very long shelf life. The best place to buy heirloom tomatoes is at a quality local farmer&rsquos market during the summer months.

Another place to check is your neighbor&rsquos home garden (always ask before plucking your neighbors tomatoes).

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Now that it’s tomato season, I wanted to post a little inspiration for utilizing those beautiful heirloom tomatoes. You can pick up some tomatoes and have a stunning and delicious salad in minutes. You really don’t need a recipe or more than a few ingredients you can enjoy them with as little as a sprinkle of salt. A tomato salad can be altered with different vinegars, olive oils, cheeses and herbs, or with whatever you have on hand. It’s also a great way to use those flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars that you have in your cabinet and aren’t always sure what to do with them. Don’t forget a crusty bread for soaking up the delicious juices.

One rule is to always buy the best tomatoes you can find. Just remember that good food costs a bit more, so you really don’t want to skimp on quality and buy cheaper tomatoes. Buy from your local farmer’s market, or if you are in San Diego, you can check out the huge selection of tomatoes at Specialty Produce. Wherever you buy, ask the produce clerk for a sample. They will almost always be happy to cut open cut open the tomatoes for you to taste before you buy. You don’t want to go home with tasteless tomatoes that you paid a lot of money for.

Pick out a variety of colors and sizes. You will start to find your favorites and it’s nice to have a combination both for flavor and for the beautiful presentation.

Lots of fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley and thyme are wonderful with the tomatoes. I happen to love frying leafy herbs, which gives a crispy texture to the dish and something unexpected. To make fried basil carefully place them in 350 degree canola oil for about 30 seconds. Be very careful as the water in the leaves will splatter, so you will want to make these with a splash guard or outside. Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and they will be green somewhat transparent goodness that is a really beautiful garnish.

Something that I have learned about tomatoes is that the sweetest part of the tomato can be at the bottom, because of how it hangs on the vine. With that in mind, you can slice them from top to bottom rather than crosswise in order to get the sweetest part in every slice instead of just the bottom slice. The thing with heirloom tomatoes is they are often most beautiful when sliced crosswise, so that’s how I sliced these.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 larges heirloom tomatoes (about 3 lbs.), sliced into 1/2-inch slices or wedges
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Fleur de sel salt, to taste
  • ½ cup packed fresh dillweed
  • ½ cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a platter, and drizzle with oil, lemon juice, and salt.

Wash and drain herbs, and dry between two pieces of paper towel. Heat an iron wok on the stove top until hot. Toss in raw peanuts and dry-roast, 2 to 4 minutes over medium heat, so they cook on all sides. In the last minute of cooking, add 3/4 tsp. fleur de sel and white pepper.

Chop herbs and combine with roasted peanuts. Sprinkle peanut and herb mixture over the tomatoes. Serve topped with additional herbs.

Marinated Heirloom Tomato Salad

Amount Per Serving Calories 91 Calories from Fat 54 % Daily Value * Total Fat 5.4g 9 % Saturated Fat 0.8g 4 % Cholesterol 0.0mg 0 % Sodium 22mg 1 % Total Carbohydrate 11g 4 % Dietary Fiber 3.2g 13 % Protein 2.1g 5 %

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

When they are ripe and in season, nothing beats a tomato salad, no matter how many times we have made them.

1 ripe heirloom tomato, sliced into wedges

1 handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

1 handful of ripe grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

1 scallion (just the white part), chopped

1 teaspoon of chopped chives

palmful of crumbled Roquefort (or any cheese of your choice)

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/4 tablespoon of raw local honey

2 tablespoons of olive oil

a few grinds of fresh pepper

**use any favorite dressing for this salad

1. To make the dressing: Add the honey to the white wine vinegar and stir to dissolve. (If it’s not dissolving, you can put the mixture in a glass bowl over low heat to warm it up.) Add a few healthy grinds of fresh pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil, add another few grinds of fresh pepper and a pinch of sea salt to taste.

2. Arrange the tomatoes on a serving plate. Sprinkle the cheese, shallots, scallions, chives and dressing over top.

Balsamic Heirloom Tomato Salad

This recipe celebrates the delicious freshness of tomatoes.


  • 1-½ To 2 Pounds Heirloom Tomatoes (of Different Color And Variety)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, Sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch Dried Oregano, Ground In Your Palm
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, To Taste


Wash and remove stems of tomatoes. Slice tomatoes into halves, quarters or eighths depending on the size of the tomato and toss into a colander set over a large bowl. Generously sprinkle kosher salt over tomatoes, gently toss and let sit for 20 minutes. The salt not only removes some extra water from the tomatoes but also seasons them nicely.

In another bowl combine the sliced green onions and garlic. In a measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and oregano. Whisk until combined and pour over salted tomatoes. Toss, season with fresh cracked black pepper and serve!