Summery Tomato Salad

Aside from having both veggie and regular hot dogs and hamburgers for this past Saturday’s BBQ, I made a bunch of different side salads, and of course cupcakes. I have to admit, aside from my fiancé’s super spicy burgers, I think my salads were show stealers. In addition to the Corn & Black Bean Salad I’ve made a few times, I also made a tomato salad, which was awesome. I think this recipe came from Vegetarian Times, but I don’t remember for sure. I of course made some tweaks to what was available, and doubled the recipe. Thankfully, we had some left over, so I’m looking forward to enjoying some of it with a giant ear of corn later!

These fruit and vegetable salads are some of the most flavorful, and easiest dishes I’ve made! Since neither my fiancé or I are fans of mayo (I can eat things with it, but he can’t even be near it) we don’t ever have potato salad or maccaroni salad. So, I’ve been exploring other cook-out and picnic accompaniments, which have been awesome. This recipe suggests to make the dressing the night before and allow it to marinade overnight before combining it with the tomatoes and cucumbers and it’s defintely a suggestion to heed.

I’ve decided that ShopRite really isn’t cutting it for me these days. Unfortunately, we don’t have many other (better) options, aside from Wegman’s. I’d love to be closer to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but I know I’d wind up spending double every trip since they have such an awesome selection. My parents have a Trader Joe’s in their town, so if I’m looking for something specific or just want to treat myself to some yummy goodness, I’ll stop in. My latest problem with StopRite was their lack of heirloom tomatoes. Oh, and the fact that on Friday afternoon when we went after work, they didn’t have any corn left! Thankfully the Stop & Shop near our house had a ton of corn, so we stocked up. Since I didn’t get the heirloom tomatoes, I just used Jersey tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and plum tomatoes – good enough!

So aside from the tomato mishap, the only other difference with this recipe was the cheese. I went with an herb seasoned feta, which was delicious! I also decided not to puree the dressing and just cut the basil into little pieces, and combined it only with 1/2 tsp of oil, leaving out the second two tsp. The salad was a hit, and everyone was asking for the recipe. So here it is!

Heirloom (or any tomato) Summer Salad
– Serves 6-8 –

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2/3 cup of fresh basil leaves (and more for garnish)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salad:
12 oz. heirloom (or other) peak tomatoes, cut in different shapes
1 medium cucumber peeled & sliced
1/4 cup small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 oz. ricotta salata, crumbled

Directions:
1. Puree basil, garlic, and 1/2 tsp of oil, stir in remaining oil
2. Toss together veggies
3. Pour dressing and combine

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