All the aromatic spices in this easy homemade peach chutney will transform this simple Vegan Cherry Tomato Salad into a centrepiece of colour and flavour!
Why I Love Vegan Cherry Tomato Salad with Peach Chutney Dressing
Tomato salad recipes are one of those recipes everyone has probably made at least once in their entertaining lives. So, I am always trying to find different ways to elevate the humble tomato salad for it to become dinner party worthy.
Its vivacious colours make the best side salad to main courses which may sometimes be bland in colour.
My partner loves making beef ribs, for example but it’s just a whole plate of brown! If you prefer to make this a vegetarian meal, try this Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Brussels Sprouts.
I love a good sweet chutney. The combination of the fruit and the many spices make this such a wonderful pot of gold. And by getting the consistency right, it makes for such a delicious thick salad dressing over the tomatoes.
And, contrary to popular belief, sweet chutneys are not hard to make. It does not require hours and hours of slow cooking.
Don’t let the list of spices scare you off either. If not already in your pantry, it’s one stop at the spice section of your supermarket. And I tend to use spices regularly in my salad recipes so they won’t go to waste.
What Is the Difference Between Chutney and Relish?
I have often been asked what the difference between chutney and relish is, so I thought I’d clarify it with a few simple points:
Origin: Chutneys originated from India and relishes came from the UK.
Consistency: Chutneys are thicker than relishes.
Ingredients: Chutneys are fruit based and sometimes contain more than one variety of fruit whilst relishes are made with vegetables and in most cases just the one type e.g. tomato or cucumber.
Taste: Chutneys are sweet and made with many different spices whereas relishes are tarter and pickle like.
Texture: Chutneys are soft and melts in your mouth. Relishes are firmer.
Objective: Chutneys were made to accompany dishes and sometimes even used as a dipping sauce, but relishes were made to make bland food taste better or to enhance a staple.
What Is the Difference Between Heirloom and Hybrid Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes have been coined as “heirloom” because its seeds have been passed down from generation to generation.
Heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated which means that the seeds can be re-planted in its natural environment. If 2 different types of seeds are planted close together, they can create a whole new variety.
Heirloom tomatoes come in many shapes and sizes. Over the generations they have evolved into some of the most spectacular looking tomatoes, so worthy for any salad.
Heirloom tomatoes however have a shorter shelf life and is seasonal. Which means that they are also more expensive.
Most of the tomatoes you find in the supermarket nowadays are hybrid tomatoes.
Hybrid tomatoes are simply tomato varieties which have been intentionally cross pollinated to produce a variety to suit the grower. In most cases, growers are looking for more consistency in the tomato, greater resistance to contracting diseases, a more vibrant colour, or a sweeter variety.
Hybrid tomatoes are a fairly new development and it has become the more popular variety simply because it is more durable and can last longer than the heirloom tomatoes. This subsequently means they are cheaper than their counterparts.
For this salad recipe, I chose to use the hybrids. The heirloom varieties are not always so readily available to us. But by all means should you be able to get your hands on some, it would make for a stunning salad.
Which Tomatoes Are Best for This Salad?
Any tomato variety would be suitable for this salad.
Like most of my salads, I look for different shapes and sizes and a mix of colours. I do however prefer the smaller varieties rather than the Beefsteak, Better Boy, or the large Cherokee Purples. I find that once I chop them up into smaller pieces, it just becomes a bowl of soggy tomatoes.
For this salad I selected the small roma, grape and cherry tomatoes in red, gold, and green colours. I personally love the yellow pear tomatoes, but they are hard to find. I also do like putting in some of the kumato tomatoes as the green offsets the lively colours.
The vine ripened truss tomatoes should be small to medium in size just to change up the proportions.
The round and oval shapes, along with the varying colours and sizes will take this salad from bland to gorgeous.
These tomato salads are testament to all the different ways you can include them in your salads: Tomato Artichoke Salad, Yellow Doll Watermelon Salad with Bocconcini and of course our quick, yet stunning Medley of Tomato and Burrata Salad.
How to Make Vegan Cherry Tomato Salad with Peach Chutney Dressing?
Preparing the Cherry Tomatoes
Cut the smaller tomatoes into half. Some I cut horizontally down the middle whilst others I cut vertically, end to end. Again, all about variety in shapes. The large truss tomatoes I cut into quarters to create wedges.
Make sure your knife is sharp as otherwise you’ll squash the tomatoes.
Dice the yellow capsicum into small pieces.
Hand tear the basil roughly.
Mix all the ingredients together. Easy.
How to Make the Peach Chutney
When you’re selecting the peaches for the chutney, choose the ripest ones you can find. It is easier to peel off the skin when it’s ripe.
If you’re not able to find any, no stress. In fact, when I was testing this recipe, I couldn’t find any. So, I boiled the peaches for about 8 minutes as they were quite firm. The skin practically slid off.
Cut the peaches into small cubes. Cut the onions to a similar size.
Toast the cumin and fennel seeds lightly on low heat on a fry pan until nice and fragrant. I love the smell that wafts through the kitchen! Set it aside for later.
After toasting the seeds, add oil to the pan. Fry the onion, garlic, and ginger until it softens. Then add the peaches, apple cider vinegar, sugar, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon and toasted cumin and fennel seeds. Cook it until it thickens, and the peaches are nice and soft.
And that’s it! You can do this with any fruit or even a combination of fruits like apricots and plums. I always make extra to have with curry at dinner or put into sandwiches for my daughter’s school lunch.
How to Make the Peach Chutney Dressing
The chutney is too thick in consistency to simply add to the tomatoes. But at the same time, I am not after a vinaigrette. I just need to dilute the chutney. I do this by adding olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Just a few swirls and you’ll get a lovely tomato salad dressing.
The vinegar also reduces the sweetness of the chutney and makes it a bit tart. I chose apple cider to retain that fruity flavour as it also enhances the lovely spices in the chutney.
How to Assemble the Salad
This couldn’t be any easier. Just mix the pre-chopped salad with the peach chutney dressing and serve.
As the salad is literally so colourful, a plain coloured plate will suffice.
It’s also a salad that doesn’t have to be served immediately as it will hold. So, if you’re working hard on that main course, you can put the salad aside and not have to worry about it for a while. Yet another reason to love this summer salad!
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Vegan Cherry Tomato Salad with Peach Chutney Dressing
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut all tomatoes into small pieces. Mix it up with wedges and halves. Do not slice.
- Dice yellow bell pepper (capsicum).
- Chop or hand tear basil.
- Peal peaches, dice and discard the stone.
- In a small fry pan, dry fry the cumin and fennel seeds for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil into a large fry pan. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. Fry until softened.
- Add diced peaches, apple cider vinegar, sugar, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon and toasted cumin and fennel seeds. Stir continuously until all liquid has been absorbed and peaches have softened.
- Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, in a small mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the chutney. Stir until well combined.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, yellow bell pepper (capsicum) and basil.
- Gently fold the peach chutney dressing through the salad.
- Place the dressed salad onto a serving platter and season with freshly ground pepper.
- You can use any type of tomatoes as you wish. Just be sure to get a variety of colours and sizes to create that “wow” factor.
- Any coloured capsicum is fine to use. I love the yellow capsicum for the colour albeit it is the most expensive of the 3 colours.
- For the peach chutney, try and get a hold of ripe peaches as they are much easier to peel. If you’re not able to, place them in a pot of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. The skin will peel off easier.
- Once the chutney is made and if the peaches are too chunky for your liking, you can use a masher to mash the peaches.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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