Whipped up in 15 minutes, this Red Tamarillo Salad is super easy to make. Enjoy the sweet and tangy tamarillo fruit accompanied by aromatic basil, sweet pops of cherry tomatoes and creamy chickpeas. No cooking required; this salad really aims to please!
Why I Love Red Tamarillo Salad with Basil
I am a massive fan of tamarillos. Curious by nature when it comes to produce, I was incredibly excited when it first appeared in Australia.
I have to admit I didn’t even know how to eat it, but I learnt quick smart the skin had to go! LOL.
At the start, the overwhelming resemblance in flavour to tomatoes is uncanny. It took me several goes before I could separate the 2 and enjoy the fruit for what it was. For a bit there, it felt like I was hunkering down on a big beefsteak!
My love for the fruit has grown exponentially, and adding them to salad recipes was a no brainer. Having it in a dessert fruit salad like our Cherry Tamarillo Salad is a great way to utilise them in both sweet and savoury salad.
Tamarillo nutrition is also great, another good reason to consume the fruit. It is low in calories, great for eye health, an excellent source of antioxidants and helps with heart disease and blood pressure.
Red Tamarillos Facts
What Do Red Tamarillos Taste Like?
Tamarillos tastes a lot like tomatoes. They are tangy and sweet at the same time but without the levels of acidity that tomatoes have. The yellow tamarillos are sweeter than the red variety.
The skin is very rarely consumed as it is quite thick and also bitter. Hence, you’ll find that you can cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon or you peel them and enjoy them whole.
How to Peel Red Tamarillos?
The best way to peel a tamarillo without squishing the delicate flesh of the fruit is to blanch them in hot water.
Before you do that, cut a small X at the bottom of the tamarillo. Put them in a bowl and submerge it in boiling hot water. Give it about 3-4 minutes and no longer as you don’t want to cook the fruit.
Remove and run it under some cold water.
You’ll notice that the skin may have curled up a little or at least has separated itself slightly from the flesh. You can just use your fingers to peel the skin back. I use a paring knife for particularly stubborn ones as it gives me a better grip.
How Did Tamarillos Get Its Name?
Tamarillos originated from South America and could be found back in the 19th century.
It arrived in New Zealand in the mid-60s and was called the tree tomato. This caused some confusion with consumers thinking they were a different type of tomato.
The name tamarillo was then created. ‘Tama’ is a Maori word (indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand) which denotes leadership and ‘Amarillo’ is a Spanish word which means yellow.
The original tamarillo was yellow with the red variety only appearing much later.
Australia didn’t start growing tamarillos until very recently, and my first foray into the fruit was met with great enthusiasm.
They have a short season, usually the winter, so when they do appear, I make sure I get my fill before they disappear!
How to Make Red Tamarillo Salad with Basil
How to Peel the Tamarillo
Bring a kettle of water to the boil.
Cut a small cross at the bottom of the tamarillo and place inside a heatproof bowl.
Pour the boiling water over the tamarillo until fully submerged. Leave it for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the tamarillo and run under cold water.
The skin would have curled a little. Using a paring knife or your fingers, peel the skin all the way back. Sometimes it’s really easy, and it peels back without issue. Other times they can get a little stubborn so a paring knife can come in handy.
Cut off the stem and cut the tamarillo into 6 wedges. Set aside.
How to Make the Rest of the Salad
Peel shallot and slice thinly to yield 1 tbsp.
Pick basil leaves to yield 1 cup.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Drain and dry enough chickpeas to yield ½ cup.
How to Make Pesto Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, add the pesto, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble Red Tamarillo Salad
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the shallots, basil, cherry tomato, chickpeas and the pesto salad dressing. Mix until well combined.
I have purposely omitted the addition of the tamarillos because they can stain a little so we will add them later on as we build this salad.
On a serving platter, place half the tossed salad.
Add half the tamarillos wedges around the salad.
Place another ¼ of the tossed salad.
Add ¼ of the tamarillos again.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finish off with the rest of the salad and tamarillos.
Tamarillo is still very much a fruit that people are getting to know. Every time I have used this fruit in a salad or dessert fruit salad, I am constantly asked what it is.
I’m lucky as I do have friends that are very open to trying new things and so many people have enjoyed my tamarillo creations, and I certainly hope that you do too!
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Red Tamarillo Salad with Basil
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- Bring a kettle of water to the boil.
- Cut a small cross at the bottom of the tamarillo and place inside a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the tamarillo until fully submerged. Leave it for 3-4 minutes. Remove the tamarillo and run under cold water. The skin would have curled a little. Using a paring knife or your fingers, peel the skin.Cut off the stem and cut the tamarillo into 6 wedges. Set aside
- Peel shallot and slice thinly to yield 1 tbsp.
- Pick basil leaves to yield 1 cup.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Drain and dry enough chickpeas to yield ½ cup.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the pesto, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix until well combined.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the shallots, basil, cherry tomato, chickpeas and the pesto salad dressing. Mix until well combined.
- On a serving platter, place half the tossed salad.
- Add half the tamarillos wedges around the salad.
- Add another ¼ of the tossed salad.
- Add ¼ of the tamarillos again.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Finish off with the rest of the salad and tamarillos.
- Tamarillos tend to stain; hence this is a “build” salad and not tossed through with the rest of the ingredients.
- You can’t get your hands on some shallots; you can use small pickling onions.
- For this recipe, I used pre-made vegan pesto. You can, of course, make your own or use any pesto sauce you prefer.
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