When it comes to time in the kitchen, not all recipes should be rushed. Allow these heirloom tomatoes to be slow-roasted as it basks in its own sweet juices. Serve up with some asparagus and avocado for some crunchy and creamy textures.
- Why You’ll Love This Salad
- What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?
- Heirloom Tomato Varieties
- How Do You Cut Heirloom Tomatoes for A Salad?
- What Do You Eat with Heirloom Tomatoes?
- Recipe Overview
- How To Assemble The Salad
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Salad
This salad with heirloom tomatoes is not your typical summer salad of raw tomatoes. Instead, this salad with heirloom tomatoes is slow roasted as they become sweeter over time and are incredibly soft and juicy. It is a warm salad that is perfect for the holidays.
Slow roast tomatoes are really easy to make as you’re just placing them in a baking dish or sheet pan, and you just let the oven do all the work at a low temperature. This slow roasting process savours all the wonderful flavours of the heirloom tomatoes.
Tomatoes and asparagus are a wonderful combination, while the avocado offers creamy textures. Finally, add some delicate cabbage microgreens to create leafy flutters to add a different textural dimension to the salad.
The colours are all wonderful too! The green, reds and purples are perfect for the Christmas table or during Thanksgiving when it’s sitting right next to your glorious turkey! This salad with heirloom tomatoes is also healthy and vegan, perfect for those celebrating a vegan Thanksgiving.
What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes are simply stunning to look at and the best tomatoes for a salad. Love walking through a farmers’ market and seeing them in such abundance. I love how they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours, with all of their folds and bumps.
What is so special about heirloom tomatoes? A tomato is considered an heirloom tomato because it refers to a variety whose seeds have been passed down for generations.
Essentially, they are open-pollinated varieties. This means that if you re-plant the seeds from heirloom tomatoes, they will grow into new tomato plants.
As you can expect, planting 2 or even 3 different varieties close together can yield a whole new variety!
As a result of this rustic growth, they come in all sorts of different shapes, colours and sizes. So you’ll find that they are not like the perfect hybrids we find in supermarkets where they are all perfectly round, vibrant in colour and all nice and glossy.
Heirloom tomatoes are bred for their flavour. They are meant to be tastier and super juicy, making them the perfect candidate for making slow roast tomatoes. Their skin is thinner and does require some care when transporting and should also be handled gently when cooking.
Heirloom Tomato Varieties
It is incredible how many different heirloom tomato varieties there are in the marketplace. Their popularity just goes to show how much people love to eat them. These truly are one of the best tomatoes for a salad: slow roasted, quick baked, or simply eaten raw.
Considering that open-pollination can occur at any given time, the heirloom tomato varieties will continue to be endless. No doubt if the seeds have been handed down for generations, many types will no longer exist.
Some of the more popular heirloom tomato varieties include:
- Principe Borghese
- German Queen
- Ace 55
- Purple Russian
- Black Cherry
- Brandywine Pink
- Black Krim
- Purple Calabash
- Chocolate Stripes
- Cherokee Purple or Chocolate
How Do You Cut Heirloom Tomatoes for A Salad?
Apart from flavour, heirloom tomatoes are popular because of the different shapes, sizes and colours that they come in. They offer a feast for your eyes on your salad platter. The best way to take advantage of these gorgeous shapes is to cut or slice them crossways such as this Baby Cucumber and Golden Berry Salad.
Unlike regular tomatoes where they will essentially just come out round, these take on a floral shape. For this salad of heirloom tomatoes, we have cut them in half, and we are slowly roasting them as they are. As the edges crisp up, the skin becomes taut and the flesh softens, the slow roasted tomato still manages to retain its shape.
You can of course cut them like a regular tomato. Dice them or cut them into wedges.
What Do You Eat with Heirloom Tomatoes?
There are so many ways you can enjoy heirloom tomatoes. Here are some delicious heirloom tomatoes recipe ideas:
- Slice them up and add some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, fresh basil leaves and enjoy them as they are.
- You can create a vegetarian bake with layers of heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and sweet potato or make a ratatouille.
- You can make slow roast tomatoes and enjoy them as they are, as a tapas side or accompaniment in your antipasto platter.
- Use them to make gazpacho, perfect for a hot summer’s day.
- You can stir them through pasta with grilled chicken or pancetta and add some fresh thyme.
Make a gorgeous looking heirloom tomato tart.
Flavour/Texture: The first bite into this salad of heirloom tomatoes is heavenly as the slow roasted tomatoes burst in your mouth. Soft, juicy and so sweet, they are also warm and comforting. The asparagus is slightly crunchy; the cabbage microgreens and mixed leaves provide the savoury green element while the avocado is so creamy.
Eating all of this together, it feels light, healthy and just plain old yum!
Ease: Slow roast tomatoes are so satisfying because it’s so easy with big rewards. The salad is simple to put together, too—nothing overly complicated at all for this recipe.
Time: Slow roast tomatoes are all about time, although the effort in itself is minimal. If you want to have this salad of heirloom tomatoes warm, time it so that it is done when you’re ready to eat. Prep the rest of the salad while the tomatoes are roasting.
These are the ingredients you need for Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Asparagus.
Heirloom tomatoes: Get 4 large ones and they can be of different shades. When in season, they are easy to get in your supermarket but I have found the best heirloom tomato varieties are best found in farmer’s markets.
Asparagus: Get 2 bunches or at least about 3 stalks per person. Asparagus are unforgiving when they are old as they are stringy and chewy. Be sure to select fresh, bright green and non-wrinkly asparagus.
Avocado: We need the avocado to provide a nice and creamy element to the salad. It’s also the perfect companion for heirloom tomatoes.
Cabbage microgreens: I selected cabbage microgreens because I love how delicate it is and because it was purple. This gives the salad a little lift. You can select the microgreen or micro herb of your choosing.
Mixed leaves: Any variety of mixed leaves will work for this salad.
Olive oil: Needed for both the heirloom tomatoes and for tossing through the blanched asparagus.
Garlic powder: Adding some garlic powder to the olive oil and basting the heirloom tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar: Used for making the balsamic asparagus.
Salt and Pepper: To taste.
Step by step instructions for how to make Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Asparagus.
The portions for this side salad is essentially 4 large heirloom tomatoes, so 1 per person. But you can, of course, get 6 medium-sized ones or mix up the sizes and colours. So whatever you can find and whatever mood you’re in to create this delicious recipe.
Preheat the oven at 150°C or 300°F.
Cut the heirloom tomatoes in half crossways.
Place the heirloom tomatoes, skin side down, on a baking paper-lined sheet pan.
Mix the garlic powder with 2 tbsp of olive oil and baste the tomato generously.
Put in the oven and roast for 1.5 hours.
Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to the boil.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Cut them in half. Cut the stem half in half again, lengthwise. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove, drain under cold water and set aside to dry.
If your cabbage microgreens come in a pot, cut off as close to the soil as possible. Rinse to remove excess dirt and pat dry.
Wash and dry mixed leaves.
Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and peel. For the first half, slice thinly and then press down to create a fan.
For the second half, cut in half again lengthwise, slice thinly and press down to create a thinner fan. You should have 3 fans.
How To Assemble The Salad
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the blanched asparagus, balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
Lay the mixed leaves on your platter. Always have the leafy ends on the outer rim of the platter.
Add the asparagus around the platter.
Place the 3 avocado fans on the platter, spread them out.
Gently place the roasted heirloom tomatoes around the platter.
Sprinkle the cabbage microgreen all over.
Add a generous amount of salt to taste.
Sprinkle some pepper to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
Heirloom tomato alternatives: You can use any large tomato you wish if you can’t get Heirloom tomatoes. Beefsteaks would make a great candidate for slow roasting.
Asparagus substitute: You can substitute asparagus for green beans. Even though they are less seasonal nowadays and they are easier to find, asparagus can be expensive.
Type of microgreen: Any microgreen or micro herb will be fine to use.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Asparagus? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
Rigatoni Bolognese: A bowl of this Rigatoni Bolognese will hit the spot whenever you have a pasta craving. This easy but elegant meat sauce recipe will give you a restaurant quality dish right at home. Serve it up with an equally gorgeous side dish of salad with heirloom tomatoes and asparagus.
Pistachio crusted salmon: This recipe for Pistachio Crusted Salmon is one of those simple recipes that produces a beautiful and flavourful dish that is sure to impress your family and friends. The salad of heirloom tomatoes will make an excellent companion for the salmon.
Moroccan chicken thighs: Serve this salad of roasted tomatoes with this chicken dish. They are tender, rich with flavour and simple to make. Chicken thighs, carrots, onions and diced tomatoes are cooked in Moroccan spices creating a meal that will spice up any night of the week.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you haven’t already gathered, I love microgreens. They are so fresh, stunning and add to a salad perfectly, especially as a garnish, giving it a delicate finish.
Growing microgreens has become somewhat of an “in” thing to do. The main reasons are they grow in a very short period of time, 9-12 days and can be grown indoors. All you need are microgreen seeds of your choosing, soil, tray, light and water.
Add about 2 inches of potting mix or regular soil onto your seed starting tray and distribute your microgreen seeds across the surface of the soil. There is no need to worry about overcrowding, so be sure to pack the seeds in.
Then lightly cover with a thin layer of soil, gently pack them down and add some water. Make sure they are well watered, although you don’t wish to drown them. Then play them in a sunny spot and watch them grow!
Absolutely! Heirloom tomatoes are great when consumed raw, and you can even consume them like you would an apple! They are great for salads or something fresh to just have on the side. The best heirloom tomatoes can be found in farmer’s markets, which usually means they are organic and pesticide-free.
It is not necessary to peel tomatoes before roasting. In fact, it’s a bit tricky to do so. However, if you wish to remove the skin because you’re making sauces, canning, or following a low lectin diet, it is easier to do after roasting.
The skin separates from the flesh of the tomato, so if you pinched the top of the skin, it should slip away easily.
How spectacular would it be if you placed this in the centre of the table when you’ve got friends around for a BBQ? Its lovely red, green and purple hues also make this a sumptuous Christmas side salad, worthy on any family table.
Either way, don’t let the time it takes to roast the tomatoes put you off. It’s leave and forget until the alarm goes off. The rest of the salad is truly simple to put together.
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Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Asparagus
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- Preheat the oven at 150°C or 300°F.
- Cut the heirloom tomatoes in half crosswise.
- Place the heirloom tomatoes, skin side down, on a baking paper-lined sheet pan.
- Mix the garlic powder with 2 tbsp of olive oil and baste the tomato generously.
- Put in the oven and roast for 1.5 hours.
- Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to the boil.
- Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Cut them in half. Cut the stem half in half again, lengthwise. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove, drain under cold water and set aside to dry.
- If your microgreens come in a pot, cut off as close to the soil as possible. Rinse to remove excess dirt and pat dry.
- Wash and dry mixed leaves.
- Cut the avocado in half, remove stone and peel. For the first half, slice thinly and then press down to create a fan. For the second half, cut in half again lengthwise, slice thinly and press down to create a thinner fan. You should have 3 fans.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the blanched asparagus, balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
- Lay the mixed leaves on your platter. Always have the leafy ends on the outer rim of the platter.
- Add the asparagus around the platter.
- Place the 3 avocado fans on the platter, spread them out.
- Gently place the roasted heirloom tomatoes around the platter.
- Sprinkle the cabbage microgreens all over.
- Add a generous amount of salt to taste.
- Sprinkle some pepper to taste.
- You can use any large tomato you wish if you can’t get Heirloom tomatoes.
- You can substitute asparagus with green beans.
- Any microgreen will be fine to use.
- Garlic powder was used for this recipe instead of fresh garlic as it allowed for a more even spread when basting.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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