One of the most exciting parts about summer is the abundance of fresh garden tomatoes — but sometimes it can be a little daunting to figure out what to do with them.
Most people know tomatoes are healthy, but not all tomatoes are created equal.
The type is extremely important, especially since grocery store tomatoes may be pumped full of ethylene gas for ripening, and also that conventional growers may use as many as 110 different chemicals in the field.
By contrast, heirloom tomatoes are often grown organically from healthy seeds that have been saved and passed down from generation-to-generation.
The following recipe (from the book ‘Pure Food: Eat Clean with Seasonal, Plant-Based Recipes’ by Veronica Bosgraaf) puts those heirloom and garden-grown tomatoes to good use, while also offering a bounty of health benefits to end summer on the best possible note.
Heirloom Tomato and Summer Fruit Salad Health Benefits
There are more than 3,000 heirloom tomato varieties available for cultivation, in different colors ranging from yellow to classic red, green and even orange and purple.
Their tastes are usually more crisp, sweet and complex than a typical tomato, which makes them an excellent pairing with all sorts of different fruits in a summer salad.
In this recipe, the tomatoes are paired with mangoes and kiwis to bring out a rich, sophisticated and intense flavor profile, making for an unforgettable late summer side dish.
Heirloom Tomato and Summer Fruit Salad Recipe
For this recipe you can use any heirloom tomato of your choice, but some good suggestions are black cherry (a small purplish-red variety), yellow pear (a brightly-colored variety that may be shaped like a small lightbulb), and amana, an orange variety consistently praised for its rich and full-bodied flavor.
Heirloom tomatoes are best found at farmer’s markets or grown at home, but if you don’t have them you can substitute cherry or regular tomatoes.
This recipe is listed under the August section of the book.
Heirloom Summer Salad Ingredients
-2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped whenever possible):
-2 cups red grapes
-2 kiwi, peeled and cut into wedges
-3 heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped
-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
-2 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar (I use this kind)
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, mango, kiwi, and all but ½ cup of the tomato. Toss gently.
2. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the remaining ½ cup tomato, oil, vinegar, mint and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fruit, or pour it into a bowl on the side for dipping, and serve.
The health benefits of heirloom tomatoes may include:
-A healthy amount of Vitamin C, ranging between 20-40 percent of your daily value per medium-sized fruit
-High amounts of lycopene (especially when cooked), which may help prevent prostate cancer
-Potential for reducing heart disease risk in some people
-They are low in calories (35 pr medium tomato) but high in disease-fighting compounds and antioxidants
-Far less toxins than traditional store bought or conventionally grown tomatoes (especially if you grow them yourself organically as most heirloom seed growers do)
This salad also offers benefits for gut health because of the cider vinegar in the dressing.
You can also add spring mixed greens to your salad in order to maximize the health benefits — the cider vinegar will help your body more effectively absorb the calcium, a must for preventing osteoporosis and building strong bones.
Thanks for reading! More original recipes like these are available in Veronica’s book ‘Pure Food: Eat Clean with Seasonal Plant-Based Recipes,’ which can be found on Amazon by clicking here.
The book encourages the use of seasonal produce and offers recipes for each month of the year, with a focus on sustainable, local and organic ingredients. Over 120 different recipes are included in total. This recipe was shared with permission from our friends at Pure Bar and Pure Food.