For this heirloom tomato salad with capers and feta, start with flavorful tomatoes bursting with ripeness. Then, enhance them by a dressing with tart balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and capers. Garnish with feta cheese for a beautiful and flavorful side with almost no prep.
This is a simple dressing whose fresh herbs and other flavors marry happily with the tomatoes without overpowering them. It makes for a salad that could accompany any main dish or be served as a light meal with bread, crackers, or perhaps these millet-currant biscuits.
What is an heirloom tomato?
According to Wikipedia, heirloom tomatoes “are open-pollinated, non-hybrid heirloom cultivars of tomato.” They tend to be sweeter than the more common red tomatoes. Heirlooms still have the wide range of colors in the tomato family. Calling them heirloom varieties is related to the fact that people who grow them save the seed from year to year and treasure each variety.
Heirloom tomatoes are usually in season in August or September in the U.S. They may be a bit more expensive than conventional tomatoes. However, if you don’t like tomatoes, the flavor of these could change your mind!
When I find Heirloom tomatoes in season I buy enough to make at least one cooked dish, such as my chickpea-walnut filled tart, and to have enough left for this salad.
I use as many colors of tomatoes as I have available to me, and sometimes add a few cherry tomatoes as I’ve done here since they were from my own garden. I’ve seen some heirloom tomato salads that use only cherry tomatoes, so use what you have available!
Why include the feta cheese?
Feta is fantastic in this salad for two reasons. The white is so beautiful against the colors of the tomatoes, for visual contrast. Plus the cheesiness complements the tomato flavor so well!
For dairy feta, I like the Mt. Vikos brand, and for non-dairy, Violife is our preference. Both are available at National Grocers, where we most often shop when not at the farmers market.
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For this salad, you can make up the dressing in advance, but I don’t recommend slicing or wedging the tomatoes until just before you are about to eat them. These tomatoes are so full of moisture that any dressing added to them will cause that moisture to leave them via osmosis. And that will make the dressing watery.
Of course you can substitute other fresh herbs according to your preference. In our yard, fresh thyme and chives are available right when the tomatoes are, so they make a great match.
Please leave me a comment to let me know if you tried this salad, and what you thought of it!
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Shop Heirloom Tomato Salad with Capers and Feta
These are the ingredients I use, or recommend, or both. I particularly like the California Olive Ranch olive oil – domestically produced and full of flavor!
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This heirloom tomato salad starts with flavorful tomatoes bursting with ripeness. Then enhance them by a dressing with tart balsamic vinegar and capers. Garnish with feta cheese for a beautiful and flavorful side with almost no prep.
- 2 heirloom tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil (chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, optional) or chives
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
- Feta, about 1 ounce, broken into chunks
- Combine the ingredients except for the feta cheese and the tomatoes and let sit for the flavors to meld, at least while you are preparing the tomatoes and the feta.
- After removing the tough cores of the tomatoes, slice or wedge the heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a plate or bowl according to your preference. Place the feta on the salad.
- Taste the dressing, add salt if needed, then drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.
Serving size is approximate because heirloom tomatoes vary so much in size. This quantity (which was one half each of 4 medium to large tomatoes) was enough to serve 2, but if you planned it to be your main feature at a light meal, it could be a serving for one.
Keywords: heirloom tomatoes, tomato salad, easy salad, easy recipe, fresh produce, farm to table, summer salad, feta, vegan option
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