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Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

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  • 8 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty bread
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup currant or grape tomatoes or halved cherry or pear tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 10 medium heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled blue cheese

Recipe Preparation

  • Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rub bread with cut garlic halves; brush bread with 3 tablespoons oil. Combine remaining 1/3 cup oil, currant tomatoes, and green onions in medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Overlap tomato slices in concentric circles on platter, alternating colors. Scatter onion and celery slices over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato and green onion mixture over. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.

  • Grill bread until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Cut each slice diagonally in half; serve with salad.

Recipe by Michele Anna Jordan,Reviews Section

To understand what makes heirloom tomatoes so distinct from what you can find at the grocery store, let&aposs first go over a little plant breeding 101:

What Are Hybrid Tomatoes?

Hybrid tomatoes are the product of intentional cross-breeding — not to be confused with naturally occurring cross-pollination (the process in which two sexually compatible plants happen to cross when the pollen is carried by wind, water, etc., and fertilizes another member of the same plant species). 

Cross-breeding, or cross-hybridization, occurs when plant breeders intentionally cross-pollinate two or more varieties of a plant to produce an offspring with the best traits of each parent. This process has been used for centuries, and it&aposs how we get hybrid tomatoes, which make up the bulk of the tomatoes you&aposll find at the supermarket. Cross-breeding can create tomatoes that are more resistant to disease, have longer shelf-lives, better yields, bigger size, and more. 

Hybrids are not to be confused with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which involve greater precision and human intervention. According to Purdue University, GMOs are created by taking a single gene (or a set of genes), and inserting it into the DNA of a single cell of an organism. As the cell divides, that gene will be in every cell (though the majority of the organism&aposs genetic code remains the same).

Tomato Blue Cheese Salad

Tomatoes and blue cheese are a match made in heaven in this simple summer tomato blue cheese salad! Hurray for fresh local tomato season!

Hello, you gorgeous local heirloom tomatoes, you. We’ve been patiently waiting for you all year long. We know we could be eating those cousins of yours in the supermarket, but honestly? They can’t hold a candle to your sweet, rich, local tomato-y goodness.

So for this short but wonderful time while you are around, we are going to think up every single way we can to work you into our dinner plans. Such as this quick and wonderful tomato and blue cheese salad!

Here’s where I make my annual plea for you NOT to pass up that table of heirloom tomatoes at your local farmer’s market. Yes I know, they are lumpy and all kinds of funny colors and more expensive, but that’s because they are The Most Delicious Tomatoes On Earth.

Slice a couple of them up and lay them on a plate. Now whirl up a batch of homemade blue cheese dressing, which is as easy as pie to make and tastes approximately one million times better than that stuff in the bottle. Whenever I have any leftover blue cheese, homemade blue cheese dressing is in our future.

Now drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes, scatter on a few blue cheese crumbles and some chopped chives, get yourself a knife and fork and dig in. Sweet and salty summertime goodness. Give Heirlooms A Chance!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese, Apple and Pine Nuts

Can we discuss flavors and textures and how they magically combine? The soft and juicy, crunchy and crispy, tangy and sweet, creamy and salty just mmmm together in your mouth. Tomatoes, fruit, nuts, vinegar, cheese, fantastic. If you feel that treating the tomato slices like a tortilla and folding the pine nuts, blue cheese and apple all up in it like a taco is a good method for consumption, you just go right ahead and do so. I did. Oh please, that’s malarkey, nobody does that!

The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar which is just not nearly enough for my vinegar-loving taste. So minus the figs, add in the apple, plus two additional tablespoons of balsamic and we have one heirloomy plate of goooood! I have to give NYT credit – I’d be willing to bet the figs would take this recipe to soaring heights. So if the stolen figs are anywhere close to you, make the recipe with figs if not, a nice crisp fugi will do ya.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese, Apple and Pine Nuts

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 Fugi apple, chopped in ½” chunks
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 to 2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch dried parsley leaves
30 Wonderful Winter Sparklers

Lay the sliced tomatoes on a large serving plate. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium high heat until golden brown, about three minutes. Sprinkle pine nuts on top of the tomato slices along with the hunks of apple and blue cheese crumbles. In a bowl, whisk together the oil and balsamic vinegar until well combined. Drizzle the oil/vinegar over the tomato slices (you may have some leftover oil and vinegar, which you can use for salad dressing later). Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper over the sliced tomatoes to taste and garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

As a fitness and nutrition enthusiast, Julia writes a food blog called The Roasted Root, where she share recipes that are mostly vegetable and meat based along with stories of her travels and day-to-day activities. Julia loves enjoying fresh home cooked meals with her friends and family, and the process of developing recipes, photographing, and sharing them.

Reader Interactions


September 14, 2017 at 7:53 pm

This looks Divine! There’s nothing like fresh summer tomatoes from the garden. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

October 12, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Thank you! It really truly is a tasty, tasty salad

September 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

I’m thinking those fried shallots would also be excellent with green beans sauteed in butter with a touch of garlic, too! Green beans are coming out of our ears right now! Your garden exploded with tomatoes… ours with green beans!
This recipe looks absolutely delish!! Looking forward to making this! Thanks for another great recipe, Coley!

October 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm

The fried shallots are great on just about anything! You have green beans coming our of your ears and I have cucumbers. We should make a trade!

September 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm

What a fun way to use up those last few tomatoes. I bet my family will love this! Such a fun twist!

October 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Thank you! It is such a delicious salad. Hope you give it a try!

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Red, orange, green, and maybe purple. Stripey or solid, some with lumps others with creases. There’s only one beautiful fruit we could be talking about: heirloom tomatoes.

With a dizzying array of colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors, heirloom tomatoes are unlike any other tomato you’ve had before. And when you combine a variety of sliced heirloom tomatoes on a plate, they create a gorgeous display that’s almost too pretty to eat.

Whether you like them in salads, pasta, a tart, or simply dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, here are some must-try recipes meant for the incredible bounty of heirloom goodness.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Smoked Blue Cheese

Sweet heirloom tomatoes are paired with crunchy walnuts and salty blue cheese to create this elegant salad.

Along with the aforementioned ingredients, salt, pepper, fresh dill, and fresh parsley are added for a dash of flavor and herbiness.

After the tomatoes are arranged to your liking, the whole salad is topped off with a simple homemade dressing.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Sweet and simple, this Caprese salad lets the heirloom tomatoes be the star of the show.

Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are cut into 1/4-inch slices before being arranged together onto a serving plate.

The whole plate is then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped off with fresh salt and pepper.

Heirloom Tomato Flatbread with Fried Basil

Consider this heirloom tomato flatbread to be a healthy twist on those Italian pizza flavors you love.

In this simple recipe, flatbread is lightly broiled before being topped with burrata cheese and heirloom tomato slices.

The flatbread is finished off with a drizzle of olive oil and a topping of lightly fried basil leaves.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Simple Heirloom Tomato Salad

Though heirloom tomatoes are served mostly as a topping to this recipe, they’re integral to the overall flavor of the dish.

In this recipe, chicken cutlets are dredged through flour and an egg wash before being pressed into crushed pistachios.

Once they’re fried up, they’re topped with a simple salad of heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Though it may be hot soup season now, but when the sun peeks out, consider trying out this gazpacho!

Heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, bell pepper, and a variety of spices are all blended up to create this flavorful veggie-forward cool soup.

Top it all off with extra chopped veggies and a sprig of basil.

Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

Vegan-friendly and the perfect combination of savory-sweet, these tomato tarte tatins are a great way to celebrate heirloom tomatoes!

A simple tart dough is filled with basil, shallots, garlic, and of course, heirloom tomatoes.

Serve these at your next brunch alongside some seasonal fruit and your favorite breakfast protein.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Charred Corn & Pepper Salsa

Here’s another salad, but this time charred corn and roasted red peppers make for a spicy complement to sweet tomatoes.

Tomatoes are tossed with salt and a bit of vinegar to balance out their sweetness before being topped with the charred corn and pepper salsa.

Finish off your salad with queso fresco for saltiness and Aleppo pepper for a spicy kick.

Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomatoes, Olives & Basil

A classic way to enjoy the flavor of tomatoes is in a simple bruschetta!

Tomatoes, olives, balsamic vinegar, basil, oil, salt, and pepper are tossed together to create the perfect topping for slices of crunchy baguette.

Serve your bruschetta as an appetizer to a larger Italian meal, or enjoy it as a standalone snack.

Warm Gnocchi & Heirloom Tomato Salad

A light, simple meal for a busy weeknight, this warm gnocchi and heirloom tomato salad comes together in about half-an-hour and calls for just a handful of ingredients.

Gnocchi is boiled and then lightly cooked in an oiled skillet before being sautéed with garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

It’s all finished with some fresh basil, baby arugula, and grated Pecorino cheese. Enjoy this meal as-is or serve it alongside some grilled chicken for a well-rounded meal.

Heirloom Tomato Lentil Tabouli

A simple, flavorful, and healthy salad, this zesty heirloom tomato lentil tabouli is perfect for a quick lunch or as a side dish to dinner.

All you have to do is toss cooked lentils, tomatoes, parsley, mint, red onion, garlic, and in a bowl, and you’ve got a simple side dish packed full of flavor.

Top it all off with a sprig of fresh mint for a little flair.

Heirloom Tomato, Basil & Manchego Toast

An easy way to savor heirloom tomatoes, this toast is a simple combination of butter, garlic, manchego cheese, heirloom tomatoes, basil, and flaky sea salt.

Enjoy this toast as a midday snack or serve it at your next brunch.

One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Heirloom Tomato & Shallot Confit

Though this simple meal calls for just a few ingredients and can be cooked in one pan, it’s quite elegant and is a delicious way to enjoy pork tenderloin.

Pork tenderloin is quickly seared before being combined with shallots and garlic. Tomatoes and raisins are then added to the mix to provide a sweet component for the pork.

Serve your pork sliced on the bed of tomato confit with your favorite greens on the side.

Heirloom BLT Salad (with Coconut Bacon!)

Classic BLT, but make it a salad, and vegetarian-friendly with homemade coconut bacon!

In this salad recipe, kale, heirloom tomatoes, and homemade croutons are combined with DIY bacon-flavored coconut flakes to create a BLT-inspired salad.

Top it all off with a homemade lemon-tahini dressing for a punch of zestiness.

More Heirloom Tomato Recipes

    from Half Baked Harvest from Feasting at Home from Smitten Kitchen from EatingWell from Forks Over Knives from Bob’s Red Mill from Edible Seattle
By: Leigha

Leigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 medium-sized red beets
  • 2 medium-sized golden beets
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Trim roots and stems from beets. Pierce beets with a fork, and wrap in foil. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool peel beets and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Combine chives and next 6 ingredients (through mustard) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine cherry tomatoes and about 5 teaspoons mustard mixture toss to coat. Divide sliced beets and sliced tomatoes evenly among 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with about 3 teaspoons remaining mustard mixture. Top each serving evenly with cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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