When it comes to food, I’m a purist. I love cooking from scratch, and I use fresh organic ingredients whenever possible. I developed this Heirloom Israeli Salad recipe last summer, when the produce section was teeming with organic heirloom tomatoes. I modified it recently, adding pitted kalamata olives for saltiness. It’s a simple dish with lots of color and crunch.
The motto of this salad is keep it simple… a few natural flavors are all you need to create a dish that is bursting with flavor. Don’t leave out the sugar, honey or agave, it adds just a touch of sweetness that brings the whole salad together. If you’re on a no-sugar diet, you can use the equivalent sweetener of your choice.
Heirloom tomatoes are a colorful and flavorful alternative to red tomatoes. Summer is the season for tomatoes, but here in Southern California heirlooms are available year-round. If you aren’t familiar with the different heirloom varieties available, ask your grocer to help you identify how they differ in flavor and texture. For this salad, I prefer using organic heirlooms with firmer flesh, like Golden Jubilees or Brandywines. Soft or pulpy tomatoes tend to make the salad mushy. There are literally hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, so feel free to experiment and find the flavor combination that works for you!
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Heirloom Israeli Salad
- 1 pound Persian cucumbers, diced
- 1 pound ripe (but not mushy) heirloom tomatoes-- any color combination, diced
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar
- Salt to taste
- Combine the cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, kalamata olives and flat leaf parlsey in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and sugar or agave nectar.
- Pour the dressing over the salad. Mix till ingredients are well combined. Add salt and more lemon juice to taste, if desired.
- Serve chilled.