Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salad

heirloom tomato & avocado chickpea salad / loveandlemons.com

This is the part where I get sad about the inevitable end of summer. Granted, my back-to-school days are long gone, and it’ll be another four months before I’ll have to so much as think about a sweater. The part I’m not ready to let go of is the bright colorful food. My eyes are not ready to adjust to the shade of pumpkin (as much as I love it)… just yet.

heirloom tomato & avocado chickpea salad / loveandlemons.com heirloom tomato & avocado chickpea salad / loveandlemons.com

Lately, I’ve been consuming these gorgeous Whole Foods heirloom tomatoes by the basket-full. They work well in this particular salad because each type is a little bit different. Some are more tart, some are more sweet… To bring out each flavor, I marinated them in my condiment of the moment – sherry vinegar. You could use balsamic, but I found the sherry vinegar not only keeps the colors vibrant, but it’s less-assertive flavor highlights the subtle nuances of each tomato.

You could make this a simple appetizer salad by adding just the avocado and some basil. To make it a meal, I added chickpeas, orzo, arugula, and pine nuts.

5.0 from 7 reviews

heirloom tomato, & avocado salad

Serves: serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side
  • about 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup uncooked whole wheat orzo
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a big handful of arugula
  • ½ cup chickpeas, cooked & drained
  • ½ large avocado, diced
  • juice of ½ a small lemon
  • handful of fresh basil
  • pine nuts
  • salt & pepper
  1. Chop the tomatoes into approx 1-inch pieces. Place in a bowl with a few tablespoons of sherry vinegar, a splash of olive oil, ½ a smashed garlic clove (remove it later), and a few pinches of salt & pepper. Let the tomatoes marinate at room temp (stirring occasionally), while you prep everything else. Taste and adjust seasonings as it sits.
  2. Cook the orzo in salted boiling water for 7-9 minutes or until al dente. While you're waiting for it, take a large bowl and rub the inside of it with the cut side of the other half of your garlic clove.
  3. Drain your orzo and place it (warm) into the bowl. Add a good glug of olive oil, then the arugula, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Dice your avocado and season it with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt.
  5. Place the orzo salad onto a serving plate (or just keep it in the same bowl).
  6. Take the tomatoes and drain out most of the liquid at the bottom of their bowl (this will keep your salad from becoming too watery). Find that smashed garlic clove and remove it. Place the tomatoes onto the salad with the diced avocado, basil and pine nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings one last time.
gluten free: sub out orzo for quinoa (adjust cooking method accordingly).


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  1. Helga

    So bright dish! Thank you! 🙂

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  3. I came back to this recipe today because we are making it for dinner tonight!! I’m very excited about it. Sadly our garden tomatoes are not ready for us yet, so I will be cheating and buying some at the grocery store. Side note – I love the glass bowl you’re using above to marinate the tomatoes. Do you mind sharing where you picked up that beauty?

    • jeanine

      I’m trying to remember – I think I got it at Target (about a year ago). It was a set of 2 (this smaller one fits inside a larger one). If I see them somewhere I’ll send you a link.

      • Thanks! I appreciate it. Also – this will be my first time cooking orzo, and I’m a little worried that I might overcook it or something. Am I overthinking this?

        • jeanine

          I taste a few at the 7 minute mark, if it’s still crunchy I wait a little longer but I definitely pull it out al dente. But don’t overthink it – I’ve never really messed it up, even if I wasn’t watching carefully.

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  7. Shannon

    My husband and I just had this for dinner—it was unbelievable! In fact, we’ve tried many of your recipes and have yet to find one we don’t absolutely love. Thank you both! This couple is enjoying some amazing food because of you. 🙂

  8. Hi Jeanine,

    This looks delicious and a great way to use up late summer produce. I’m wondering – what are your thoughts on making it in advance? I started a new job and I’m looking for make-ahead lunch recipes. Thanks!

    • jeanine

      Hi Sophie – I would just hold off slicing the avocado until you’re ready to eat (or at least slice it in the morning before you leave).

  9. My eyes really are ready to adjust to any and all shades of pumpkin! But, in the meantime, this pretty little salad makes a bit more summer a pretty good consolation.
    -Emily K.

  10. I can picture coming back from a nice evening stroll for this fabulous dinner salad. Gorgeous and delicious. I tried to grow some heirloom tomatoes this year but they failed big time. Maybe next year?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.