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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dice your avocado and season it with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt.
- Place the orzo salad onto a serving plate (or just keep it in the same bowl).
- 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.