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 2 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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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com

    This! This is what I need to do with my increasingly large tomato harvest. 🙂 Such a perfect & delicious lunch salad.

  2. I know exactly what I mean. Just this morning I was thinking how much I’m going to miss all of the fresh berries and vegetables once the growing season is over. This salad is such a beautiful way to highlight tomatoes!

  3. I’ve actually never tried heirloom tomatoes – gasp! I didn’t used to be a fan of tomatoes, but I’ve been loving lately. Funny how tastes change. Anyway, this recipe looks like a great way to try the heirlooms.

  4. I love the simplicity of this salad. Heirloom tomatoes remind me of strolling through a farmer’s market on a fall day and this recipe just transported me there.

  5. Yum, this looks so so amazing. I shared a similar salad a couple weeks ago but I love the addition of orzo to yours. Of course, your photos look delectable, too!

    • jeanine

      I know, the day I saw your instagram of it I was looking at nearly the exact same thing on my plate, prepping for this post. Funny how those things happen 🙂

  6. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com

    I too am so sad to see the summer produce go. It truly is some of the best food!! I love this bright and beautiful salad. Heirlooms are amazing!

  7. This looks gorgeous, I adore orzo, it is the perfect pasta shape for pasta salad. I know you’re sad to see the summer produce go, but I’m the in the southern hemisphere, and I can’t wait for it!

  8. Athena from whiskersandlions.blogspot.com

    I just stumbled on your blog and couldn’t leave without leaving a comment. What a beautiful blog you’ve created; all your recipes look mouthwatering! I’ll definitely add you to my daily feed of blogs x

    • Athena from whiskersandlions.blogspot.com

      I would also love to know which camera you use? I couldn’t find a FAQ section so I hope you don’t get this question too often!

      • jeanine

        thanks Athena, & welcome! :). We use a Canon 5D.

  9. kayla from kaylakopke.com

    When I saw this post at the end of the workday yesterday, I knew I had to make it for dinner. I went straight to the store, straight home, and made it. I LOVED IT! It was perfect. Unfortunately I had no one to share it with, but that just means MORE FOR ME! Your recipes just fit in so perfectly with my life, it is uncanny.

    • jeanine

      yay, that makes me so happy to hear 🙂

  10. I’m in love with heirloom tomatoes. They are so meaty and delicious. This salad looks perfect for end of summer.

  11. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com

    I, too, dread the inevitable end of summer…fretting that I haven’t done enough summery things, eaten enough summery food…Tomatoes are a wonderful last call.

  12. Such a gorgeous dish! Beautiful colours 🙂
    P.S. Just discovered your blog … and I’m never leaving! x

  13. Any salad with fresh tomatos and avocado is a winner in my book 😉 Great recipe dear!

  14. Amanda from easylittletiger.com

    Yummmmmm. I’ve been eating heirloom tomato sandwiches for breakfast almost every day for the last two weeks. Best way to start a morning! This salad looks delicious.

  15. Claudia from buenprovechoblog.blogspot.com

    I just went to Whole Foods today and noticed the heirloom tomatoes, but didn’t pick any up! What’s wrong with me?! Now I have excuse to go back 🙂

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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. 🙂

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  23. 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.

  24. Helga

    So bright dish! Thank you! 🙂

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.