Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Avocado Cream

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I went a little crazy with my lunch yesterday. The rectangular dishes came out, my piping bags, the Vitamix, and I prepared myself quite the salad. The plating below was what I came up with the first time around, then I ate it, and took the dog for a walk. On the return loop, I realized that I’ve been plating all my dishes almost exactly the same. Uh, HELLO, circles. I had to do something different. So, I ran back home and took another go at this heirloom tomato concoction.

A bit of work went into this guy, so if you’re looking for a no-fuss salad, this isn’t it. I halved and pitted the cherries with a paring knife, then marinated them along with the onions in the vinaigrette. The avocado creme got whipped up in the Vitamix, the hazelnuts toasted, and then I painstakingly put it all together. For whatever reason, I was particularly inspired yesterday.

The tomatoes’ sunny, bright color and slightly sweet, sun-ripened flesh pair quite well with the sweet-tart sour cherries — or, nature’s sour patch kids, if you will. The hazelnuts give a nice, necessary crunch here and the avocado creme lends a luxurious, rich and creamy balance to the tart, acidic gingered balsamic. I had a field day with this one and, if you decide to give it a go, I think you will, too.

Further Food Nutritionist Commentary:

This is the salad to end all salads! Megan's creation is not only delicious, but it adds unlikely pairings to boost nutrient values. The salad base consists of tomatoes and sour cherries both of which posses anthocyanins, which gives them their red pigment. These compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of CVD and certain cancers thanks to the anti-oxidant properties. The dressing provides anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger which work to reduce nausea. The avocado cream may be my favorite part of this salad which house the avocados, hemp milk and limes. Avocados are boosting with potassium which help to control blood pressure. Hemp milk is a vegan alternative to cow's milk, made from hemp seeds and water, which contains all 9 essential amino acids! Limes, of course belong to the citrus family which reduce risk for vitamin C deficiencies like scurvy while boosting the immune system.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Avocado Cream

  • Prep Time:25 minutes
  • Cook Time:0 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the tomato salad:
2 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1/2 cup fresh sour cherries, halved and pit removed
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger juice
1/2 teaspoon clover honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

For the avocado creme:
1 avocado, peeled and pit removed
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsweetened hemp milk
1 tablespoon minced red onion
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro leaves, tightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the garnish:
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and roughly chopped
1/4 cup micro lemon basil (or standard-sized lemon basil leaves torn into bite sized pieces)
Sea salt flakes to taste, like Maldon

Instructions

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add the cherries and red onion. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.
2. In a Vitamix or high-powered blender, puree all the ingredients for the avocado creme. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the marinating cherries and onions and toss together.
4. Arrange the salad on a plate as you like. Drizzle with a bit of gingered balsamic, sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and a shower of lemon basil. Add a few dollops of avocado creme and a sprinkling of sea salt flakes to finish. Serve and scarf it down like it’s nobody’s business!

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add the cherries and red onion. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes. 2. In a Vitamix or high-powered blender, puree all the ingredients for the avocado creme. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 3. Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the marinating cherries and onions and toss together. 4. Arrange the salad on a plate as you like. Drizzle with a bit of gingered balsamic, sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and a shower of lemon basil. Add a few dollops of avocado creme and a sprinkling of sea salt flakes to finish. Serve and scarf it down like it’s nobody’s business!

Nutrition Information

Per Serving:  Calories: 430; Total Fat: 42 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 29 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 16 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 702 mg; Potassium: 338 mg; Carbohydrate: 11 g;  Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 5 g; Protein: 5 g
Nutrition Bonus:
Vitamin C: 17%; Iron: 11%; Calcium: 3%; Vit A: 6%;

 

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