Tomatoes are most ripe around summer. Tomatoes, nutritious fruit commonly used as vegetables in most salads, were discovered by the Mayans. The tomato is native to central America and was cultivated by the Aztecs centuries before it was introduced to the world by Spain. This vegetable is also known for its its incredible phyto-chemical properties. Red tomatoes are the most popular tomato but they also come in other colors, such as yellow, orange, pink, purple, green, and white. Tomatoes are are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Because of their antioxidants, dieticians and nutritionists often recommend them to be included in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. Tomatoes are also rich in flavonoids found in vitamin A which is known to help protect from lung and oral cancer. Additionally, they are a good source of vitamins C which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. Like potatoes and bananas, tomatoes are very rich in potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control elevated heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium. When making this recipe, I normally add fresh basil, an herb that’s commonly used in Italian dishes. Aside for the crunchiness, I use white onions in most of my salads because its not as bitter or sharp as other onions. You can leave the onions out if you prefer. This salad can be served with pasta, chicken, mozzarella cheese slices or broccoli. If you want to be creative, you can use the leftovers as toppings for your pizza in lieu of tomato sauce. I tried it before and the results are just as scrumptious but healthier. For this salad, you will need:
- 4-5 ripe plum tomatoes sliced
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil chopped and minced
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper for taste
Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss. Chill for an hour allowing the flavors to integrate before serving.