A tomato salad is not just for summer, anytime is the perfect time for this delicious dish.
The tomato is of course a wonderfully flexible fruit, loved the world over.
Yes, tomatoes are actually fruits that are often considered vegetables by nutritionists.
Some will say they are both, and that no other fruit/vegetable crosses that line so well.
However you place the tomato, fruit or veg, this tomato salad recipe is lovely and you will be pleased.
More About Tomatoes
Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely considered a fruit, technically a berry.
First appearing in South and Central America, the word tomato originated from the Aztec word for the plant.
The Aztecs ate and cooked with tomatoes at the time they were conquered by the Spanish conquistadors, so it was a dark time for the Aztecs and their cooking!
But lucky everyone else around the world.
It was the Spanish who brought the tomato to Europe, where it was further introduced to other parts of the world.
What Makes this Salad Different?
Fruit or vegetable tomatoes make a great salad, and this recipe is no exception.
Many salads with tomatoes will often use balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and even white wine vinegar as a base.
Typical Western flavors for that thinly sliced tomato salad; even better with fresh mozzarella, and fresh herbs.
And there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with those flavors, I love them all.
This salad is a new and delicious take using some typical Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors.
Instead of a vinegar as a base for the dressing, this recipe calls for pomegranate molasses.
Which is essentially pomegranate juice that has been boiled down to create a syrup.
The origins of which were probably developed as a way to preserve pomegranates, and that flavor.
Ground sumac, along with pomegranate seeds and extra virgin olive oil round this salad out.
How to Make Tomato Salad
I like using cherry tomatoes, however larger garden tomatoes, sliced into bite sizes will work too.
Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and add them to a large bowl.
Add the sumac and salt and pepper, along with the olive oil, molasses, mint, and pomegranate seeds.
If you prefer fresh basil over the mint then by all means use the basil instead.
Another addition that is optional, but makes a nice difference, is to add half a sliced red onion.
This makes for both a beautiful and very tasty side dish.
More About the Ingredients
Pomegranate molasses is a big part of the flavor palate in foods from the Middle East.
It has the consistency of balsamic vinegar with an intense sweet and sour flavor, but still syrupy.
Used in a lot of different dishes from the Levant, providing them with a bit of a zing, bringing them to life.
It is a definite must have ingredient in your Middle Eastern kitchen pantry, allowing you to add a unique depth of flavor to your food.
The pomegranate itself is very popular in all its forms in the Middle East, and the seeds are included in this salad.
Peeling, and eating the seeds, or arils as they are known, gives you that lovely sweet juice.
Sumac is another popular spice used widely in the Arab world.
Sumac is a ground dried berry used to provide a bold lemony, tart flavor to any recipe.
The sumac goes really well with the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes.
The Romans used it widely and touted the health benefits highlighting its antiseptic qualities.
And then it turns out that pomegranates can cure stomach disorders, reduce heart problems, and prevent cancer.
As well as providing dental protection, preventing osteoarthritis, treating anemia, controlling diabetes, and even preventing erectile dysfunction!
And if that’s not enough, the Ancient Egyptians used pomegranates to get rid of tapeworms, and to ward off infections.
Maybe we should be eating this salad primarily for the pomegranates and molasses!
More About Salad
Salad itself is such a delightful way to eat all those vegetables we all need in our diets.
Ancient Persians ate greens with dressing, and over time, other things wandered in.
In the Middle East salads are a central part of most meals, and almost always on the table.
In fact in many restaurants all kinds of salad vegetables are served while you wait for your mezze.
Kind of like a deconstructed salad.
Stick to the recipe or put your favorite things in to complement what you already have.
- 2 lbs Tomatoes chopped
- 1 tsp Sumac ground
- 2 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Mint chopped
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper ground
- ¼ Pomegranate seeded
- Add all ingredients to salad bowl and mix thoroughly.