This sublimely summer heirloom tomato watermelon basil salad combines three of my favorites summer treats – watermelon, fresh basil from my garden, and tomatoes…
I’m a sucker for heirloom tomatoes. They always catch my eye at the market and they’re always so delicious. Topped with burrata cheese, good olive oil, and some salt and pepper? Maybe a piece of delicious bread. Mm, mm, mmm; I’m in heaven!
Since I try not to eat too much cheese, however, I have to find other ways to enjoy all these summer goodies (besides drying fresh basil and just consuming watermelon out of a bowl with my son).
Tomato Watermelon Basil Salad
This recipe is really straightforward and can be made last minute, which is always a plus (especially in the summer when I can’t seem to think too far ahead for food). And I’ve actually been whipping it up for lunch recently.
I LOVE that tomatoes and watermelon are two fruits (yes, they’re both fruits) that don’t take time to ripen. You can buy both of them at the market and enjoy them right when you get home.
It’s because of this fact that this salad is a bit of a default for weeknight dinners and any occasion where I’m in charge of bring the salad to someone else’s place!
Now that I know how to store tomatoes to last longer too, I’m all over having the recipe on hand (memorized by now)!
Also – a quick note – you can use any kind of tomato in this dish. I prefer heirloom and/or cherry tomatoes, but every type would work!
Most recipes for tomato watermelon basil salad have cheese (often feta). While my watermelon arugula salad calls for feta and I think the combination is quite delicious, I just don’t think this salad needs it.
I’m a big proponent of seasonal eating (hence the sustainable cookbook of spring & summer recipes). If it’s tomato season and it’s watermelon season, then it’s actually also basil season, AND these flavors need no help in being delicious.
Honestly. The tomato watermelon mixture becomes a salad with the simple addition of delicious olive oil, a tad of vinegar (it’s easy to over do this, so be sure to measure), and some salt and pepper…that’s all you need. Trust me on this one and save the feta for this Greek cornbread recipe!
What does Heirloom Tomato Mean?
Heirloom tomatoes (all heirloom produce actually) are grown from seeds that haven’t been altered, modified, or cross-breeded in at least 50 years.
While many seeds are altered for a number of reasons (shelf-life, color, etc.), heirloom seeds are not – and they often have the best flavor because of it!
There are actually heirloom watermelon varieties as well, but they aren’t too common.
Why does Basil Brown?
I love topping this watermelon salad with basil and even pine nuts because it makes it a little more savory – not so sweet. The combination of basil and pine nuts gives a nice pesto flavor occasionally, which is nice.
I always try to multitask while cooking, chopping the garnish while things are cooking, which means I easily forget how delicate basil is until it’s all chopped up.
Once cut, basil leaves start to blacken (I’m supposing oxidation and science are involved here!), so remember not to cut your basil until just before serving or, when making pesto, just before adding it to the blender!
SPRING & SUMMER COOKBOOK
DELICIOUS RECIPES TO ENJOY SPRING & SUMMER PRODUCE TO ITS FULLEST. SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS RECIPES MADE FROM SCRATCH FOR YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR GUESTS ALL SUMMER LONG!
If you’re hoping to do a little bit make-ahead here, you can certainly cut the watermelon and tomatoes ahead of time as well as make up the dressing (but keep it separate). If you’re prepping just a couple of hours before serving, you can easily combine the watermelon and tomatoes.
More than just a couple hours, I’d recommend cutting them and storing them separately. The tomatoes will need to be laid flat on a dish or they’ll quickly start to lose their shape.
More Summer Recipes
Want more deliciousness? Check out these summer salads!
Summer produce offers tons of tasty sipping options as well. For non-alcoholic beverages, try this fresh peach lemonade, cucumber lemonade (and this cucumber juice while you’re at it), and healthy iced tea ideas, including this lavender iced tea!
For some adult sips, the summer sangria route will never disappoint… Our favorites include plum sangria, cantaloupe sangria, strawberry sangria, nectarine sparkling rose sangria, cherry sangria, and watermelon sangria!
WATERMELON BASIL SALAD
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes* sliced ¾″
- 4 Cups 1″ watermelon pieces
- 10 oz. baby heirloom tomatoes* halved
- 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- flaked sea salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- fresh basil
- Layer tomato slices on bottom of serving dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine watermelon and halved baby tomatoes. Layer over tomato slices.
- In mixing bowl, quickly whisk olive oil and vinegar. Drizzle over salad.
- Top with salt and pepper to taste. Julienne basil just before serving. Garnish with basil.