I am one of those people who gets excited with the sight of beautiful food. Take the tomato. For as long as I can remember this vegetable (actually botanically a fruit, but considered a vegetable by nutritionists) has been a favorite. I can’t be sure, but I believe my tomato love affair began when I tasted either one of my grandmother’s homegrown tomatoes, she had a big country garden in Wisconsin. Or maybe, it was from my father’s garden, and my mother made me the most delicious classic BLT. Whenever I had that first tomato moment, it has been reinforced with every tomato season when I visit my local farmers’ markets. I am inspired by all the beautiful varieties of tomatoes; the colors, sizes, and of course, the varying flavor nuances.
Tomato season is happening now in the United States. Do not let the season pass you by without getting your fair share of all the tasty, juicy tomatoes at their peak flavor.
Need some ideas once you have your fair share of seasonal tomatoes? Of course, there is a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich (BLT), so classic. Or a simple platter of sliced tomatoes with mozzarella, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil leaves, so Italian. Why not just snacking on a handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, they are better than candy, so easy. Or an Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Quinoa, this salad makes a great vegetarian lunch or dinner. So you aren’t vegetarian, feel free to add chicken, salmon or shrimp, so healthy.
A healthy, vegetarian salad for either lunch or dinner to enjoy the seasonal tomato harvest at its best.
- 1 lemon, grated zest plus 2 tablespoons of juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- coarse kosher sea salt
- red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, mixed colors, halved
- 4 cups arugula, torn into 1-inch pieces
- nonvegetarian option to add sliced chicken breast, salmon, or shrimp
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, oil, and parsley, salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and mix. Let stand for at least 15-30 minutes.
In a large wide salad bowl, combine the almonds, quinoa, scallions, tomatoes, and arugula. Gently mix. Add the chickpeas with the marinade and gently toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve.