This Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata is one of the easiest, most impressive dishes of the summer! It's restaurant-quality and company perfect while being a no-fuss, 15 minute or less recipe thanks to juicy, showy heirloom tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese. The bonus is that is goes with just about everything from crusty bread (for sopping up those delicious juices) to grilled meats!
We look forward to summer-fresh tomatoes all year long! Whether they are from your garden or the farmer's market, they are one of our favorite things about the summer season. Some of our other favorite tomato recipes are Southern Tomato Pie, Caprese Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Easy Tomato Basil Bruschetta.
If you have never tried heirloom tomatoes, you are in for a real treat! Not only are they gorgeous orbs coming in all colors, shapes, and sizes from yellow to green to red and brown, they also have a wonderfully complex, rich flavor that makes them perfect for showcasing in their fresh, natural state with very little extra preparation.
Hence this delightfully simple but sophisticated heirloom tomato salad! It's bursting with summer goodness and honestly so satisfying that we have been known to make a meal of just this salad, served family style on a large platter, with plenty of crusty bread on the side.
If you can't find burrata cheese, the salad is delicious on it's own without it or with another soft cheese like feta or goat cheese instead. But burrata is incredible stuff and it's worth the extra effort to locate it, usually in the deli section, at your local grocery store.
What are heirloom tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes are often lumpy, multi-colored tomatoes that are noticeably different from the round, uniformly red tomatoes you see the rest of the year round. Their name isn't just a marketing ploy; it's actually descriptive of what they actually are, which is an heirloom variety of tomato that hasn't been cross-bread or modified for more than 40 years.
The flavor of heirloom tomatoes tends to be much more intense than regular tomatoes, which sometimes seem watery and just not as spectacular when eaten side-by-side. Granted, each variety of heirloom tomato has it's own unique taste and texture, so you might want to get a few different kinds to learn which you like best.
- Heirloom tomatoes: You can use any heirloom tomatoes you like - there are dozens of varieties and I don't pretend to know the names and differences between them all. Personally, I like to go for a mix of colors and flavors, changing it up every time. The brown ones tend to be my personal favorites, although you really can't go wrong.
- Fresh basil: If the leaves are small, just pluck them off the stem whole and sprinkle them over the salad. If they are large, you may want to stack them, then roll into a cigar and thinly slice them into ribbons (a technique known as "chiffonade").
- Burrata cheese: This glorious cheese is closely related to fresh mozzarella, but it's softer, creamier, and sweeter. It comes in a ball in a tub of water and can be found in the deli section of most stores.
- Red onion & garlic: These are lesser players in this dish but add a wonderful bite to the salad.
- Oil & vinegar: This is as basic as dressing a salad gets so be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar to dress the salad. It accents and complements the flavor of the fabulous heirloom tomatoes.
- Salt & pepper: As wonderful as your tomatoes will be on their own, they will benefit from a sprinkling of coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pro Tip: Always store your heirloom tomatoes on the counter at room temperature rather than in the fridge for the best flavor and juiciest texture.
How to Make Heirloom Tomato Salad
To make this easy summer side dish, start by washing your heirloom tomatoes well. Use a sharp knife to slice them into wedges and arrange them on a large serving plate. They don't need to be in a single layer, but you don't want to pile them too deep or you lose the impact of the dish.
Sprinkle thinly sliced red onions and basil leaves over the tomatoes, then top with either an entire ball of burrata, which can be divided as people serve themselves scoops of the salad, or tear the burrata into pieces and arrange them around the top of the tomatoes.
Drizzle everything with the olive oil and vinegar, then season them with the kosher salt and ground pepper. This dish is best when served within 30-60 minutes of assembling and tastes best served at room temperature.
- This salad is best enjoyed immediately as the leftovers don't keep very well in the fridge. If you are planning to take this to a cookout or other event, I recommend keeping all of the components in separate containers, then plating and dressing just before serving at your event. The most time consuming part is just slicing the vegetables, so it's not really a problem to assemble in under 5 minutes away from home.
- Use the best quality olive oil you have access too. With very few ingredients, the quality really comes to play an important role so you want a nice olive oil for the best flavor.
More Summer Side Dish Recipes
- Fried Yellow Squash
- Corn Fritters
- Zucchini Salad
- Homemade Basil Pesto
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Summer Fruit Salad
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Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata
- 4 medium heirloom tomatoes anywhere from 1-2 pounds
- 1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 20-25 small fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces fresh burrata cheese ball
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Wash and slice the heirloom tomatoes into wedges. Arrange them in a shallow layer on a serving platter. Slice the smaller cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle them around the heirloom tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the thinly sliced red onion, minced garlic, and basil leaves over the tomatoes.
- Tear or cut the burrata with a serrated knife into pieces and arrange them around the top of the tomatoes.
- Drizzle everything with the olive oil and vinegar, then season with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
- Vinegar substitute: Feel free to sub lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar.
- Seasoning: If you want even more seasoning, you might try adding 1-2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, which is a blend of rosemary, basil, thyme, and oregano, although I really think the heirloom tomatoes really do best on their own most of the time.
- Herbs: Other fresh herbs that would be good in place of the basil are fresh dill, thyme, or even mint.
- Cheese: Burrata makes this salad feel extra special and fancy, but you could also use feta, goat cheese, or other soft cheeses instead. Small fresh mozzarella balls would also be tasty.
- Other variations: Sliced cucumbers are another popular pairing with fresh tomatoes and would be wonderful in this salad. There's a saying "what grows together, goes together" and that certainly applies here.
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