Lemon Tahini Tomato Salad
There’s NOTHING that excites a healthy foodie more than all the delicious farm produce available in summer!
Hello gorgeous tomatoes!
I love the combination of tomatoes with my favorite condiment tahini in this recipe. I didn’t like tomatoes as a child (what?!), even though my grandmother grew vine-ripened sweet tomatoes on her farm in Ohio. And I didn’t discover tahini until a few years ago, when I tasted its delightful grounding, nutty taste. The citrus of lemon and and lightness of tomatoes in this recipe really lets this star shine.
Tomatoes: your source of Lycopene
Tomatoes are really a fruit because of their seeds, but I personally consider them to be more of a vegetable. Why should you love tomatoes and include them in your anti-inflammatory diet? The answer is lycopene!
Here’s a bit on lycopene:
· Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid found in tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, papayas, asparagus and parsley.
· Lycopene is a precursor to beta-carotene which is helpful for cell turnover and damage to cells from the sun.
· In order to absorb lycopene, we need to eat it with fat (hello, tahini!).
· Lycopene in tomatoes increases as the fruit ripens, so don’t buy anemic tomatoes in mid-winter!
· Surprisingly, lycopene content is also increased the more the tomato is cooked, so it’s important to include cooked tomatoes in your diet too. (Try my Gigantes recipe!)
Tahini: my favorite condiment
Most of us are familiar with tahini because it’s an important ingredient in hummus, but let the mighty sesame seed rock your world!
Why tahini is amazing:
· Tahini is nutrient-dense healthy fat, meaning a little goes a long way. Just a teaspoon is enough to garner the benefit of B vitamins that boost energy and concentration and Vitamin E, a potent anti-oxidant which protects against free radical damage and cardiovascular disease. (And getting Vitamin E from your food is a much better idea than taking Vitamin E supplements.)
· Tahini (and sesame seeds) are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory powerhouses that help with lowering triglycerides, the type of cholesterol associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity.
· Sesame is also important for menstrual health, especially in the luteal (post-ovulation) phase. Curious about this? Learn more about Seed Cycling.
· Consider buying Mighty Sesame brand tahini – it comes in a squeeze bottle that makes it super easy to use! (I store upside-down in the fridge.)
And without further adieu, here is the recipe!
6 – 8 ripe organic medium-large heirloom tomatoes (or any combination of small and large tomtoes to equal about 8 cups)
½ cup well-stirred tahini
1 large or 2 small organic lemons, zested and juiced
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning or ¼ cup fresh oregano/parsley/basil/thyme minced
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Put tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper, and ¼ cup water into food processor. Add more water as needed to make it the thickness of cream – easy to drizzle but still holds its shape.)
2. Cut tomatoes into wedges if large and in halves or quarters if small. Place on platter in artistic way.
3. Drizzle lemon tahini dressing on tomatoes. Top with herbs/seasoning and salt & pepper to taste.
P.S. Love the wood cutting board in the top photograph of the tomatoes? My husband makes them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in a custom order!