Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Pleasing to the eye and palate, this Avocado and Roast Tomatoes Salad is also open to interpretations in term of what else you can add to it. To me, what makes this salad is the balsamic vinegar dressing; when I’m serving this as an accompaniment to a heavier main, I like to keep it simple, as it is here, perhaps with some crumbled cheese if I’m feeling especially greedy.
But you can make it substantial by adding some strawberries, slices of chicken, croutons, salad leaves, the list is endless.
And in the summer, when there are so many different types of tomatoes at hand, go crazy and get them all for a beautifully mixed salad, in terms of flavours and especially colour.
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
A “proper” Balsamic vinegar is an artisan product, made in Modena, Italy, from reduced grape juice, fermented, then left to mature for 12 years in barrels that get progressively smaller as the years go by. The real deal is always expensive and marked “tradizionale” and/or DOC, and is characterised by a deep and sweet flavour.
There are however, good quality cheaper options, “aceto balsamico di Modena” as opposed to “di tradizionale”. These aren’t matured as long, in fact, the minimum period is only 2 months, and they often have additional flavourings.
As mentioned, the first one is very expensive. The second, while more affordable, ranges from very good to not worth the bother in terms of quality and taste. So what does one do? If you can’t afford the real deal, get the best one you can afford of the “di Modena” version. I have both. I use the traditional one sparingly and the other one, which still costs me about £20 per small bottle, a little more generously.
The salad dressing can be made a day ahead if you leave the spring onions out. Add them an hour or so before serving.
Shall we get our aprons on?
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Avocado and Roast Tomatoes Salad
- 2 avocados
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- small handful basil leaves
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts optional
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar the cheaper option
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 spring onion finely sliced
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F.
- Place the tomatoes on a baking tray, sprinkle the olive oil all over, then using your hands, rub the oil all over the tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground black pepper all over.
- Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes, 12, if you don't want them too soft but I like the really soft stage.
- In the meantime, make the dressing by adding all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly, or in a jar and shake it up.
- Slice or chop the avocados up and place them on 4 plates. I like them in little pieces but sliced and arranged in a fan shape is prettier to look at!
- Divide the roasted tomatoes up amongst the 4 plates. Add any tomato juice from the roasting tray into the salad dressing and mix it all up again.
- Tear the basil leaves up into 2 or 3 pieces and scatter them all over the salad, followed by the pine nuts.
- Sprinkle the salad dressing liberally all over the salad and serve immediately.