Vinny has been remiss! That means he’s made a big mistake, has been careless, or both. For although he has featured tomatoes in many posts, especially those where he is extolling the virtues of a bunch of super foods, he’s never devoted a post solely to these delicious vegetables… er, fruits, actually.
Recently, though, we were invited to a summer dinner party where tomato salad was the star. To my mind, it earned the “most delicious dish on the table” medal… which was quite a feat seeing as everything on the table tasted wonderful and was beautifully presented.
The hostess kindly shared her recipe with me, but before we go there, I want to salute the tomato.
Of all the plant compounds found in tomatoes, lycopene is the one to look out for. This compound is linked to better heart health, reduced cancer risk, and healthy skin, including increased resistance to sunburn!
Lycopene is the most abundant nutrient in the ripened tomato and is found in the highest amount in the skin.
The redder the tomato, the more lycopene it has.
Cooking increases the amount of lycopene in the tomatoes. Ketchup, tomato juice, and tomato-based sauces are thus the richest dietary sources of lycopene going. They provide more than 80% of dietary lycopene in the U.S.
Other foods affect how well your digestive system absorbs the tomato’s lycopene. Eating some healthy fats along with tomatoes increases absorption of lycopene by up to 4 times.
Even though processed tomato products are higher in lycopene, fresh, whole tomatoes are your best choice for good nutrition (unless you make you own tomato products at home, with less sugar and no preservatives).
Other tomato benefits
A tomato weighing in at 125 grams has only 22 calories. Eat your fill, without guilt.
Tomatoes give you lots of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and folate. Vitamin C is a key antioxidant and disease fighter. Potassium and vitamin K keep your heart and bones in good shape. And folate is essential for moms-to-be.
Now that fresh, local tomatoes are showing up in stores and farmers’ markets in North America, it’s the perfect time to try this easy salad for yourself.
Dorothy’s Amazing Tomato Salad
- 4 to 6 large tomatoes, with seeds removed, diced, and drained to remove excess liquid
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 8 slices cooked bacon, diced
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup vinegar
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or the equivalent amount of stevia)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine dressing ingredients. Refrigerate.
- Just before serving layer the ingredients in a serving dish: first tomatoes, then eggs, bacon and green onion last. Use a glass dish if you want to behold the layers and lovely color.
- Pour dressing over all.
This recipe combines many ingredients to give you the best possible nutrition from tomatoes. It contains lots of fresh tomatoes, with their lavish servings of lycopenes, vitamins and minerals. The ketchup ups the lycopene content even higher. The fat in the salad dressing, from the oil and cheese, helps with lycopene’s absorption. Plus there is a generous dose of protein from the eggs.
I cut the recipe in half to serve 4-6 and presented each guest with a single serving in a martini glass. I used avocado oil and apple cider vinegar, because it was what I had on hand. My hard-boiled eggs came out perfectly using Vinny’s technique, here. I boiled the eggs and crisped the bacon a day ahead.
Dorothy’s salad tastes as good as it looks. Make tomatoes a part of your summer fun and give your family a healthy boost.
- Tomatoes 101 – Nutrition facts and health benefits
- Ten best foods for a long life – Dr. Fuhrman’s list of 10 best foods (which includes tomatoes) is a good guide to better health.
- Food heroes that fight cancer – Direct from the American Institute for Cancer Research comes this team of super foods (includes tomatoes).
- Building your salads in jars, Lego style – The best salads contain greens, crunch, color, oil, protein, and complex carbs. Come and play!