This Cherry Tomato Feta Salad has all-time classic flavour combinations that you just can’t go wrong with, the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the sharpness of the feta and the aroma of the basil vinaigrette are just sublime.
A great recipe that pairs with almost everything, from barbecued meats, roasts, pasta dishes or tarts. Great to serve at a barbecue or buffet and any leftovers can be stirred through warm pasta for a delicious lunch the next day.
The ingredients in this Cherry Tomato Feta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Cherry tomatoes are a good fresh eating tomato with higher sugar concentrations than full-size tomatoes, so they taste sweeter. They originated in South America and were the first tomato species to be domesticated.
The health benefits cherry tomatoes…
- Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and niacin.
- They also contain minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure) and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function).
- Tomatoes contain dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may have health benefits.
Choosing and storing your cherry tomatoes…
Choose cherry tomatoes that have firm, bright skin and that are free of any blemishes. They should also have a wonderful tomatoey aroma. For packaged cherry tomatoes make sure that you turn the plastic carton carefully for any spoilt tomatoes.
They can be kept in the fridge but are at their best at room temperature.
Or mix up your Cherry Tomato and Feta Salad and use a mix of mini tomato varieties…
Cherry Truss Tomatoes
Like their big sister “truss” tomatoes they are sold on the vine and packaged directly into punnets with stems still attached. They are sweet-tasting, great for salads and snacking.
Grape and Golden Grape or Mini Roma Tomatoes
Are bite-size oval-shaped fruits and are a cross between Roma and cherry tomatoes. They are very sweet which makes them ideal to snack on.
Pear Tomatoes (teardrop)
Are small and pear-shaped they have an intense, sweet tomato flavour. You will find both red and yellow varieties.
The direct translation from Greek for feta is “slice”, it has a tangy, salty flavour and can range from soft to semi-hard.
There are many varieties to choose from, for this salad I used Greek Feta Dodoni but feel free to choose whichever one you prefer.
Greek Feta – Traditional Greek feta is made with at least 70% sheep’s milk and 30 % with goat’s milk It is salty and tangy with a dry and crumbly texture.
Danish Feta – Is made from cow’s milk with a mild and creamy texture.
Bulgarian Feta – is made with sheep’s milk and yoghurt culture, which gives its characteristic tangy taste.
Australian Feta – is made from cow’s milk. It is a balance between the saltiness of Greek feta and the creaminess of Danish feta.
The health benefits of feta…
- In comparison to other cheeses, feta is low in calories and fat.
- High amounts of B Vitamins, phosphorus and calcium, which can benefit bone health.
- It contains probiotics, friendly bacteria that have been shown to promote immune and intestinal health, in addition to their anti-inflammatory effects.
- Rich in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid ) which may improve body composition and help prevent diabetes and cancer.
- However, this type of cheese is relatively high in sodium.
- Feta is an unripened cheese, which means it has a higher lactose content than some aged cheeses.
Also called Spanish or salad onions, they have a dark red/purple skin, are white inside with dark red rings. They are much milder and sweeter on the palate than white or brown onions and are great for salads and salsas.
The health benefits of red onions…
- Contain vitamin C good for immune function and maintenance of skin and hair.
- Folate (B9) which is a water-soluble B vitamin, folate is essential for cell growth and metabolism and especially important for pregnant women.
- Vitamin B6 which can be found in most foods, this vitamin is involved in the formation of red blood cells.
- Potassium can have blood-pressure-lowering effects and is important for heart health.
- They also have a high polyphenol and flavonoid content, including a large amount of quercetin, which provides antioxidant properties that contribute to overall health, and sulphur, which promotes anti-inflammatory processes within the body.
- Contain anthocyanins, only found in red or purple onions, are powerful antioxidants and pigments that give these onions their reddish colour.
Choosing and storing your onions…
Look for onions that are firm and have dry, papery skins. Avoid onions that are soft and have green shoots.
Store at room temperature, away from bright light, and in a well-ventilated area. Avoid keeping them in plastic bags as they like to breathe. Store them away from potatoes as they will absorb their moisture and ethylene gas, causing potatoes to spoil more easily.
If you only use part of the onion, it can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to four days.
Known as sweet basil or Genovese Basil and is a popular herb with more than 16 different varieties. It has an initial subtle peppery flavour, which evolves into a slightly sweet, aromatic flavour.
Basil leaves are vibrant green, heart-shaped and can be harvested when as petite as half an inch and as large as up to four inches in length.
The health benefits of basil…
- Basil is a good source of vitamin A (important for growth and development and the maintenance of your immune system).
- Basil boasts a high level of vitamin K, only 2 tablespoons of Basil fulfil 20% of the recommended daily intake (important for helping your blood to clot).
- It also contains minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure), manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function) and magnesium (involved in the regulation of muscle, heart and nerve function and keeping bones strong).
- Basil contains dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
Choosing and storing your basil…
Choose basil with fresh-looking leaves and stems. Avoid basil with yellow, black, wilted or damaged leaves.
There are two different ways to store fresh basil – at room temperature with the roots in water or wrapped in damp paper towels in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper section of your fridge.
Preparing your Cherry Tomato Feta Salad
For the cherry tomatoes…
Cherry tomatoes are easy to prepare, just rinse them in a strainer under cold running water, shake to remove excess water and pat dry. For this recipe just cut them in half using a serrated or tomato knife.
A quick way to cut your cherry tomatoes…
Gather a handful of tomatoes in a single layer then place a plastic container lid on top. Press down on the lid just enough to hold them in place but not squash them.
Then using a serrated knife slice through the tomatoes.
You could also try using a flat plate to do this as well.
For the feta…
If your feta was stored in brine, rinse it under cold water. It is important to rinse your feta because of its high salt content.
Then lay on your cutting board and dice into cubes of approximately 1 cm / ½ inch).
For the red onions…
It is the allicins in onions is that cause your eyes to water when you cut them.
Cut off the top, then cut off the root base flush to the rest of the onion, but no more as it will hold the rest together while you’re cutting it.
Peel off the papery layers, remove and discard the skin down to the firm flesh.
Then cut the onion in half and mince half and store half covered in the fridge and mince the other half (cut into 3mm / 1/8 inch pieces).
Use the “bear claw” to cut your onion…
Proper positioning can protect fingers.
The ‘bear claw’ is when you tuck your fingertips in away from the knife. This will hold your onion in place and reduces the chance of cutting your fingers.
Cut down with your knife the during the upward motion of slicing move down the onion with your guiding hand for the next cut.
For the basil…
Wash your basil leaves and stem and shake to remove excess water.
Pat the one cup of basil leaves dry to use in your salad dressing.
Cut the small sprigs from the stem to use as a garnish, then cut the larger leaves into a chiffonade. To do this stack the leaves on top of each other, gently roll them into a cigar, and then use a sharp knife to slice them into thin ribbons.
CHERRY TOMATO FETA SALAD WITH BASIL VINAIGRETTE
- Serrated or Tomato Knife
For the salad…
- 500 grams cherry tomatoes
- 100 grams feta
- ½ red onion optional
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
For the vinaigrette…
- 1 cup basil leaves (tightly packed)
- 3 tbsps red wine vinegar (I used a Cabernet merlot vinegar)
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 1 basil stem (for the garnish)
- Place your tomatoes in a strainer and rinse under cold running water, pat dry to remove excess water then cut them in half using a serrated or tomato knife. Refer to the post and video for a quick way to cut your cherry tomatoes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of your onion, remove the papery skin. Cut the onion in half and mince half and store half covered in the fridge and mince the other half (cut into 3mm / ⅛ inch pieces). Transfer to your bowl.
- Rinse your feta if it was stored in brine, then dice into 1cm (½ inch pieces). Add to your mixing bowl.
- Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blitz until well combined.
- Pour the vinaigrette over your salad, season with salt and pepper and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Arrange the salad in a salad bowl, scatter the chiffonade basil and basil sprigs on top to garnish, then serve.
The video in this recipe is courtesy of Chowhound.
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