Easy Tomato Side Dish

Even though it isn’t tomato season yet, you can still find some good quality tomatoes to add to your meals. Below is a quick and easy tomato side dish that’s so versatile, you’ll be free-styling it “your way.”

Tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C, Potassium and Folate. They are also a major source of lycopene, linked to many health benefits. They also contain Vitamin K and calcium. All these nutrients are good for your bones and can also provide cell-protecting antioxidants.

As everyone knows, a good mix of assorted fruits and vegetables will give your body a healthy boost, but don’t overlook tomatoes even if they are off-season. Cherry tomatoes can sometimes have a more robust flavor than regular size tomatoes, especially when tomatoes are not in season.

Free-styling dishes are “base” recipes that can be enjoyed “as is” or embellished and changed to fit your own personal taste. I’m using a mixed variety of small yellow and red cherry tomatoes. Once tomato season begins, I’ll be free-styling this recipe using the best, freshest tomatoes I can find. Below is the “base” recipe. Use it as is, or go “free-style” and make it your own.

BASIC TOMATO SIDE DISH:

Dice 1 ½ cups of tomatoes (for grape size cherry tomatoes, cut them in half). Keep the diced pieces fairly large. Tip: A mix of yellow and red tomatoes can give this a boost.

INTO THE DICED TOMATOES ADD:

– 1-½ Tablespoons of Olive Olive Oil

– 3 Tablespoons of your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (NOT straight balsamic vinegar)

– ½ to 1 teaspoon or dried or fresh oregano

– salt & pepper to taste

Gently mix all the ingredients together, put it in a container with a tightly fitted lid and refrigerate. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. It can be kept for 2 to 3 days in refrigerator.

SERVE IT “AS IS”: Use it as a side to meat or fish dishes. OR: on a small plate, add a large lettuce leaf or some mixed greens and top them with the tomato mixture.

OTHER IDEAS:

– Serve it with warm crusty bread and mozzarella cheese and/or fresh basil. Add it to cheese platters, antipasto plates or use it as a taco topping.

– Horizontally slice your favorite crusty sub bread, line it with fresh basil leaves, add the tomato mixture and some fresh mozzarella cheese for a tasty veggie sandwich.

– Spread it on chicken and turkey sandwiches for an extra zing.

– Add it to your favorite salad or serve on top of a bed of mixed greens.

GO FREE-STYLE: Add one or several ingredients below to the basic tomato dish or come up with your own:

– fresh torn basil leaves

– pickled onions

– green and/or black olives

– crumbled Feta cheese

– grated Parmesan cheese

– fresh garlic

– avocado

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