Toss My Salad: Tomatoes

by Rachel on July 28, 2009

Good afternoon! Today I hit the farmers market, and seeing all the gorgeous tomatoes the size of grapefruits made me want to talk about this summer standout.

Like most kids, I wouldn’t touch tomatoes growing up. Even throughout high school and college, I always had to order salads and sandwiches without. But the summer I spent interning in New York, at some point, I ordered a vegetarian sandwich at a deli near ELLE where I had lunch every day. With the sprouts, lettuce, and avocado, the tomato sounded really delicious. I decided to give it a try, and I’ve loved tomatoes ever since.

I’m glad I crossed over, because this lovely fruit is seriously nutritious. They are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium. They are also known for providing the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene gives tomatoes the red color (it’s also in watermelon) and it helps our body stay healthy and not let free radicals (basically cells that are damaged by everything from pollution to pesticides to tanning) take over.

To absorb the lycopene better, you should eat tomatoes with a little fat–which is great, because they pair beautifully with olive oil!

Tomatoes are in season right now, so you should be able to get them cheap and ripe without too much trouble. Because they are so easily home-grown, it’s pretty much a farmers market guarantee.

For a perfect summer salad, toss lettuce with a chopped, juicy vine-ripened tomato, fresh chopped basil, mozzarella balls, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. If you don’t love tomatoes in their original state, get them in salsa! Salsa is a great salad dressing, and might help you find them more palatable.

Either way, the red hue will make your salad look gorgeous and the lycopene will keep your body in top shape.

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