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Tomato salad with Basil dressing

 In Lunch, Salads & Starters, Snacks, Vegetarian

Tomato salad with Basil dressing

Isn’t it funny how the simplest of foods can sometimes be the most calming and comforting? I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions the last couple of weeks with the knowledge that my book will be hitting the shelves in a month’s time. I’ve asked my team from Penguin to involve me as much as they possibly can and so, I’m doing a lot of the behind the scenes stuff which I’m enjoying but of course, with extra work comes extra stress. And when I’m stressed, I eat. Not good, wholesome foods…no, I like sugary, carb-loaded foods that make me feel good all of one second and then leaves me yearning for more.

Tomato salad with Basil dressing

Last week, I decided to put an end to this and got rid of a lot (but not all, of course) the junk in the house and found myself standing in front of the fridge one afternoon not knowing what to eat. I spotted the punnets of beautiful fresh tomatoes on the counter and I was flooded with memories from my teenage years. Hot summer afternoons when all I wanted to do was peel myself out of my white and blue school uniform. Standing in front of the fridge looking for something cool and soothing to eat and taking a big, ripe tomato and the salt shaker and sitting in the sun on my bed eating it as is. Shaking a bit of salt onto every bite.

Tomato salad with Basil dressing

And now, 10 years later, I wanted to do just that. Except it wasn’t a hot summer day and I wasn’t in a school uniform but I needed that simple comfort. I decided to make this salad and to amp the flavour up wanted to make a pungent basil dressing to toss the tomatoes in. I ate it, not on my bed, but in my garden, enjoying the slight breeze and the scent of the lavender which I have managed to keep alive for more than a few months (I have notoriously UN-green fingers). Absolutely simplicity but nothing would’ve been more delicious in that very moment.

Tomato salad with Basil dressing

Tomato salad with Basil dressing
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad, Vegetarian, Side dish
Serves: 1-2
  • fresh tomatoes (I used a few punnets of mixed tomatoes from Woolworths)
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ clove garlic
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  1. Ensure the tomatoes are at room temperature.
  2. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl.
  3. To make the dressing, combine the basil, salt and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound until you have a relatively smooth paste.
  4. Add the lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. Season to taste and drizzle over the tomatoes.
  6. Toss to coat the tomatoes with the dressing and serve.

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 4 comments
  • Sam

    Add some thin shavings of fresh parmesan to this… you”ll love it!

    • Alida Ryder

      Sam, I have added parmesan before and I love it. 🙂

  • Emma

    How beautiful are those colours!!! YUM factor indeed

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