Heirloom Tomato Salad with Cilantro Pesto Beans

by Gavan on August 11, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Cilantro Pesto

Summer is the best time for beautiful vibrant colors in the garden and it’s the best time for tomatoes! I couldn’t resist picking up these brilliant heirloom tomatoes at the weekend. I’ll warn you, they were pricy (3-4 bucks a pound!) but their taste is worth it, I promise you. In order to ‘qualify’ for this weeks Summer Fest I put them together with some French Beans (Haricot Verts) and since our herb garden is booming, we have cilantro out the ying yang so I decided to make……cilantro pesto. A lovely fresh twist on the usual basil pesto!

The key here with the beans is to just cook them until they go to this bright green color and are still nice ‘n’ crisp. The contrast of the sweet tomatoes and the fresh taste of my garden cilantro is light yet full of flavor. If you’re having bbq this weekend, make this–It’ll go down a storm.


3 lbs heirloom tomatoes – make the trip to your Farmers’ Market–defo worth it for these!
1 lb French beans – trimmed

Cilantro Pesto:
Makes 2 cups (extra for another time)

2 bunches cilantro – packed
2 cups baby spinach – packed
1 lemon – zested
1/2 lemon – juiced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts – toast in a dry heated saute pan for 3-4 minutes stirring periodically until browned
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (low fat preferably)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
S&P to taste

Homemade Cilantro Pesto

Add all pesto ingredients in a food processor, except for olive oil. Blend and while blitzing gradually pour in olive oil. Season with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Done.

Blanch the beans in a pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds until bright green color. Drain and refresh in bowl of ice water until completely chilled, Drain.
To assemble salad: Lay slices of the heirlooms around platter. Toss the french beans in enough pesto to coat and lay in middle of platter. Drizzle a little pesto over each tomato and season with S&P to taste. That’s it! Don’t be afraid to try all the colors of heirloom tomatoes. Ask your local vendor which ones will be the best and tuck in!

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Cilantro Pesto

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jacqui August 11, 2009 at 11:25 am

I love cilantro so this sounds like a great pesto for me and as my tomatoes are now all ripening up nicely I will be trying out this salad.

jaden August 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

hey that cilantro pesto leftover would be perfect for tossing with egg noodles!

admin August 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Me likey. Maybe throw a few shrimp in there too!

Gabrielaskitchen August 11, 2009 at 3:48 pm

A spin on pesto via Cilantro and piñon….AND tomatoes (my favorite fruit)…. say no more.

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. August 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Thanks Gabriela. The pesto’s all the better when the herbs come from your own garden. Soooo tasty.

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. August 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Hey Jacqui, I know you were moving, did you shut your blog down?
You’ll love this salad and if you grow your own tomatoes, all the better.

Lynn August 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Wow! This looks fabulous! The Torrance Farmer’s Market is open tomorrow morning–I’ll have to get there. Both this and the shrimp recipe are going to be on my menu this week. I think I’ll share it with the neighbors. It will make too much for me.

I will take your advice, Gavan, and grow my own cilantro. I just bought some seeds and organic soil at a Smith and Hawken sale. I’ll go back and see if they have cilantro seeds–if they’re still open. Too bad they are going out of business just when I am getting started.

I never felt I had the time or felt too stressed to do much with the yard, but I’ve been cleaning it up over the past two weeks, and it is work–but relaxing. It’s nice in the evening around dusk. I enjoyed it so much that when I passed the S&H sale, I quickly pulled over to see what they had.

Thanks for giving me another push.

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