A vegan caprese salad seems a bit of an oxymoron – how can it be a caprese without one of the three key ingredients? Yes, this caprese-inspired tomato salad is unorthodoxically without mozzarella, but it is still a celebration of the height of tomato season! The garlicky butter beans and avocado add a creamy substantial element to make up for the lack of cheese, but tomatoes really are the star of the show here – just like they are in a traditional caprese salad.
The most delicious thing about caprese salad is it’s simplicity. Made from just a handful of perfectly ripe ingredients, it forms its own dressing from the tomatoes juices mixing with a delicious, peppery olive oil. I’ve treated this salad the same way, and it really is more than the sum of its (perfectly ripe) parts! Serve it over a piece of toasted sourdough or with some fresh bread to mop up the dressing, and there is little better.
I want to stress again that as this is all about the tomatoes, please don’t consider making this salad if you don’t have great tomatoes available to you right now. Just tuck this recipe away till you do! The tomatoes really are the main focus of this dish, and the salad will lack and be positively underwhelming if you have watery, floury tomatoes.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of this recipe, and if there’s any other types of recipes you’d like to see in 2017! Hearing from you always inspires me and I’d love to give you more of what you want this year xx Liberty
A Simple Tomato Salad (or: a vegan caprese-inspired salad)
You need to use the best, ripest tomatoes for this salad – please don’t consider making it if they aren’t available. Use a variety of different sized tomatoes, or just one like I have here.
Prep time: 8 min
Cook time: 2 min
A Simple Tomato Salad
1 fat clove of garlic, sliced
3 tbls great tasting extra virgin olive oil (+ more to serve)
220g | 1.5 cups cooked butter beans (lima, or 1 x 400g tin, drained and rinsed)
750g perfectly ripe tomatoes, at room temperature ***
Handful of basil leaves, picked
1 avocado, cubed
Flaky sea salt
In a frypan over medium heat, cook the garlic slices in 1 tbls of olive oil till fragrant and starting to colour – about 1 min. Remove from heat and toss through the butter beans. Season generously and set aside to cool whilst you prepare the salad. If making ahead, store beans in the fridge up to 2 days, but bring to room temperature before serving.
When you are reading to eat the salad, cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. If you’re using a variety of different tomatoes, then you might like to vary the size of the pieces for interest and texture. Transfer them to a large bowl and add 2 tbls of olive oil and the butter beans in their garlic oil. Toss gentle to coat everything, then add the avocado and basil leaves (tearing larger ones, if desired), and gently fold them through.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with plenty of crusting bread for mopping up the juices, or pile it onto toasts (as pictured above). Either way, add an extra drizzle of olive oil and more salt and pepper upon serving.
Best eaten straight away, or within an hour or two of making.