As the days get longer and warmer, our appetites shift towards lighter, fresher meals that are easy to make and packed with ‘summer flavor.’ For me, this almost always leads me to ‘bistro style’ recipes with a decidedly Mediterranean flare. And that’s where today’s Grilled Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad comes in.
Easy to make, super-versatile, and utilizing only simple ingredients, this is one recipe that’s sure to become a must-have on your spring and summer menu after you try it.
With just a few simple steps, you can create a beautiful and flavorful salad that is perfect as a side dish for a barbecue or as a light meal on its own. The recipe calls for grilling cherry tomatoes, sweet onion, garlic, jalapeno, and artichoke hearts, giving the dish a smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and honey.
Easily the best thing about this salad is how incredibly versatile it is. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, but especially things like flatbreads, avocado, crusty bread, grilled chicken, or even tossed with pasta.
In this post, we'll walk you through the steps of making this delicious salad. I’ll also provide you with an ingredient checklist, some tips for grilling the vegetables, and end off by suggesting some tasty pairings and variations to help you make this recipe your own. So, whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue or just looking for a light and easy meal, read on, because this salad is sure to please.
- Cherry Tomatoes: sweet and juicy, cherry tomatoes are perfect for grilling and adding to salads.
- Large Sweet Onion: caramelized onions add a deep, rich flavor to the salad.
- Garlic: Grilled garlic has a smoky flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the tomatoes.
- Jalapeno: A little bit of heat from the grilled jalapeno adds a kick to the salad.
- Scallions: grilled scallions add a smoky and slightly sweet flavor to the salad.
- Italian Parsley: fresh parsley adds a bright, herbaceous flavor to the dish.
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts: We'll be grilling the artichoke hearts for today's recipe. Though grilling is optional, grilled artichoke hearts have a smoky, slightly sweet flavor that beautifully complements the sweetness of the tomatoes.
- Capers: Add a tangy, briny flavor to the salad.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Brings sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the salad.
- Honey: Balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and the vinegar. While I’m using plain, raw honey, feel free to use the ‘gourmet honey’ of your choice.
- Salt: Basic table salt is all you need, though feel free to fancy things up with your favorite sea salt or gourmet salt.
- Sugar: To further balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.
And that’s it. That’s all you need to create a delicious grilled tomato and artichoke salad.
Grilling Tips – It Couldn’t be Simpler
Grilling the vegetables imparts a smoky flavor to the dish, but also brings out the sweetness in the garlic, and helps temper the acidity of the tomatoes. It also heightens the ‘chili flavor’ of the jalapeno. Overall, it gives the salad much more layered and complex flavor profile.
With that said, here are some tips for grilling each ingredient to perfection:
- Cherry tomatoes: Heat a large cast iron frying pan over high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Let a nice char appear on the skin of the tomatoes, turning occasionally, and then remove and place in a bowl.
- Sweet onion: Place the sliced onion in the same cast iron frying pan used for the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Let the onion turn a nice golden color, stirring occasionally. When this is achieved, place the onion in the bowl with the tomatoes. That’s all there is to it.
- Garlic: Place the head of garlic in a small cast iron frying pan, with the skin on, and let a nice char appear on the skin. Let the garlic cool in the skin. When the garlic is cooled, pop the garlic from its skin and chop. Add the chopped garlic to the bowl with the tomatoes and onion.
- Jalapeno: Place the jalapeno on the grill or over the flame of a gas stove, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred on all sides. Let it cool, remove the stem, seeds, and membrane, and chop. Add the chopped jalapeno to the bowl with the tomatoes, onion, and garlic.
- Artichoke hearts: Brush the artichoke hearts with a little bit of oil and place them in a cast iron frying pan, turning occasionally, until they are slightly charred and tender. Remove from heat and chop. Add the chopped artichoke hearts to the bowl with the other ingredients.
By following these simple tips, you can easily grill the ingredients for the grilled cherry tomato and artichoke salad and create a flavorful and nutritious dish that is perfect for spring and summer.
Make it Your Own – Super Simple Variations
Add other vegetables: You can add other grilled vegetables to the salad, such as grilled bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant. All of these choices grill beautifully, should you choose to take that extra step. Mix and match for best results.
- Use different herbs: Instead of parsley, you can use other herbs such as basil, cilantro, or mint to add a fresh and flavorful touch. Once again, mix and match for best results.
- Add a protein: You can add some protein to the salad, such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu, to make it more filling and satisfying. I recommend this especially if your tossing the salad with pasta.
- Use different dressings or flavorings: Instead of the balsamic vinegar and honey, you can use other dressings or flavorings such as lemon vinaigrette, tahini sauce, or avocado dressing to change the flavor profile.
- Use different cheese: You can add some crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese to the salad to add a tangy and creamy taste.
- Use different tomatoes: Instead of cherry tomatoes, you can use other types of tomatoes such as Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or beefsteak tomatoes, to add some variety and color to the dish.
- Add Olives: Chopping up some Kalamata olives, or Castelvetrano olives, or maybe Nicoise olives would be a great way to mix things up. The kalamata olives would add a rich meatiness to the salad, while the Castelvetrano would add a mild buttery flavor.
These are just a few simple ways to help make this recipe your own. Be sure to experiment, and let me know in the comments how it turned out!
Serving Suggestions – For Maximum Deliciousness
The grilled cherry tomato and artichoke salad is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Here are some serving suggestions:
- As a side dish: This salad is a perfect side dish for grilled meats or fish, such as grilled chicken, steak, or salmon. It also goes well with grilled vegetables or roasted potatoes.
- As a topping: You can use this salad as a topping for bruschetta, crostini, or crackers. It adds a burst of flavor and color to any appetizer platter.
- A Light Main Dish: Add some protein, such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu, to make it a more substantial meal. You can also serve it with some crusty bread or a side of grains, such as quinoa or couscous.
- As a dip: Puree the salad in a food processor to create a chunky dip. It goes well with pita chips, tortilla chips, or vegetable sticks.
- Tossed with Pasta: Toss the salad with some cooked pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, and a drizzle of olive oil. It creates a light and refreshing pasta dish that is perfect for summer.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Be creative and experiment with different serving suggestions to find your own favorite way to enjoy this delicious grilled cherry tomato and artichoke salad!
I hope you found this recipe as delicious and easy to make as I did. If you try this recipe or any of the variations, please let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear what you thought!
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