Ina Garten's 5-Ingredient Tomato Salad Is My Favorite—It's So Delicious

It’s an effortless side dish that compliments just about everything.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

We've officially reached the season where the oven takes a long rest, and the salad bowl is the star of the show. Come summer, all I crave are salads. I can’t get enough of the summer produce bounty, and I love nothing more than being able to assemble a full and complete meal without even thinking about turning on my stove or oven.

One such salad I have a current hyper fixation on is Ina Garten’s Tomato-Avocado Salad, and I truly can’t stop making it.

This salad hits all the right notes. It's filled with avocado, peppery arugula, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a lemon-based dressing. Thanks to the avocado, it’s creamy and satiating, bursting with summer flavor from the cherry tomatoes and slightly spicy from the arugula. The zesty vinaigrette pulls these ingredients into focus and amplifies them.

<p>Simply Recipes / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

Now, I know what you are thinking: Avocado salad? How does it stay fresh? Fear not—like most culinary quandaries, Ina has a solution.

The first step in the salad recipe is to toss the avocado with 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This prevents the cubed avocado from browning, and also gives the fairly subtle flavor of the fruit some depth. One note: The avocados you use here should be ripe, but quite firm. You don’t want the same texture of an avocado that you might use for guacamole; you want the fruit to maintain its shape in the salad without turning to mush.

For the tomatoes, reach for something sweet. There is nothing more delicious than biting into a candy-like tomato that tastes like pure sunshine.

Many of the grape or cherry tomatoes in the grocery store lack flavor, to put it nicely. Look for bright red tomatoes that are firm and free of wrinkles. The tomatoes should smell pleasant, floral, and herbaceous. Since it’s not quite tomato season in the Northeast, I’ve been using Nature Fresh Farms Hiiros Cherry Tomatoes (available at Costco). They have an amazing umami flavor, and I like that they are firm and not too watery when halved. They hold up beautifully in this salad!

Ina calls for red onion to add the punch of allium flavor all summer salads need, but I usually opt for shallot, which provides a slightly softer note. Once the avocado, onion, and cherry tomatoes are combined, they are tossed with a super simple lemon and olive oil vinaigrette. I like to reserve about half of the lemon vinaigrette to toss with the arugula separately. I then scatter the dressed greens on a serving platter or bowl and spoon the avocado and tomato mixture on top of them so they don’t wilt from too much mixing.

My favorite way to serve this salad is with grilled steak or chicken—it’s the ultimate no fuss summer dinner and I’ll be making it on repeat all season long. Plus, the base of the salad is infinitely adaptable. Feel free to add in some fresh corn kernels, diced cucumber, or a can of drained chickpeas or white beans to bulk up the meal.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.