cheery cherry tomato & basil salad

YOU KNOW WHAT you should do this week? Have people over for dinner. Once you get the laundry done and your house totally clean, just invite them over. Ha, ha, ha! Even though the laundry most certainly ISN’T done and your house is stubbornly refusing to clean itself, you should still have people over. And if you do, serve them this salad. Even if they have little kids and here’s why: 1. It’s easy. 2. It’s healthy. 3. It’s delicious this time of year, even to people under the age of five.

And if you don’t have people over for dinner, just eat the whole bowl yourselves. You won’t be sorry.

We served this salad to one of our first dinner guests in the new house…the guy who sold it to us. No pressure. He’s actually our neighbor now though, living on the other side of our woods where he owns 20 acres of amazing rolling hills. Ours aren’t shabby either, as you can see for yourself. Hooray for the mini-farm! #adreamcometrue

It was fun to have him over though, even if it was a little embarrassing to welcome him to our new-and-still-pretty-empty place. Nothing decorated, walls still bare, nothing like it looked when he lived here but you know what? We have three little kids to entertain him, plus this tomato salad. He seemed to enjoy both.

The whole thing reminded me of a great Erma Bombeck quote I once read. If she were still alive, Erma would be the most popular mommy blogger on the planet and this excerpt of her beautiful 1979 column written after she found out she had cancer is just a hint of her amazing voice. “If I had my life to live over again…I would have invited more friends over for dinner even if the carpet was stained or the sofa faded.”

Our sofa arrives next week. I’m sure it’ll be faded in no time. And we’ll still be serving this salad to anyone we can rope into an evening with the rascals.


foodlets rating: 2/3 (Estelle who is 2 did not like it. Phoebe (4) and George (1) did.)

note: I left the red onions in big slivers so anyone who’s anti-onion could easily just avoid them.


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (any color or variety) cut in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Combine everything into a bowl, top with plastic wrap and let sit in a cool place for 1-4 hours before serving. End.



  1. Amy says

    Discovered this blog last week, and am a fan! We are two foodies and an18-month old girl, and we dream of the day when we all sit down to eat the SAME homecooked–and possibly ethnic–dinner together, with no deli meat, chicken nuggets or fish sticks (all organic, but still…) on the table. Our daughter had severe GERD as an infant which resulted in texture aversions and other difficulties getting started on solids, though, and is still not on the charts for weight, so we’ve had to make some concessions to make sure she gets adequate calories and try to sneak in good fats wherever we can. I may try replacing the wheat germ in some of your recipes with flax seed meal. She’s OK with most fruits and veggies and baked goods, but is very picky about protein (meats, dairy, and eggs). She also seems resistant to trying mixed foods (casseroles, meat loaf, sandwiches), preferring to have a few different single ingredients on her tray instead. We lost a large part of the window for introducing new foods to the feeding disorder and are struggling to expand her diet now. If you or other readers have suggestions for getting toddlers to transition to composite foods, I would love to hear them.

    She might just try this salad, though. We’ll try it later this week!

    • charityc says

      Hi, Amy! So great to hear from you. It’s never too late to introduce new foods to kids, even when they’re much older than yours so don’t worry. I’m not an expert, but I am a mom of three small kids (4, 2, 1) so here’s what I’d suggest.

      Serve her the same sandwich stuff you guys are eating, but make hers deconstructed. Little cubes of chicken, or cheese, or whatever, instead of in between two pieces of bread. She’s so little that she won’t care about cute shapes yet but down the road you might consider using cookie cutters or even sandwich cutters; a heart shaped sandwich is suddenly enticing to a 3-year-old! Ditto for hard boiled eggs that come in bunny and bear shapes here.

      Great idea with the flax seed meal. You could add chia seeds to nearly any baked good as well. (I’d just add 1/4 cup without making any substitutions.)

      My 2-year-old and 14-month-old aren’t very hot on protein either so again, don’t worry. Just KEEP GOING. Keep offering it to her, keep trying different presentation. What about beans? Lots of toddlers are great at plucking up beans and popping into their mouths. Or smoothies? You can even freeze smoothies into popsicles or “ice cream” that little guys sometimes really go for.

      Most importantly, hang in there. You’ll keep experimenting, she’ll keep growing bigger and moving onto new phases (for better or worse) and along the way you’ll find a bunch of stuff that works. Good luck and report back! We want to hear how it’s going!

  2. Amy says

    Well, she didn’t touch the tomatoes, but she did ask for and eat about 4 bites of our turkey and pesto (whole wheat) pizza. Go figure–there’s just no predicting what a toddler will or won’t try. We’ll keep trying. It’s good to know that the protein thing isn’t just her, though. Thanks for the suggestions!



  1. […] Cheery Cherry-Tomato and Basil Salad: If you’ve got kids on your outdoor adventure, you’ll appreciate a three-ingredient salad like this one full of sweet tomatoes, tangy basil and slivers of red pepper that can be easily plucked out for anyone who doesn’t appreciate onions quite yet. And if a pasta salad is on your mind for your picnic, look no further than this easy-does-it pasta version with mozzarella cheese. […]


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