« Recipe for maple walnut waffles | Main | Greek turkey meatloaf recipe »

Recipe for tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}

Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette. #vegan #glutenfree

When I was in fifth or sixth grade, my father, an electrical engineer, taught me how to use a slide rule. At about the same time, my mother, a magazine editor, taught me a rule that's proved much more valuable: never try to match reds. When I made this tomato, beet and basil salad, I heard her voice in my head, telling me that a red vegetable and a purplish-red one shouldn't be on a plate together. Mother's guideline, effective as it's been for fashion, doesn't hold for salad; beets and tomatoes are a match made in color heaven, and in taste heaven, too. So, go ahead and break the rule. Do it now, because tomatoes, basil and beets might all turn up in your CSA box or at your local farmers' market this week. And, if they don't, check the produce section of your supermarket. Mine carries pre-cooked beets (not canned), which are a great convenience when fresh beets are unavailable.

Tomatoes, beets, basil, balsamic vinaigrette: so good together. #vegan #glutenfree

Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: Dijon mustard, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 2; can be doubled.


For the dressing:
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp agave nectar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

For the salad:
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2-3 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters
2-3 beets, any type, cooked, peeled, cut into quarters
4-5 large basil leaves, julienned


In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients for the dressing, and shake vigorously to incorporate.

Arrange all of the salad ingredients on a platter, and drizzle with as much of the dressing as you need. (Extra dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.) Serve at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme
Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese
Beet and fennel salad
Beet-cucumber relish
Tomato, basil and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled vegetable panini, from Panini Happy
Mixed greens, spiced pecans and goat cheese with dark chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Spring greens salad with asparagus, snow peas, radishes, and honey Dijon vinaigrette, from Andrea Meyers
Grilled radicchio salad with gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette, from Leite's Culinaria
Potato salad with herbed balsamic vinaigrette, from Brown Eyed Baker

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Mmm, looks pretty and sounds tasty!

That looks delicious - and beautiful! I love that your mom was a magazine editor - guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (the tomato from the vine?). I can relate - my mom was a children's book writer, and she used to try out all her books on us - so I was editing from the time I could talk :-) I hadn't heard the matching reds rule - what other rules did she teach you?
Sorry - this is a wandering post. Feel free to delete!

Lydia, spring is coming my way and the tomatoes will start to taste good again. I love tomatoes and have dozens of bookmarked recipes to try - your salad has just become part of the list! Yum!

I loved this!! I remember almost being eliminated from a state junior scholastic art fair back in the 50's, because my art teacher was horrified that my fabric design to be entered had purple-pink--red--mauve, black and white!! After a 17 year old snit fit, I was allowed to enter it--It placed 1st!! Today--I still love a combo of these colors!! Clothing-decor or foods! Your salad will become a favorite, I am sure!

Ha! Your mother's rule is a new one to me but even with 50 something beet recipes in A Veggie Venture, your beet-tomato combination is new to me as well. And I just happen to have both on hand!

Deena, the colors are truly glorious -- like the leaves in the Fall.

Judy, she also taught me that red and brown don't go together, and of course that you cannot wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Actually there were lots of rules like that, but I've managed to ignore most of them.

Patricia, this is such a simple salad, but I have both tomatoes and basil in my garden, so it tastes especially good to me.

Pat, that color combination sounds fabulous to me. In fact, it makes me want to design a plate of food with those colors!

Alanna, my mother was most insistent that I learn not to try to match reds. When I learned to sew and started shopping for fabric, I finally understood what she meant. But, in cooking, that rule just doesn't work for me! I love your collection of beet recipes and hope this salad adds something you will enjoy.

Love the gorgeous tomato red next to the beet red, against the greens. Haven't tried this combination in a salad, but now I will.

Now I'm wondering why I never thought of the combination of beets and basil before? Sounds wonderful.

That salad looks great, Lydia! No color faux pas there IMHO. ;-) I do love those lessons you were taught. Do they still have slide rules any more? I have one somewhere ...


Gorgeous salad! I love how all the sweet, earthy, bright flavors play off each other.

Jeanette, I hope you'll get all of these ingredients in your CSA box this week.

Kalyn, I've always loved beets with thyme, but I've never paired them with basil before. The flavor was a totally wonderful surprise.

Shirley, I don't know if anyone uses slide rules anymore, or even whether many people used them when my father did. I always thought of it as more of a party trick (for me), though for him it was a fundamental tool of his work.

Julia, I love it, too. Do you grow beets in your garden?

If you really wanted to be politically correct from a fashion perspective you could substitute golden beets - either way, the flavor would be fantastic.

TW, golden beets would be gorgeous here. And orange beets. And striped beets. I'm carving out my own fashion territory, I think.

Those "reds" look delicious together!!
And I am going to serve this for lunch next time my mom comes down!!

Carol, I hope your mom likes it. This is a really delicious salad.

Lydia, tonight is the third night in a row that we have had this salad - had to use Thai basil last night and tonight but it was just super. I used the precooked beets from Whole Foods (have another pack from TJ's) and heirloom tomatoes from the Farmers Market in Raleigh - this salad is really super and both my husband and I are grateful to you for the recipe. And it couldn't be easier.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.