Heirloom tomato salad with bocconcini and basil

Heirloom tomato salad with bocconcini and basil

Because I’m a seasonal fanatic, I refuse to make this salad at any other time of the year than when heirloom tomatoes are in season – even though I’ve been known to lust over it in mid-January.

I’ll admit that I’ll extend the season a bit if I find local greenhouse tomatoes, but that’s the only exception I ever make. So every year, from late June until mid-October, I’ll make this salad at least once a week.

Perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes are sweet rather than acidic, and when they are served with melt-in-your-mouth handmade mozzarella and a spicy olive oil, they command the attention of your taste buds. (Mine are prone to do somersaults without any encouragement whatsoever.)

Guess what I’m making for lunch today? Buon Appetito!

Wine pairing: Dry rosé with heirloom tomato salad

Sweet, ripe tomatoes and rosé are a match made in heaven! But the rosé needs to be bone-dry, with round fruit notes and a clean finish. Think rosés made with Southern Rhône or Italian varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignane and Sangiovese.

Heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomato salad with bocconcini & basil


4 servings

Prep time

20 minutes

Wine Pairing



  • 1 3/4 lbs (800 g) mixed heirloom tomatoes (different colors) – cut in 1/2″ slices

  • 6 oz (170 g) mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes or husk tomatoes

  • 1 lb (455 g) bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) – drained on paper towels

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • fine sea salt to taste

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup small basil leaves or large basil leaves torn in 1/2″ pieces


  • Arrange the tomatoes and bocconcini onto 4 plates. Drizzle lavishly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with the basil and serve with sourdough or Italian country bread.

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  2. What a beautifully delicious salad!

  3. Hi Viviane, I love this tomato-boccocino salad too, but instead of adding fresh basil to it, I add chopped cilantro to this salad. I am unable to get the heirloom tomatoes in my area, so, I use cocktail tomatoes. They are sweet too. Thanks for this. Yours. Joan Kovats

  4. Beverly Babcock

    And now the hunt is on for heirloom tomatoes. One day this week, I’ll be near the Italian Market in Annapolis, so I’ll get the bocconcini and then I’ll track down the tomatoes. I know a little out-of-the-way place I go to if I want green tomatoes (once or twice in the summer for the fried green tomatoes treat), and I suspect they’ll have the tomatoes I’m looking for. Thanks for your delightful newsletter!

    • Beverly, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and for taking the time to write it. I’m most grateful to you and I hope your hunt for heirlooms will be successful!

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  12. Heirloom tomatoes are such a summer treat! One of my favorites salads with the broccolini. Great photo!

  13. what a beautiful colours of that salad!

  14. With these ingredients how could you go wrong?! Absolutely divine photos. Lovely!

  15. I spelled bocconcini wrong. Yikes. Never comment when you are low on coffee intake! I meant bocconcini, not broccolini, although they are both expensive around here. I buy fresh mozzarella for $3 a lb and if I want bocconcini it is $5 for a little container.

    • Risaeats, Heirloom tomatoes are pretty expensive too, but sometimes it’s good to splurge. After all, they are treasures that only come along in the summer months… so why not pair they with tender, olive-oil-soaking little bocconcini?

  16. I have been making versions of this lately. The latest was from a Saveur email from ABC Kitchen in NYC, and it was Heirloom Tomatoe, Mozzarella, Chiles and Herbs. It was amazing with all those different colored tomatoes. Pretty, delicious and healthy. Never thought of using broccolini as it is $4 a lb around here. Does look amazing though.

  17. Perfect. These colorful heirlooms and basil are so summery. You’ve got me craving this!

  18. Basil, tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil all together…there couldn’t be anything more perfect. I could enjoy that combination everyday and not get tired of it. Lovely salad.

  19. Heirloom tomatoes are so delicious and beautiful that they are their own garnish. Your salad is gorgeous!

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  21. So simple and so delicious. Also good to hear there is someone else out there who won’t by tomatoes out of season.

  22. I went through a tomato, basil, and mozzarella “phase” awhile back and have since abandoned the lunch time dish. Too much of a good thing! But reading this recipe makes me want to give it another go. Just need to find a friend with a garden…and heirlooms:)

  23. Heirloom tomatoes are like little foodie jewels! Love them.

  24. two of my favorite summertime things!!!

  25. Another beautiful salad… I love using heirloom tomatoes, they make such a colorful dish addition:)

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  28. I do the same…..occasionally adding big chunks of crusty bread to soak up all the flavors!

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