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Tuscan Salad: Ripe Tomatoes, Herbs, and Cheese-A Whole Meal Salad

Updated on August 20, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.


Were tomatoes the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden?

From where did the idea originate that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was an apple? Let's review the story. We are told in Genesis that Adam and Eve are living the perfect life in Eden. They may eat fruit from any tree except one, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Guess what? They eat the forbidden fruit and are expelled from paradise.

Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve

The original Hebrew says only "fruit," but in latter-day Western art, ranging from serious religious painting to about a million cartoons, the item in question is invariably depicted as an apple. I don't think so. My vote is that it was a tomato.

Think about it. On a summer day is there anything more fragrant, sweet, or (dare I say) Heavenly that a plump ripe tomato, warmed by the sun? If you have grown your own tomatoes, or are fortunate enough to be the BFF of someone else who does, I'm sure you'll agree with me.

I gave up growing my own "forbidden fruits" two decades ago when I moved to deer country. But I can still find just-picked tomatoes at my weekly Farmers Market. And this is what I did with them today:

Cast your vote for Tuscan Bread Salad


  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion (Walla Walla, Vidalea, etc.), minced
  • 1/2 cup *boconccini, (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto, from jar or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup **garlic croutons, (see note below)

* Small balls (1 inch in diameter or less) of fresh mozzarella marinated in plain or herbed olive oil. If not available, substitute feta cheese.


** to make garlic croutons --

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 (3/4 inch thick) slices French bread, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add bread cubes, and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp and dry. Check frequently to prevent burning. Cool.


  1. Place beans, tomatoes, onion, cheese and olives in a large mixing bowl. Stir together the basil pesto, olive oil, and pepper in a small bowl to make the dressing. Pour over the bean/tomato mixture and toss gently.
  2. Add garlic croutons and toss again just before serving. (If added too soon the croutons will become soggy).

What Makes This Recipe Work?

  • Quick to fix
  • All ingredients are easily obtainable and relatively low in price
  • The addition of beans provides protein and makes this a light, complete meal--great for summertime

© 2011 Linda Lum


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    • profile image

      Adonica 3 years ago

      I'm quite pleased with the inmtifaoron in this one. TY!

    • sexpressions profile image

      sexpressions 6 years ago from Wherever my imagination sees fit

      I love how you introduced the recipe - and I will be giving it a shot! (I, too, have a love of tomatoes... And my BFF has a garden with a circle of blueberry love as well... What would I do without him?!)

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Love this salad and this hub! Well done.