In our very small backyard, I don’t have room to grow any tomatoes, but that’s OK, because there are lots of tomatoes to be found at the local farmers markets. Besides, when I did grow tomatoes a number of years ago, I didn’t seem to have the knack for the luscious fruits. They always seemed to end up with blight or end rot or some other tomato malady.
But I do grow something that is a perfect partner for the tomato.
Basil is by far my favorite herb. When it is flourishing in my backyard planters, I throw it in just about everything — pastas, soups, salads, vegetables.
But basil is really at its best when paired with tomato. The two are often planted side by side in the garden because they like the same growing conditions and seem to thrive during the hottest weather.
When the weather begins to turn cooler, I begin to squirrel away basil in my freezer (more on that later) for future use. But I’m not quite at that stage yet this year. Instead, I will make the most of the harvest in dishes such as this salad, one of my favorite latter summer side dishes. It’s so simple to put together and makes the most of that tomato-basil combination.
For the rice, you can use leftover rice, or I’ve used the quick-cooking variety or even those pre-cooked pouches that can be found in the grocery aisle. Rather that bottled dressing, I usually utilize the mix that comes in small envelopes in the dressing aisle, mixing it at home with red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Other vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers or broccoli florets, could be added to the salad, too, but I prefer the simplicity of the tomato and basil combo.
Simply Delicious Rice Salad
3 cups cold cooked rice
⅓ cup Italian dressing
2 tomatoes, diced
½ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup chopped basil
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss well. Makes 6 servings.