Heirloom tomatoes are king of the summer. There's nothing quite like the taste and texture of a perfectly ripe tomato. Take that and add a few of my favorite items for this delicious bread salad. A peppery arugula pesto is the flavor while the toasted bread brings the texture.
I could have stopped there but these types of salads often become my meals (like when I have leftovers of the salad on the night I'm frantically packing for vacation). When the bread is toasted well (dry throughout- crouton style), the bread will keep texture hours after the salad is assembled. It's a perfect picnic or lunch bread salad.
Tomato Bread Salad
Greens: Swap the arugula for spinach or kale. You could also add greens to the salad and turn it into a more traditional salad. Lettuce would work great as a base for a salad like this.
Beans: Swap the chickpeas for white beans or possibly even black or French lentils.
Grains: If bread isn't your jam, swap it out for cooked grains. Heartier grains like farro, sorghum, or barley would work well.
Every time I end up at the market this time of year, I'm always drawn to all the varieties of tomatoes. It's peak time to snag fresh tomatoes and eat them for every meal. I always gravitate to the smaller tomatoes for use on salads but a big heirloom tomato makes a great addition to sandwiches.
Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto
1 ½ cups torn/cut bread pieces
2 heirloom tomatoes
¾ cup arugula
¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
- Heat an oven to 400˚F. Place the torn or cut bread on a sheet tray and pop in the oven. Cook until the bread is crisp throughout and golden; 15 minutes or so. Core the tomatoes and cut into 1” or so pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients for the pesto. Pulse/blend until combined; adding more olive oil or a splash of water as needed to thin well enough to blend. Measure out about ⅓ cup of the pesto and save the rest to use in another meal.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, chickpeas, and garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the chickpeas are hot; 3 to 4 minutes.
- Combine the croutons with the tomatoes, pesto, and garlicky chickpeas. Toss until well combined. Taste and add more salt if desired.