Although summer is upon us, there is still time to plant herbs in your summer garden. The benefits of herbs are many. They attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden while adding flowers and fragrance. Herbs add flavour to stews and sauces and to vegetable dishes and salads prepared from your garden. Certain herbs are better adapted to grow during the heat of summer than others. Some of the best herbs to grow for summer are basil, dill, parsley, sage and rosemary. They can be sown as seeds or purchased as potted plants and grown in beds or containers.
Fresh lighter meals during warmer seasons can be made even healthier when you add fragrant herbs and spices that help you cool off. Research shows that fragrant green herbs and pungent spices boost good health by substituting for salt and adding natural phytochemicals which may protect against cancer. They also improve your digestion and may reduce inflammation and cell damage that occurs through oxidation (1).
Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan
800g mixed heirloom tomatoes and tomatoes with different colours
Set aside juice from tomatoes to use later
2 ripe peaches
1 bunch of fresh herbs, I used dill, basil and oregano
A pack of burrata, fresh ricotta or vegan alternative cheese
½ cup olive or avocado oil
⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar or fermented apple cider
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup for vegans
2 teaspoons minced red onion or shallots
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Optional: keep juice from tomatoes when cutting
Wash, core and slice the tomatoes. Put tomatoes in a bowl and season them with salt, sweetener and vinegar. Let the tomatoes sit for 20 mins. Remove the peach flesh from the stone and cut into wedges, add wedges to the bowl and toss with the tomatoes.
Make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a clean jar. Cover with lid and shake until fully blended. Use immediately, or chill until ready to use.
Spoon the cheese into a flat-bottomed bowl or onto a plate, then layer the salad on the top of the cheese. Pour saved tomato juice and vinaigrette over the salad and scatter with herbs.
Serve with your favourite baguette, wrap or chapati. Enjoy!