We’re Gonna Talk You into Putting Tomatoes in Your Fruit Salad

(Image credit: Samantha Bolton)

Maybe you don’t even need to be talked into adding fruit to your tomato salad because you’re well aware of tomato’s classification as a fruit. And perhaps you’re also aware of how its inherent acidity is the most welcome guest in a too-sweet fruit salad. If, however, the combination of tomato and fruit baffles you or leaves you skeptical, permit me to do some convincing.

Balance and Bounty

When we find ourselves in high tomato season, getting creative about how we use tomatoes ensures an inevitable fatigue never settles in. Just when you feel like you might have had your fill of tomato sandwiches (I know, it’s hard to imagine, but I’ve heard of people who suffer from this affliction), a delightful combination of tomatoes and fruit is here to energize.

Fruit salads are all about balance. You don’t want them to be too sweet and sticky — that pushes them over the edge into a saccharine, gloppy mess — but you certainly don’t want them to be full of underripe, underperforming fruit, either. I’m sure we’ve had both. When they’re at their best, fruit salads are sweetened by the ripeness of the fruit. Sometimes they’re enveloped in a light syrup, when tart elements are included, or sometimes just a pinch of sugar is required to get juicier fruits like strawberries and raspberries to macerate and effectively self-sauce.

The next time you need to add something citrusy, tart, and colorful to a fruit salad, don’t overlook the tomato fruit. It pairs particularly well with stone fruit like peaches, plum, and nectarines, bringing its citrusy, grassy sweetness to their syrupy taste. They also play the role of acid, which means they’re tempering that sweetness, but also highlight it by providing a contrasting taste.

Fruit + Tomato Combination to Try

  • Ripe stone fruit + beefsteak tomatoes + green tomatoes + mozzarella
  • Cherries + cherry tomatoes + thyme
  • Watermelon + yellow tomatoes + chile

Do you ever combine tomatoes and fruit? What are some of your favorite combinations?