Heirloom Tomato Stack – A Healthy Side Dish

With the New Year comes the opportunity for a fresh start. For many people, this means leading a healthier lifestyle and losing weight. If this is your goal, follow these tips to stay on track. Tomatoes are technically fruits, but thought of as vegetables because of the way we prepare them.

There are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes available in your local supermarket. Regardless of which ones you choose, tomatoes are low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol according to Self Nutrition Data. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamins and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, lycopene and folic acid.

Here’s a light heirloom tomato salad you can add on as a side dish to almost any meal.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 2 small shallots, very thinly sliced or julienne (rings separated )
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar, good quality
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced into rounds (I like to mix up the color for presentations)
  • 4 thin whole wheat pitas


  1. Using a 2-inch ring mold, cut out circles from the pita bread. Lay pita circles out on a sheet pan and sprinkle with olive oil salt and pepper. Toast in the oven (325°) until crisp. Set aside to cool.
  2. Lay the tomato slices out and sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and sherry vinegar.
  3. Place a tomato slice on serving plate, top with two cucumber slices then evenly distribute onions,  2-3 pieces of shallot  and top with a pita chip.
  4. Repeat the process on the same stack so that each one is a double stack.
  5. Drizzle each one of the six double stacks with olive oil and sherry vinegar.
  6. You can serve the salad immediately, or cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Nutritional Information (per serving):  80 calories;  6g total fat; 1g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol;  324 mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate; , 4g sugar;  1g protein.


 Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at South Miami Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011 for the opening of West Kendall Baptist Hospital. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.



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