My Father’s Tomato Salad

Check out the related video story: Cooking With Love: Alice’s Kitchen Fresh, home cooked meals prepared with love; a Lebanese tradition transferred from mother to daughter. Linda Sawaya shares her love of food, and the generations of culinary knowledge passed down through oral tradition.

Days when my mother wasn’t around were a special treat because my father, Elias, would make us lunch. His specialty was this tomato salad, which taste best in the summer, when made with garden-ripened tomatoes. It is laden with garlic, so eat it with friends. The bite-sized chunks of tomato are scooped up with Arabic bread or French bread that absorbs some of the juice. Serve with feta cheese, olives, and cucumber strips for a perfect summer picnic. Thanks, dear Dad!


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 garden-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • ½ bunch fresh spearmint, stemmed, finely chopped
  • 3 rounds of Arabic bread


  1. Peel and chop garlic.
  2. In a bowl, mash it into a paste with salt. We like using a wooden mortar and pestle. Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add them with their juice to the bowl.
  3. Add olive oil and spearmint; toss.
  4. Marinate for a least 15 minutes, if possible. A half hour in the refrigerator is perfect. Taste with bread and add seasoning if necessary.

Yield: Serves: 4 people

Recipe courtesy Linda Dalal Sawaya, author of Alice’s Kitchen (this recipe found on page 64).

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