These cheddar tomato salad cups are the perfect summer appetizer to snack on while firing up the grill.
I’ve never understood why so many people take vacations in the summer around here (or any region that has a substantial winter for that matter). It’s like we hibernate for a good 5 months of the year and then the minute the kids get out of school and the weather finally turns nice, they jet off for some tropical getaway. Because that makes sense.
We, however, refuse to leave from the months of May through October. It’s like I need to stock pile those 6 months of nice weather to get my system through the upcoming winter, as each week of cold slowly chips away at my summer memories and sanity.
I never really thought about actually doing a real “staycation” until realizing that’s what the entire summer kind of is for us. As the person who is constantly begging Ulysses to go somewhere warm with me in February to the point where I think he contemplates moving out of the house that month each year because I’m so persistent (and annoying), I don’t say a word in the summer months.
May through October is a vacation in our backyard. It’s a constant flow of tank top wearing, yard work, grilling on the deck, neighborhood walks, simple summer food and plenty of cold beverages.
If anything epitomizes summer to me, it’s tomato and basil salads. No mozzarella required, just burst-in-your-mouth, juicy, sweet grape tomatoes with as much basil as possible and a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.
While we fired up the grill for the first time the other day (after needing to replace the burners and heat plates that were rusted out from our lovely winters), I decided to make these simple cheddar tomato salad cups for us to munch on while the burgers cooked and we sipped on the new Palm Breeze in the Pineapple Mandarin Orange flavor. No summer day is complete without some sort of cold alcoholic drink sitting in a koozie on our table outside and I can see either this or the Ruby Red Citrus flavor making multiple appearances in the upcoming months.
These cheddar tomato salad cups were everything I wanted in a summer snack; simple fresh ingredients that shine inside a salty sharp cheddar cheese shell. So while the rest of America jets off to their tropical vacation, I’ll be in my backyard thoroughly enjoying summer with a cheddar cup in one hand and a drink in the other.
Cheddar Tomato Salad Cups
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup red grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup yellow grape tomatoes halved
- 2 tablespoons sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup basil leaves chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silpat. If you don’t have a silpat, grease the baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine the cheddar and cornmeal in a bowl and arrange in small piles on the baking sheet about 2 inches in diameter. Place in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown and the centers look lace-like. Remove from oven and let cool 1 minute.
- Remove the cheddar crisps from the baking sheet and drape over the back of a muffin tin or a small glass pinching the sides so that it forms into a cup shape. Let cool for 5 minutes to harden.
- Combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and toss to combine.
- Spoon the tomato salad into the cheese cups and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Palm Breeze through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Palm Breeze, all opinions are my own.
Please drink responsibly. #VacayEveryDay
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.