Summer Tomato Recipe — Easy Remake of a Childhood Favorite From Lebanon

Summer Tomato Michelle Chahine Sinno Recipes Whole30

I wrote last year that part of my journey to find that ever-elusive work-life balance was to rediscover how to eat. It’s been a lot of reading (books and labels), planning ahead, shopping, and, of course, cooking.

Along the way, I’ve come to realize that so many of my favorite childhood foods from Lebanon (where I grew up) fit into the lauded “Mediterranean Diet” and Whole3o plan. Some of them are pretty complex to make, so I’ve been playing around with simple ways to recreate them by using accessible ingredients here in the U.S., simplifying process and cook time. I thought I’d share them here as part of my experiments with work-life balance and making the time to eat well.

For example, one of my favorite summer side dishes was thick slices of huge heirloom tomatoes slathered with garlic paste and drizzled with “sumac” (a flavorful Middle Eastern spice easily found on Amazon or in some supermarkets). Now this is as easy as it gets– except for making the garlic paste which is both tricky and time consuming.

However, making homemade, healthy olive oil garlic mayo takes less than five minutes (really!), is a delicious alternative, and the taste is nearly identical (OK, the original is a touch better, but just a touch).

Summer tomato Lebanese recipe Michelle Chahine Sinno

So, for two thick slices of heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, about one-inch thick (I found this delicious tomato at Trader Joe’s):

Heirloom Tomato recipe Lebanon Michelle Chahien Sinno

  • You want to use 3 tablespoons of the garlic olive oil mayo, slathered on thickly. Then drizzle the sumac on generously and add a dash of salt.
  • Voila! So simple and easy, perfect as a side dish to any protein, or, if you want, as a light dinner in the summer time (but then you’d need more than 2 pieces!)

Here’s the recipe for the homemade olive oil mayo, adapted from the one in The Whole30 Book:

  • One egg
  • One tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/4 cup light olive oil (not extra-virgin! It won’t emulsify right)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard power

1. Break the egg the egg (raw), pour the lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil, and the salt and mustard powder into a blender. Turn it on, and slowly drizzle in the remaining one cup of olive oil on top– as slowly as possible so it emulsifies. This should make about 1 and a half cups of mayo. Store in a jar in the fridge.

(Emulsifying trick: It really helps if the egg and lemon juice are at room temperature.)

2. Crush one large clove of garlic and whisk into three tablespoons of the olive oil mayo.

Lebanese recipe mezza summer tomato


I’m all about tomatoes this time of year! I started to notice summer tomatoes when I first read French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano, in which she highlights seasonal foods and recipes and shares her Simple Summer Tomato Salad recipe.

See my previous recipe posts:


Fresh Pasta Recipe for a Romantic Night at Home

Romantic pasta night recipe fresh cherry tomato

It’s all about balance!

While we probably shouldn’t eat pasta every night, it’s perfect for the occasional quick yet delicious dinner for two– with a glass (or two) of red wine. And with homemade pasta dishes, you at least know what you’re putting into the sauce.

I love this super simple 5-minute tomato sauce recipe made from scratch with whole ingredients. I adapted it into an even simpler version that we love having once every several weeks for a special dinner at home. It really does take five minutes to cook and a few other minutes to chop the onions and garlic– Fifteen minutes total if you count the time it takes to cook the pasta!


  • 1 box of Farfalle pasta (16 oz)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes (16 oz. I use the Trader Joe’s pack)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped (We always have some Parsley at home!)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (You can add some more salt to taste once it’s cooked).

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or pot. Add the green onions and garlic for 1 minute. Then, add the tomatoes, salt, parsley and basil for two minutes. Finally, mix in the cooked pasta and stir over heat for 2 minutes.

And done! Delicious, quick meal that you and a loved one can enjoy together, with some leftovers for later. (Double the recipe if you’re more than 2 people…)


See also: