Preserves in Action: Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella and Pickle Salad

September 16, 2011(updated on July 30, 2021)

tomato dill pickle salad

One day, not too far ago, I was casting around for something to eat for lunch. There was a rapidly softening tomato, a few sprigs of basil and a 1/4 cup of tiny mozzarella balls. Knowing that those items would make a nice salad, I started rummaging for something to add a bit of crunch and volume to the salad. There wasn’t a cucumber, stalk of celery or pepper to be found in my crisper.

However, there were a few dill pickle spears floating in a jar (the remains of these pickles, in fact). Roughly chopped and stirred together with the other salad components, a spoonful of the brine and glug of olive oil, it was the perfect lunch. I’ve now taken to adding dilly beans or pickled cauliflower to just about any chopped salad I make, both for the gentle crunch and the pucker they lend.

9 responses to “Preserves in Action: Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella and Pickle Salad”

  1. Wow–looks delicious! I never would have thought to add pickles, but I bet they go really well with the tomatoes and mozzarella.

  2. Marisa, here’s another idea for using your pickles in salad: make some of your soba noodles in peanut and sesame sauce (, put a nice pile of noodles on top of a bed of salad greens tossed in a citrusy and/or gingery dressing, and then top if off with a variety of pickled veggies (dilly beans, carrots, radishes, cauliflower, etc). My favorite bar serves a similar salad and I love it so much I make a version of it at home to use up my various pickles (

  3. Brilliant! I love pickles of any kind. I just never would’ve thought to put them in a salad like this. Going to give it try soon…

  4. I always add my pickled peppers to salad; delicious and no need to add dressing, just a little of the brine. I will try pickles next time. A question for you, Marisa. What do you do when your quince only produces about 10 golf ball sized quinces? Any ideas of what to add with them, or just make a small batch of quince jelly?

  5. This looks wonderful. I would never have thought to add pickles to a salad, such a good idea!

  6. This looks like a great way to finish up the remaining tomatoes in my garden. Thanks for the great idea! I never would have thought about adding pickles to a salad like this.

  7. Your Italian Plum and star anise jam inspired me to try something similar with peaches and pluots – it turned out great. Thanks for a delightful blog!

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