Kicking Back With Checca

Summertime cooking always means lots of grilling. This summer go beyond marinade to boost the flavor of your grilled steak, chicken, and seafood. Since this season is also tomato time, use checca as a simple way to enhance both the look and the taste of whatever it is you’re grilling. There’s no stove or oven required, just chopping fresh ingredients and tossing them together – it doesn’t get any easier than this!

Here are our favorite California Chef checca recipes, and, of course, they are all healthy! In fact, the main ingredient for any checca recipe is tomatoes, which are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamins A and C. Tomatoes are good for your heart, bones, hair, and skin, so try all of the healthy recipes below and see which is your favorite!


1. Simple Checca (serves 4)

1 cup seeded diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable broth

Salt & pepper to taste


2. Kickin’ Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup chopped pepperoncini.

Replace black pepper with crushed red pepper.


3. Cheesy Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.


 4. Lemon Caper Checca (serves 4)

Start with the Simple Checca.

Add ¼ cup capers.

Replace vegetable broth with fresh lemon juice.


The choice of tomatoes is yours. Roma tomatoes are a traditional favorite, but with a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes available, it can be fun to choose alternatives. Here are a few of my favorites:

Aunt Ruby’s German Green – Well balanced, and a little zesty. If you’re lucky, these large green tomatoes will be pink on the inside to give added color to your dish.

Cherokee Purple – One of the most popular heirlooms. These look especially beautiful on chicken and whitefish.

Sweet Pea – Hands down the cutest tomato ever! Use them whole and they add a little pop to each bite.

Yellow Pear – So sweet and delicious, these really are nature’s candy. There is no need to chop these; just slice them in half.

Combining these tomatoes makes a beautiful presentation and gives added flavor dimensions. Let me know your favorite tomato and which checca you like best.

For more healthy recipes, go to

Heirloom tomatoes from
the California Chef garden



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