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Twist on tomatoes isn't gourmet; it's just good

Broccoli, chicken breast and kitschy pasta shapes — admittedly an uninspired assortment of ingredients tossed together and dubbed dinner.

But what’s a cook to do when her cooking facilities lack such a basic amenity as water? After rolling my eyes at the dish bearing the tongue-in-cheek title “Hahnilini” and swearing I’d never feature something so low-brow in my blog, I found myself preparing a dead ringer this week while awaiting repairs to my home’s water line. And just as I knew they would, my kids gobbled it up.

Those devil-may-care moments of improvisation have a way of spawning beloved family dishes. Take “Skinny Tomatoes,” a finalist in the Washington Post’s 2015 Top Tomato recipe contest.

I’ve seeded my blog over the past few years with some of the judges’ favorites, including Lamb Shanks With Tomato and Thai Spot Prawns With Tomato. But I’ll admit to scoffing at the tomato-avocado mash-up texturized with raw onion and broken pretzel sticks that creator Carol Shaw Greger calls “Skinny Tomatoes.” She says she added crunch to the dish with pretzel sticks in a fit of frustration over chopping raw celery.

That weird twist is just the kind of thing that my husband happens to love. And I suspect, in this case, that it may be just the thing to distract him from his distaste for chunks of raw tomato.

It may not be gourmet, but it can still be good.

Skinny Tomatoes

10 yellow pear/teardrop tomatoes, sliced or quartered (may substitute Sun Gold tomatoes)

10 grape tomatoes, sliced or quartered

1 or 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

Flesh of 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed

1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped (optional)

5 thick, salted large pretzels or pretzel rods, broken up into small bite-size pieces

In a mixing bowl, toss together the tomatoes, avocado and onion, if using, until well blended. Add the pretzels and toss gently to incorporate.

Divide among individual plates or bowls; serve right away (or pretzels get soggy). Makes 6 servings.

Photo by Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post.