CROUTONS: Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C) and set out a bare baking sheet.
On the baking sheet, toss the bread pieces with 2 tsp olive oil (adjust amount if altering number of servings), garlic powder, and salt and pepper to coat. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until golden, then remove from the oven and let cool.
TOMATOES: Place the tomatoes in the basket of a salad spinner or in a large fine mesh strainer set over a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp salt (adjust amount if altering number of servings) and toss to coat the tomatoes in the salt. Let the tomatoes drain for 10 minutes and save the liquid.
VINAIGRETTE: To a small bowl, add minced or pressed garlic, pinch of salt, reserved tomato juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed, adding a pinch of salt for balance, more garlic for bite, or more olive oil to mellow the flavors. Any leftover tomato juice can be reserved for adding to tomato soup or Bloody Marys (there shouldn’t be much).
SALAD: Add the strained tomatoes, chopped basil, and vinaigrette to a large serving bowl and toss to combine. When ready to serve, add croutons, microgreens, and vegan ricotta (optional) and toss lightly to incorporate.
Best enjoyed right away to maintain the croutons’ crunch, but will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator stored separately. Not freezer friendly.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with sourdough bread and without optional vegan ricotta.