Tomato salad is a refreshing and juicy recipe to savor the sweet, tangy, and earthy flavor of ripe tomatoes.

Our recipe is seasoned with fresh basil, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; it’s excellent as a starter, side, or light main dish.

Tomato salad recipe on a white platter

Tomato and onion salad is refreshing, easy to put together, and perfect to cool you down during the scorching summer months.

Serve it with crusty bread to soak up the flavorful tomato juices; it’s perfect for a simple light lunch, appetizer, or side dish.

We encourage you to mix different tomato varieties to play with colors, shapes, and texture.

For more inspiration, check out the “variations” chapter below, where we show you more ideas for creative and delicious tomato salads.

Italian tomato salad
Marinated tomato salad variation with chopped celery, grated carrot, and thinly sliced red onion.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Tomato salad ingredients

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Tomatoes

The tomatoes should be ripe but still firm and not overly ripe.

Pick tomatoes of different varieties, textures, and colors. Also, the tomatoes must be at room temperature to appreciate their taste.

Meaty and colorful tomatoes grown in the summer season will make all the difference.

So, if you have a farmer’s market nearby, you could try to get your fresh tomatoes there. Your fresh garden tomatoes would also be excellent.

You’ll find more varieties than in the supermarket, and the tomatoes will be much more beautiful and tasty.

If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, choose more common tomato varieties such as cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes.

Our local farmer Luca brought us many delicious tomato varieties, including Heirloom tomatoes, Japanese Black Trifele, Gold Dust, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, Yellow Cherry, Roma Tomato, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, and more.

mixed tomato varieties

Red onion

Thinly sliced red onion adds a sharp, almost spicy flavor to the salad, perfectly complementing the sweet and slightly acidic tomato flavor.

Our favorite red onion is Tropea onion due to its mild and sweet flavor.

If a raw red onion is too sharp, try soaking it in cold water for 10 minutes before adding it to the salad.

Alternatively, substitute shallot for onion.

Olive oil

We recommend using good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Vinegar

We like our tomato salad with balsamic vinegar because it’s sweeter and less acidic than most vinegar.

If you don’t have balsamico, try red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or champagne vinegar.

We don’t recommend using lemon juice; we find it too acidic in this simple salad.

There’s no need to make a vinaigrette for this recipe by mixing oil and vinegar in a small bowl beforehand.

Basil

Fresh basil leaves and tomatoes are a match made in heaven. They are a staple combination in Italian cuisine, and for a good reason.

Basil has a round, sweet, mellow aroma that melds perfectly with the sweetness and freshness of the tomatoes.

If you don’t have basil, add other suitable fresh herbs: finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, dill, chives, fresh oregano, and mint.

Salt and Pepper

Tomatoes need salt. Good, tasty sea salt or kosher salt brings out their flavor, making them super palatable.

Also, freshly ground black pepper adds the perfect spice and aroma to this tomato summer salad.

Other ingredients

Chopped celery, grated carrots, diced cucumber, avocado, kalamata olives, corn, feta cheese, chopped lettuce, fresh mozzarella balls, burrata, and crushed garlic clove are simple ingredients that you can easily add to this salad to make it even tastier.

Check out our “variations chapter below to see how we do a delicious Italian marinated tomato salad with celery, carrot, and more.

mixed tomato salad recipe

How to make tomato salad

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Finely chop the red onion, then separate the onion layers by pinching them with your fingers.

finley chopped onion

Soak the onion in cold water for 10 minutes if you want a milder flavor. In the meantime, chop the tomatoes.

soaking the onion in cold water

Chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces.

Cut small round tomatoes in half, long and narrow tomatoes in discs or wedges, and larger round tomatoes into wedges.

We recommend cutting tomatoes with a serrated knife or a paring knife with a serrated edge. This way, slicing through them without squishing them will be easier.

chopped tomatoes

Add the chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion (take out of the water), chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to a large bowl.

ingredients in a mixing bowl

Toss well with two spoons, and set aside 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve in the same bowl or on a serving platter, with some slices of crusty sourdough bread on the side.

mixed tomato salad recipe

Serving suggestions

As a side dish

You can serve tomato salad as a side dish with an easy dinner. We highly recommend it as a side with pasta, pizza, risotto, and soups.

As an appetizer or light meal

You can serve this tomato salad in smaller portions with toasted bread. Almost like a bruschetta with tomatoes. Pair it with:

Variations

Marinated Italian Tomato Salad

Italian tomato salad with onion, celery, and carrot.

You’ll need beefsteak tomatoes plus celery and carrots.

First, remove the stem of the beefsteak tomatoes, then slice them into 1/3-inch slices (about 0.8 cm). Arrange the slices on a single layer, without overlapping, onto a serving plate.

Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Add finely chopped onion, celery, grated carrot, and basil. Add another tiny oil drizzle, a small salt pinch, and pepper.

Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving it with fresh crusty bread to soak up all the tomatoes’ juices.

Panzanella

panzanella salad in a serving bowl

Panzanella is an Italian tomato and bread salad in which the bread is soaked in water and mixed with fresh tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.

It’s the best recipe for the summer as it’s refreshing, satisfying, and delicious.

Check out our Panzanella recipe.

Tomato and Lettuce Salad

tomato and lettuce salad

Want a tomato salad that is even fresher and crunchier? Then try adding chopped romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce to the tomato mix.

You can also add chopped cucumber, a grated carrot, and a chopped celery stalk. The seasoning is the same with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper.

Avocado and Tomato Salad

Avocado Salad in a white bowl

Creamy avocado and fresh tomatoes meld perfectly in a delicious creamy summer salad.

Check out our avocado salad recipe.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

tomato salad with cucumber

Crunchy cucumber and sweet tomatoes are a perfect match.

Check out our cucumber tomato salad recipe.

Storage

Make ahead: this recipe is best when made 30 minutes to 3 hours ahead. The tomatoes seasoned in salt and vinegar will lose their water and crunch after a few hours, so keep that in mind.

Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Take it out of the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving it. Tomatoes taste best at room temperature.

arugula and cucumber salad

Questions

What is a tomato salad made of?

A simple tomato salad is made of fresh tomatoes, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper, and fresh basil leaves.

What can I put on raw tomatoes?

Raw tomatoes are delicious with extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil leaves, grated carrot, chopped celery, and optionally fresh mozzarella cheese.

What does tomato taste good with?

Tomato tastes good with extra virgin olive oil, salt, crusty bread, garlic, cucumber, and most kinds of lettuce.

More Tomato Recipes

If you enjoy cooking with fresh tomatoes, take a peek at these wholesome and vibrant recipes using cherry tomatoes:

  • Bruschetta (fresh tomatoes, bread, balsamic vinegar, basil, olive oil, etc.)
  • Tomato confit (cherry tomatoes, sugar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, etc.)
  • Easy tomato galette (pie crust, ricotta, cherry tomatoes, lemon, oregano, etc.)
  • Stuffed tomatoes (rice, spinach, chickpeas, cumin, vegetable broth, garlic, etc.)
  • Cherry tomato pasta (pasta, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, red pepper flakes, etc.)

More Salad Recipes

Tomato salad recipe with basil leaves

Tomato Salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 4 votes
Tomato salad is a refreshing and juicy recipe to savor the sweet, tangy, and earthy flavor of ripe tomatoes.
Our recipe is seasoned with fresh basil, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; it's excellent as a starter, side, or light main dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Appetizer, Side dish
Cuisine: American Italian

Ingredients

  • pound tomatoes pick 2 or 3 varieties (cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes)
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves

Instructions 

  • Finely chop ½ red onion and separate its layers by pinching them.
    finley chopped onion
  • For a milder onion flavor, soak the onion in cold water for 10 minutes.
    soaking the onion in cold water
  • Chop 1½ pound tomatoes into bite-size pieces.
    chopped tomatoes
  • To a large bowl, add tomatoes, onion, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and 1 handful fresh basil leaves.
    ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • Toss well and set aside 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
    Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve with crusty bread.
    mixed tomato salad recipe

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of tomato salad out of 4.
STORAGE
Make ahead: this recipe is best when made 30 minutes to 3 hours ahead. The tomatoes seasoned in salt and vinegar will lose their water and crunch after a few hours, so keep that in mind.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Take it out of the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving it. Tomatoes taste best at room temperature.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 431mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1444IU, Vitamin B6: 0.2mg, Vitamin C: 24mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 20µg, Calcium: 23mg, Folate: 28µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 0.2mg, Magnesium: 21mg, Zinc: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”ctaY5aAF” upload-date=”2021-08-13T00:00:00.000Z” name=”Tomato cucumber onion salad” description=”This tomato cucumber onion salad is a crunchy, refreshing, simple dish that you can enjoy as a starter or as a side dish. Pick your favourite tomatoes, we love Roma tomatoes, a crunchy cucumber, and sweet red onion.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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