Tomato Salad Recipe

A simple tomato salad - a staple of Italian living during the summer months
One of the reasons I love the summer season is the availability of locally grown tomatoes and hence the amount of times I can utilize our tomato salad recipe for lunch or dinner..  Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and, like extra virgin olive oil, are a staple of eating well.  My favorite Summer-time use for tomatoes is the simple and elegant tomato salad; here’s our basic tomato salad recipe:

Tomato Salad
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegetables, Side
Serves: 2-3
  • 3-4 local or homegrown tomatoes (avoid generic supermarket tomatoes at all costs)
  • ¼ cup of high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • salt (Kosher variety is best)
  • pepper (freshly ground)
  • dried oregano (if you can avoid the generic oregano from big box markets then do so and buy a product from Italy).
  • ½ red onion (medium sized)
  • Fresh basil (minimum 10 medium sized leafs)
  • One medium sized cucumber (with seeds and skin removed)
  1. Dice the tomatoes into small wedge and place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Next, slice the onions into thin pieces (large chunks aren't very good, as a fresh red onion will take a while to "mellow down") and place in bowl.
  3. Add lots of salt (tomatoes and salt are best friends) and a dash of pepper, as well as the dried oregano (remember to crush the oregano in your hands to release the flavor).
  4. Finally, add your olive and basil (don't cut basil with a knife rather shred it with your hands to release the oils in the leaves) and mix well.
Do not let the finished salad sit too long when dressed because the tomatoes will soften and you'll turn the mixture into one big bowl of tomato soup. You can certainly let the salad sit for a few minutes to let the salt work with the tomatoes and other ingredients, but please do not let the mixture "marinate" or sit on your counter for a long period of time.

I usually like to let the salad sit for a few minutes so that all the nice juices in the bowl can blend together and do their magic. Also, although I didn’t cite the ingredient above you will need a good loaf of bread to go with the tomato salad. In fact, I’d say good bread is a requirement as you’ll probably want to mop up the olive oil in the bowl!

Photo courtesy of Naru Raghaven and his NJ backyard farm
A version of tomato salad with fresh whole milk mozzarella
Tomato salad with the addition of hot green peppers



  1. Im jumping over from the garden web and I just want to say how refreshing it is to see your two simple recipes, two of my favorites, linguini w/garlic & tomato salad, posted here. I have to tell you that I grew up eating this food…so simple to make with the key being fresh ingredients. I can make a meal out of that tomoato salad with good loaf of italian bread.
    The reason i say its refreshing to see is because its pretty identical to how my Italian parents/grandparents make these two dishes. So often when you see recipes online or in books for the tomato salad people drown it in vinegar, balsamic or whatever on it. They don’t understand that it does not need it. If you have some good ripe garden (Jersey) tomatoes, good olive oil, fresh basil and are not afraid of salt..its magic. You are the first person that I have seen, other than my family, to make it this way. I think sometimes people try to get too fancy or make the food seem too complicated when it doesn’t have to be. Italian food is simple, local, good fresh ingredients. Thank you!

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    I have attempted this salad several times this summer and have been disappointed every single time.
    Looking forward to 2011 already!

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