Fresh Tomato Salad

This flavor-popping marinated balsamic tomato salad with fresh herbs is the best way to use juicy ripe summer tomatoes. In a word: wow.

Tomato salad

It doesn’t feel like summer until that first savory sweet bite of an heirloom tomato. Alex and I are admittedly tomato obsessed. Here’s a salad that captures all the beauty of tomato season: balsamic tomato salad! It’s all about simplicity: tomatoes and herbs, marinaded in balsamic and olive oil for 30 minutes. And once you taste it: it’s truly one of the best ways to use ripe tomatoes you’ll find. Alex made it; I took one bite and said WHOA. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

Balsamic tomatoes

How to make tomato salad

As with any tomato salad, the flavor of this salad is 100% dependent on the tomatoes. Do not, we repeat, do not use anything but ripe, juicy summer tomatoes! The best tomatoes would be farmers market or garden tomatoes. Do not even think about making this salad with out of season tomatoes: it will taste mealy and sour! Once you’ve got your ripe, juicy tomatoes, this recipe is a breeze to whip up. Here’s how to make it (or jump to the recipe):

  • Slice: Slice some large, ripe tomatoes into wedges.
  • Marinade: Mix with chopped fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) at room temperature to marinade.

And that’s it! This tomato salad is bursting with summer flavor with just a few minutes of prep time. One final tip: make sure to marinade at room temperature! Refrigerating tomatoes dulls the flavors (though you can store them that way; see below).

Another great variation: Tomato Basil Salad! It’s ultra simple: ripe, juicy tomatoes marinaded with balsamic and basil.

How to tell if a tomato is ripe

How to tell if a tomato is ripe

There is actually some contention around the right way of how to tell if a tomato is ripe. According to The Washington Post, squeezing tomatoes can actually damage them! To avoid damaging the tomato, especially ones from your local small farmers at the farmers market, do the following to tell if a tomato is ripe:

  • Smell it. The tomato should give off a sweet, earthy smell.
  • Hold it. Hold it in your hand: a ripe tomato should feel heavy for its size.

Ways to serve this tomato salad

This tomato salad is perfect for serving as a summer side dish, at barbecues and any type of entertaining. It would be fantastic alongside a grilled veggie burger or grilled shrimp. Add a little frozen sangria and orzo salad and you’ve got a delightful patio meal. (Wait, now we want to make that!) Here are a few more ideas for how to serve:

Tomato salad

How to store tomatoes

Let’s talk about how to store tomatoes! Have you heard, “Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator?” This is mostly true. When you get vibrant heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market, you should set them on your counter to fully ripen. But guess what? There’s new guidance on tomatoes:

  • You can store ripe tomatoes in the fridge. Per Food52, you can actually store ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator! If they’re fully ripe, it can extend their life a few days. So if you get some lovely ripe tomatoes from the market and want them to last for a few days, the fridge is the best bet.
  • Bring to room temperature before serving. Make sure to allow refrigerated tomatoes to come to room temperature before serving. No one likes a cold tomato!
Tomato salad

More tomato salad recipes

There are so many ways to make a tomato salad! Here are some of our favorite tomato recipes that vary this concept by adding and changing up ingredients and styles of cuisine:

More with tomatoes? Try the showstopping Amazing Tomato Pie, or quick and easy Cherry Tomato Pasta with sweet blistered tomatoes.

This tomato salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Tomato salad

*Best* Fresh Tomato Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This flavor-popping marinated balsamic tomato salad with fresh herbs is the best way to use juicy ripe summer tomatoes. In a word: wow.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 46 large ripe tomatoes, heirloom or multi-colored if possible
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes into wedges, leaving the seeds attached. Cut off any tough parts of the core.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to combine.
  3. Cover and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) before serving.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Tomato salad, Balsamic tomatoes, How to tell if a tomato is ripe

Last updated: May 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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