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This quick and easy tomato salad recipe is the best way to highlight the natural flavor and sweetness of fresh summer tomatoes! Use cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or larger Beefsteak tomatoes, stir in basil and red onion, then dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve the salad alongside grilled chicken, steak, pasta or seafood!

Hands holding a bowl of fresh tomato salad with basil and balsamic

We’ve been enjoying the best sweet little cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market this summer, which regularly find themselves tossed in a big bowl of tomato salad. Bits of zesty red onion, snipped fresh basil, and a tangy balsamic dressing enhance the tomatoes’ sweetness and let their natural flavors shine. The simple side dish is perfect as is, but it’s also delicious with extras like feta cheese, mozzarella, cucumber or avocado.

The Best Salad Tomato

The best tomato for a salad is always the freshest, ripest garden tomato that you can get your hands on. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother making this dish during the winter or early spring months when it’s hard to come by a sweet, juicy, local tomato. Instead, save this one for the late spring, summer, and early fall, when gardens are overflowing with bright red, flavorful tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes are my top choice for this tomato basil salad. They’re the perfect size when halved, and each bite releases a sweet burst of flavor. Heirloom tomatoes or larger Beefsteak tomatoes are also great options.

How to Cut Tomatoes for Salad

If using cherry tomatoes, simply slice each tomato in half. If you have larger tomatoes, remove the stems and core the tomatoes first. Then slice each tomato in half from top to bottom. Slice each half into 4 wedges from top to bottom. Cut each wedge crosswise into about 1-inch chunks.

Side shot of the best tomato salad recipe served on a wooden farmhouse table

Ingredients

This is just an overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for a cherry tomato salad. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Tomatoes: sweet-like-candy, garden-fresh cherry tomatoes are my top pick for this dish!
  • Red onion: finely-diced for a little zesty bite.
  • Basil: the perfect companion for sweet summer tomatoes. You can also add other fresh herbs like thyme, chives, oregano or parsley, if available.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar: whisk together for a simple dressing.
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper: enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Ingredients for tomato salad recipe

How to Make Tomato Salad

This truly could not be easier! There’s no cooking involved, so your fresh tomato basil salad is ready for the table in about 10 minutes…

  1. Combine tomatoes, onion and basil in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Pour dressing over tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve immediately or let the tomatoes marinate for 30-60 minutes.
Whisking balsamic vinegar and olive oil together
Pouring balsamic dressing over a bowl of tomato salad

What to Serve with Tomato Salad

This versatile Italian tomato salad is delicious alongside almost any of your favorite entrees. Here are a few ideas that go well with fresh dish:

Side shot of two bowls of the best tomato salad recipe on a table with a chair in the background

Storage

Tomato basil salad is best enjoyed within about 1 hour of preparation, while the tomatoes and herbs are still firm and fresh. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Tomato Basil Salad Recipe Variations

  • Stir in diced avocado just before serving.
  • Fresh mozzarella or feta cheese are both tasty additions to the tomato salad.
  • Add diced cucumber — another delicious summer vegetable that pairs nicely with the fresh tomatoes.
  • Use additional fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, chives or parsley, if available.
  • Add chickpeas or white beans to turn this into a more satisfying entree salad.
Close side shot of a bowl of tomato basil salad

Tips for the Best Tomato Salad Recipe

  • Use the freshest, ripest garden tomatoes for the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes are my top pick, if available.
  • If using larger tomatoes, chop them into large chunks. You don’t want the tomato pieces too small, or they will fall apart and taste more like a salsa or relish than a hearty salad.
  • Enjoy the salad within about 1 hour of preparation for the best texture.
Close overhead shot of cherry tomato salad in a wooden bowl

More Recipes with Tomatoes

Square image of hands serving a bowl of tomato salad

Tomato Salad with Basil and Balsamic

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 66 kcal
This quick and easy tomato salad recipe is the best way to highlight the natural flavor and sweetness of fresh summer tomatoes!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped larger tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Combine tomatoes, onion and basil in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl or jar, whisk or shake together olive oil and vinegar. Pour over tomatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately, or allow the salad to marinate for about 30 minutes – 1 hour at room temperature or in the fridge (if you prefer a cold salad).

Notes

  • Stir in diced avocado just before serving.
  • Fresh mozzarella or feta cheese are both tasty additions to the tomato salad.
  • Add diced cucumber — another delicious summer vegetable that pairs nicely with the fresh tomatoes.
  • Use additional fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, chives or parsley, if available.
  • Add chickpeas or white beans to turn this into a more satisfying entree salad.
  • Use the freshest, ripest garden tomatoes for the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes are my top pick, if available.
  • If using larger tomatoes, chop them into large chunks. You don’t want the tomato pieces too small, or they will fall apart and taste more like a salsa or relish than a hearty salad.
  • Enjoy the salad within about 1 hour of preparation for the best texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the saladCalories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 13mgPotassium: 232mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 486IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: cherry tomato salad, tomato basil salad, tomato salad
Course: Salad, Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE tomatoes in any form or fashion, they are my favorite food.
    I’m sure this salad is delicious and I will probably try it. My all-time favorite salad is quick, simple and absolutely delicious. I use tons of tomatoes, mini cucumbers, avocado, fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Most delicious salad I’ve ever tasted.