I love tomato salads in the summer, and this quick salad with olive oil balsamic vinegar is one of my favorites. It’s fresh, simple, and delicious.
I love making salads in the summer. Whether main-dish salads such as a chicken cobb salad or side salads such as a creamy cucumber salad, they are tasty and fresh and save you from heating up the oven.
This simple and quick tomato salad is the side dish I make most frequently in the summer. It’s easy to make, it’s delicious, and you can make it ahead of time. What more can you ask?
The ingredients needed for this recipe
You’ll only need a few ingredients to make this tasty salad (the exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
Fresh tomatoes: I use cherry tomatoes. It’s a good idea to cut them in half so that they don’t slide off people’s forks.
Green onions: I use the green parts only. The white parts are a bit too sharp.
Olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is the most flavorful.
Balsamic vinegar: I like to use a 5-year aged vinegar when cooking, which is actually considered fairly young.
Dijon mustard: This mild and creamy mustard helps the dressing emulsify. I don’t recommend using yellow mustard in this recipe.
Orange zest: I wouldn’t skip it. It greatly enhances the flavor of the salad.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the salad could end up too salty.
How to make tomato salad
It’s so easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Mix chopped fresh tomatoes (I usually use sliced cherry tomatoes) with chopped scallions.
2. Add a tasty dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of mustard, salt, pepper, and orange zest.
3. Mix the salad, let it rest, then serve.
I would definitely encourage you not to omit the orange zest from the dressing. It adds a wonderful layer of freshness. As for the Dijon, I mostly use it to assist in emulsifying the dressing.
What tomatoes to use?
I like to use cherry tomatoes. Although you can use a similar amount of regular tomatoes, which would be about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes. It’s best to use fresh, firm summer tomatoes, and if you can get them at the farmer’s market, that’s just perfect.
Should I cut the cherry tomatoes?
I do recommend cutting them in half. Eating whole cherry tomatoes with utensils can be tricky. They tend to slide right off. Halved cherry tomatoes are easier to eat. Cutting them in half is not difficult. It just takes a little time. I timed myself today, and slicing 2 cups of small cherry tomatoes took me 5 minutes. Not too bad!
Is it true that you should never refrigerate tomatoes?
Not necessarily. Here’s a good article on the subject. I try to buy my tomatoes at the farmer’s market, avoid refrigerating them, and use them within a day or two. But if I plan on storing them for longer, I do refrigerate them. I always remove refrigerated tomatoes from the fridge 1-2 hours in advance, to allow them to get to room temperature.
What to serve with tomato salad?
Anything! It’s such a versatile side dish that goes with almost any main dish you can think of. It does go especially well with oven chicken kabobs, with baked salmon patties, and with grilled skirt steak.
In addition, I often serve this tasty salad when I make a relatively complex main dish, such as this keto spinach lasagna. Since I can make the salad in advance, it frees me to focus on the main dish.
And sometimes I turn it into a complete meal by topping it with grilled halloumi. It’s really good and makes a great lunch the next day if you have leftovers.
What about leftovers?
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Take the salad out of the fridge an hour before serving it, and mix it one more time.
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- 1 pint firm cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups; can sub chopped tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions, green parts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a serving bowl, combine the tomatoes and the green onions.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until they emulsify into a thick, velvety dressing. If the dressing seems too thick, add a teaspoon of water and mix it in.
- Pour the dressing on top of the vegetables and mix to combine.
- Let the salad rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.