This tomato salad recipe is ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and red onions, all tossed together in a zesty garlic and herb dressing. A classic summer salad that never goes out of style!

When it’s warm outside, I turn to cooling salads like watermelon salad, creamy cucumber salad, and this refreshing tomato salad. This salad makes the perfect side dish or light main course for entertaining.

A bowl of tomato salad garnished with fresh basil.

As we head into the warmer months, one thing I’m excited about is summer produce. In the summer there are so many great options from melons to berries to corn, and of course, tomatoes. This tomato salad showcases the finest that summer has to offer. It’s a bright and refreshing salad that pairs perfectly with dishes such as air fryer salmon, chicken milanese or Cajun shrimp.

Tomato Salad Ingredients

Bowls of ingredients including tomatoes, basil, cheese, onions, olive oil and seasonings.

The primary components of this dish are fresh tomatoes, basil, red onions and mozzarella balls. The salad dressing is consists of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, sugar, garlic, black pepper and oregano.

How Do You Make Tomato Salad?

This recipe starts with the ripest tomatoes you can find. Of course, if you can grow your own tomatoes they’ll have the best flavor, but the farmer’s market is also a great place to look. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces and mix them with fresh mozzarella balls, thinly sliced red onion and whole basil leaves. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until everything is well mixed. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, then toss to combine. You can serve your salad immediately, or let the tomatoes marinate in the dressing in the fridge for up to 2 hours.

Step by step shots showing how to prepare tomato salad.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • I use bocconcini mozzarella balls for this salad. These little cheese bites come packed in water in tubs in the deli area. You can also use diced fresh mozzarella if you prefer.
  • I like to keep my basil leaves whole so that they don’t turn black in the salad. If you’d like to chop your basil that’s fine too, just be aware that cut basil leaves will discolor as they sit in the salad.
  • I use a mandoline to shave my red onion into the thinnest possible slices.
  • I recommend serving your salad as soon as possible, as the tomatoes can get mealy in texture if they sit in the fridge.

Quick Tip

For extra flavor, try adding a drizzle of balsamic glaze over the top of the finished salad.

A close up of tomatoes mixed with basil, mozzarella and red onion.

Recipe FAQs

What tomato is best for salad?

This salad can be made with almost any type of tomato. You can use a variety of heirloom tomatoes for a super colorful end result, or even cherry tomatoes for a different look and flavor. In this particular case, I’ve used small vine ripened tomatoes that have been cut into quarters. I prefer to use tomatoes that don’t contain a lot of seeds, such as Roma tomatoes.

How do you make tomato salad taste better?

The key to a good tomato salad is ripe tomatoes. The off-season, pink tomatoes during the winter at the grocery store will not produce a good salad. Once you have your ripe tomatoes, you can enhance the flavors with a little salt and sugar, like is used in the dressing of this recipe.

How do you cut tomatoes for a salad?

The general rule of thumb is that your tomatoes should be in bite sized pieces. If you’re using a larger tomato, you may want to coarsely chop it. Medium and small tomatoes can be cut into slices or wedges, and cherry tomatoes can be cut in half.

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A spoon serving up a portion of tomato salad.

Tomato Salad Variations

You can add so many different ingredients to this salad to make it your own and customize the flavors.

  • Vegetables: You can try adding bell peppers, sliced kalamata olives, marinated artichokes, corn or avocado.
  • Protein: Make this a main course by adding cooked shrimp, chicken, bacon, white beans or chickpeas.
  • Fresh Herbs: Swap out the basil for green onions, dill or parsley.
  • Cheese: Use cubed provolone cheese, feta cheese or shaved parmesan in lieu of mozzarella.

I make this salad multiple times a week when tomatoes are in season. It takes just minutes to put together, and the flavors are a classic combination that can’t be beat.

More Summer Salad Recipes

Tomato Salad Video

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5 from 42 votes

Tomato Salad

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of tomato salad garnished with fresh basil.
This tomato salad recipe is ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and red onions, all tossed together in a zesty garlic and herb dressing. A classic summer salad that never goes out of style!
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time11 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 5 cups tomatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup bocconcini mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup small basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Place the tomatoes, mozzarella balls, red onion and basil in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the dressing over the tomato mixture and gently toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Notes

  1. I like to keep my basil leaves whole so that they don’t turn dark colored in the salad. If you’d like to chop your basil that’s fine too, just be aware that cut basil leaves will discolor as they sit in the salad.
  2. I use a mandoline to shave my red onion into the thinnest possible slices.
  3. I recommend serving your salad as soon as possible, as the tomatoes can get mealy in texture if they sit in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1035IU | Vitamin C: 17.5mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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5 from 42 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such a tasty and refreshing salad! Definitely making this again because the weather will only get hotter

  2. 5 stars
    My garden is overflowing with tomatoes so I’ve been making this a few times each week! It’s wonderful!

  3. 5 stars
    Talk about a juicy summer salad! I’m looking forward to having this again for lunch tomorrow!

  4. 5 stars
    This was such a great salad with dinner last night! I will be enjoying this all season long; it’s delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    This looks absolutely delicious! Yummy! This is seriously making me hungry!

  6. This reminds me a lot of a salad my Grandma used to make with red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers. But it has a caprese vibe to it! I can’t wait to try it!

  7. 5 stars
    A great use for summer tomatoes! Last year I had a way too many, but now I have a tasty way to help use them all.

  8. 5 stars
    This salad I could enjoy daily! I love the garlic and herb dressing and all the fresh flavors of summer.

  9. 5 stars
    The perfect way to use up those summer tomatoes! I absolutely love that dressing. I am saving this recipe for later this summer.