The secret to my best tomato salad lies not in using costly nor an extensive list of ingredients, but in how it’s constructed. Rather than shaking up a dressing, thick wedges of tomato are sprinkled with minced garlic, shallots and salt, drizzled with olive oil and vinegar then gently tossed before finishing with a sprinkle of basil.
The result? Flavour that sticks to the tomato rather than sliding off like dressing. Try it. I think you’ll love it!
My favourite tomato salad
This is a tomato salad so good, it’s exceptional made even with just-okay winter tomatoes like the ones I used yesterday when re-checking this recipe before publishing it today. So imagine how incredible it is with ripe, juicy, seasonal summer tomatoes!!!
(In case you’re wondering why I’m sharing a summer recipe in the middle of Aussie winter, it’s because half the readers of my website are in the northern hemisphere enjoying summer right now. Not jealous at all! )
Why this tomato salad is better
As I mentioned in the opening, the thing that makes this tomato salad different is that rather than shaking up a dressing which we pour over the tomatoes, we sprinkle/drizzle thick wedges of tomato with the ingredients we typically put in a dressing (olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar).
Changing up the assembly really does make a difference because you get flavour infused from the garlic, shallots and salt into the tomato in a way you can never achieve if you just pour over a dressing!
Ingredients in my favourite tomato salad
Here’s what you need for this tomato salad:
Tomatoes – Obviously the riper and more seasonal the better! This salad is intended for regular tomatoes, as pictured above. If you’ve got cherry or grape tomatoes, I’d make my Cherry Tomato Salad instead.
Basil – Classic as a pairing with tomato. But note: this salad is worth making even if you don’t have basil! I sometimes add a pinch of dried oregano or other herb instead. YUM.
Garlic – Finely minced, then sprinkled straight onto the tomato wedges so they infuse their flavour.
Eschallots (aka French onion / shallots in the US) – These are sweeter and more delicately flavoured than brown onions and red onions, making them ideal for using raw in salads. Like the garlic, it’s finely minced then sprinkled on to the salad. Try not to skip this ingredient. It’s a secret ingredient in this recipe! Substitute with the white part of green onions, finely minced. Or very finely minced red onion.
Vinegar – I like to use white wine vinegar. Also, the better the vinegar quality, the better the salad! In fact, that’s one of the key things that makes simple salads at restaurants so good: high quality oils and vinegars. Substitute with apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar.
Extra virgin olive oil – As noted above, the better the quality, the better your salad! I use economical olive oil for everyday cooking purposes and keep the expensive stuff for salads like this.
Salt and pepper – The salt draws juices out of the tomato which forms part of the dressing for this salad, as well as seasoning the tomatoes.
How to make my favourite tomato salad
Place the tomatoes in the bowl then sprinkle/drizzle with all the other ingredients except the basil. Toss to coat, add the basil and toss again. And that’s IT!
YUM. This is such a good tomato salad recipe.
Crusty grilled bread for mopping up the tomato juices that pool at the bottom of the bowl is highly encouraged. Or jam in as much tomato as you can between two thick slices of toasted bread, drizzle with an additional bit of oil. SO GOOD!
No video for this recipe because it’s such a quick ‘n easy side salad. I really want to build up my side salads collection but if I try to do a video for all of them it will never happen! So I’m only doing recipe videos for the more involved ones.
Love to know what you think if you try this! What do you think about this different way of building a tomato salad?? – Nagi x
My favourite Tomato Salad
Use everyday red tomatoes though if you can get them, heirloom tomatoes will add a great splash of colour.
- 4 ripe tomatoes (180g/ 6oz each) (Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tsp finely minced eschalots (US: shallots) (Note 2)
- 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic (use a knife, not garlic press)
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (Note 3)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt
- 2 pinches white pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely sliced basil leaves , plus extra for garnish (Note 4)
Cut the tomatoes into 8 or 10 wedges, cutting out the core. Place in a large bowl.
Sprinkle over eschallots, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
Gently toss to coat tomatoes. Add basil, toss again to disperse.
Pour into bowl and serve immediately! (Tip: Bread for mopping up the tomato juices is on point).
2. Eschallots – also known as French Onions and called “shallots” in the US. More delicate and sweeter than brown onions. Substitute with the white part of green onions, finely minced, or very finely minced red onions.
3. Vinegar – Or apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is fine too from a flavour perspective but will stain the tomatoes brown.
4. Basil – worth making even without. I like to add a pinch of dried oregano instead.
5. Nutrition per serving.
Life of Dozer
Wondering when this endless rain in Sydney is going to ease…. We all are, Dozer! It’s been 7 months solid of non-stop rain.