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Tomato Salad

When fresh tomatoes are in season, we eat them at almost every meal, and this juicy, simple marinated tomato salad recipe is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the bounty!


marinated tomato salad with basil in a bowl

All of the Goodness of Fresh Tomatoes, But Even Better

When our cherry tomato plants are going gangbusters, we’ve been known to stand in the garden popping those little juicy red beauts all afternoon. But when we can find some self control—or, in a really great year, when the flood of fresh, ripe tomatoes turns into an avalanche—we pick bowls and bowls of tomatoes and bring them inside to toss with a little olive oil, vinegar, fresh lemon and of course garlic to make this fresh, marinated tomato salad. It’s one of those magical recipes that’s actually better after a few hours, so it’s an ideal make-ahead summer side dish, or just a healthy vegetable dish to keep in the fridge for building simple weeknight meals around.

marinated tomato salad ingredients cherry tomatoes, balsamic, salt and garlic, lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil

A Tomato Salad Made From The Very Simplest Ingredients

You can use heirloom tomatoes, or regular tomatoes to make this tomato salad, but we especially love to use cherry tomatoes! If you use bigger tomatoes, just be sure to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces so that their juices can run together with the oil, vinegar and herbs. This magical salad is so simple. Quick tip: please don’t skip the salt, here! It’s really important, not just for flavor. The salt will draw the juices out of the fresh tomatoes, and those juices will do a lovely dance with all of the other ingredients to make a wonderful sauce all its own. Here’s everything you’ll need to make the magic happen:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemons
  • Basil
  • Salt
marinated tomato salad ingredients cherry tomatoes, balsamic, salt and garlic, lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil in a bowl
cherry tomatoes, balsamic, salt and garlic, lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil mixed together in a bowl

How To Make Tomato Salad

Garlicky, a little tangy, and just darn delicious, this tomato salad recipe is one of our summertimes faves. Here’s how easy it is to make:

  1. Halve or chop tomatoes. Do your best to pour or scrape any seeds and juices that spill out of the tomatoes into the salad bowl!
  2. Toss the tomatoes with all of the remaining ingredients. Pro tip: you can mince the fresh garlic with a sharp knife, but if you have a microplane grater, try grating the garlic with that instead! It’ll get insanely fine, it’ll almost liquify, which means it will meld perfectly into the rest of the tomato salad dressing.
  3. Now, set the salad aside and forget about it for at least two hours. Let the flavors mingle and marinate.
  4. Serve! Or, pop it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Just be sure to bring the salad to room temperature before serving.
marinated tomato salad ingredients cherry tomatoes, balsamic, salt and garlic, lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil

What To Serve With Fresh Tomato Salad

This is delicious straight out of the bowl—we speak from experience—but you can also use it as a way to add a little excitement to other simple dishes and meals. Here are a few ways to serve tomato salad:

  • Serve simply over good, crusty bread—maybe homemade sourdough bread, if that’s your thing—as a light lunch or hearty appetizer.
  • Toss the tomato salad with some al dente pasta for the simplest, summeriest pasta dish ever. Add some cubes of brie while the pasta is still hot, and you’ve got yourself a decadent dinner.
  • Serve it spooned over perfect soft scrambled eggs.
  • Tossed simply with some greens to make a delicious green salad—the juices from the tomato salad are all the dressing you need. Add a little feta cheese and / or slivers of red onion to dress it up a bit.

Tools You’ll Need:

tomato salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic, salt and garlic, lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil in a bowl with bread

Tomato Season, Please Stay Forever

Or at least long enough for us to make this salad a few times. When you make this fresh tomato salad, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Tomato Salad

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 39


  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (works well with fresh, diced tomatoes too)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours. Tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. For best results, bring to room temperature before serving.
  3. Serve over crusty bread, pasta, soft scrambled eggs or tossed into your favorite salad.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories39
  • Protein1 g
  • Carbohydrates4 g
  • Total Fat2 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium103 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Tomato Salad

Questions & Reviews

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  • Kerri

    This simple salad was on repeat for us last summer, making my first batch this year right now! Can't get enough of this on crustini or as a garnish on other delicious summer foods.

    Oh man, isn't it so yummy! We are so happy you love it, thanks for letting us know Kerri!

  • vivian

    This is a lovely salad, and so simple to make. It is a great side for just about any meal, and easy to remember so you can just whip it up whenever. Some sumac might be a great addition too. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Thanks so much Vivian, glad you love it!

  • Jenn

    We had so many garden tomatoes this summer and this was a fabulous way to use them! I tried it on eggs and pasta but my preferred way to eat it was on toasted sourdough.

    Yay! Thank you so much, we are so happy that you loved it!