This Marinated Tomato Salad is fresh and light and every bite tastes like summer sunshine! It’s super easy to make and goes with almost everything! Don’t miss this one!!!
Summer is here, which means that very soon, there will be an abundance of delicious, ripe tomatoes. The kind of tomatoes that are so juicy and full of flavor you just want to bite into them like an apple.
The entire rest of the year, most of the tomatoes you find in the grocery store are sad, pale, pink shadows of what a real tomato should look and taste like. It’s just depressing.
I wouldn’t dare make a recipe that features tomatoes as a main ingredient with the pitiful excuse for garden fresh tomatoes that sit on the shelves during the fall and winter. Heck, I wouldn’t even put some of those tomatoes on a burger!
Fresh, ripe, beautiful, bright red tomatoes that come around during this time of the year are the only ones that will do in a recipe where the tomatoes are supposed to shine. There’s something about them that just can’t be replicated in the greenhouse grown varieties sold during the rest of the year.
If you have any friends, family members, or neighbors who garden, you know that before long, people will be trying to give you homegrown tomatoes by the bagful. This isn’t really a problem considering that fresh tomatoes straight from the garden are one of life’s greatest pleasures, but they don’t last long once they’re picked and a good tomato is a terrible thing to waste!
When you find yourself with more tomatoes than you know what to do with, this marinated tomato salad is an awesome recipe to help you use some of them up
I’ve been searching for the perfect tomato salad for a long time. First, I tried a tomato onion salad recipe that I found in one of my cookbooks. It was good, but it just felt like it was missing something. Then, I made a cherry tomato salad recipe that I found online. It turned out a little bit better, but it still didn’t quite have that “wow” factor I was looking for.
But then, I made this tomato salad. And guys, I think I found the one. It’s refreshing and delicious with a perfect combination of flavors. It has a little subtle spiciness from the baby arugula, an earthy sweetness from the basil, and a creaminess from the chèvre cheese that’s a great contrast to the other textures. Plus, chèvre makes everything feel a little fancy!
These ingredients alone are so good that you probably wouldn’t even need a dressing, but trust me—you want this dressing. It’s a simple but flavorful homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic that makes me think of this recipe as an Italian tomato salad . It compliments the vegetables and herbs without overwhelming them and really lets those tomatoes shine.
Personally, I like it just how it is, but you could turn this into a tomato cucumber salad recipe if you’ve got a bunch of cucumbers to use up as well. Just dice ‘em up and throw ‘em in, no other changes necessary.
This salad is basically summer in a bowl. It has enough flavor to stand on its own as an entree, and it makes a wonderful lunch or dinner on those days that are so hot you don’t even want to turn on a single burner.
It also goes great with pretty much anything as a side dish, but it’s particularly amazing with grilled food. The recipe makes enough to serve two as a main dish or four as a side, but it’s a breeze to scale up or down, so you could easily double or triple it to take to a potluck or cookout. It’s guaranteed to impress.
So if you’re as excited as I am about the first perfectly ripe tomatoes of the season, treat them right. Use them in a recipe that honors them for what they are—a reminder of all the best things about summer.
Timing: Make sure to read through the whole recipe before you get started so you have an idea of how the timing works on each step. The recipe is easy-peasy, but there is an element of timing!
The tomatoes need to rest for a while after you salt them, which helps them to absorb the excess liquid so the finished salad doesn’t turn out watery. It’s an important step, so don’t skip it!
After salting and resting the tomatoes, they need about 15 minutes to marinate in the dressing and really soak up those flavors. This is a very simple tomato salad , but the resting and marinating combined add up to about 45 minutes, so be sure to plan ahead!
Tomatoes: You want the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find for this recipe because they’re the star ingredient. They should be plump and heavy with no bruises or soft spots. A great way to tell that a tomato will be packed with flavor is to give it a sniff, right at the top where the stem is—if it has a strong, sweet, “tomatoey” smell, you can almost bet it’s going to taste amazing.
I used all red tomatoes for mine, but if you’ve got a bunch of garden fresh heirloom tomatoes in different colors, feel free to use several different ones. The mix of colors would make this salad even more beautiful than it already is!
Cheese: There are a lot of tomato mozzarella salad recipes out there, but I decided to make mine with chèvre instead. Chèvre is the French word for goat’s milk cheese. It’s got an awesome tangy flavor and can be soft and creamy, or firmer and crumbly. I used a crumbly variety in my recipe. The tartness of the cheese goes beautifully with the brightness of the tomatoes in this salad.
You could make this tomato salad with feta or blue cheese if you can’t get ahold of chèvre, but if you can find it, try the chèvre. Trust me on this one—it’s incredible!
Dressing: For the dressing in this salad, I like to use red wine vinegar. But, when it comes to tomato salad, balsamic vinegar is never a bad choice! It’s a little sweet, so it would add some complexity to the vinaigrette, and combined with the basil, it would give this salad a caprese twist.
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Source: Slightly Adapted from Cook’s County
Marinated Tomato Salad
- 4 Large Ripe Tomatoes Cored and Cut Into 1/2 Inch Wedges
- 1/2 Plus 1/8 or to Taste Divided Salt
- 2 Cups Baby Arugula
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Clove Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon or to Taste Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Chevre Crumbled
- 1. In a medium bowl, sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and gently mix. Transfer tomatoes to a triple paper towel lined baking sheet and allow tomatoes to drain for 15 minutes. Flip tomatoes and continue to drain another 15 minutes.
- 2. Place drained tomatoes to a medium bowl. Add arugula, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and, very gently, toss until seasoning is evenly distributed. Allow salad to marinade for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle salad with cheese and serve.