This marinated tomato salad is perfect for a light summer meal or side dish. A simple and delicious Meatless Monday recipe!
There’s nothing quite like summer tomatoes. I haven’t always felt this way about fresh tomatoes. I used to hate raw tomatoes but have grown to adore them. This is more proof that you need to revisit and taste food over the years.
This salad tastes just like summer! It’s perfect for lunch on a hot summer day or served as a side for any meal.
What is Marinated Tomato Salad?
Vine-ripened tomatoes marinate with thinly sliced onions in a delicious dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Most recipes stop here, but why stop here?
The marinated tomatoes and onions are then nested on a bed of cool crisp romaine lettuce with fresh mozzarella cheese.
What You’ll Need To Make This Salad
- Tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes; you can use any tomatoes on hand, as long as they are fresh ripe and juicy! Use a combination of ripe tomatoes if you have them to spare.
- Onion: Red onions work the best in salads because they are mild and offer delicious purple color.
For the Marinade
- Oil: I use extra-virgin olive oil for almost everything, but you can use whatever oil you like.
- Vinegar: Red wine vinegar is mild and offers a delicious sweet tang to the tomatoes.
Substitutes: White wine vinegar, white vinegar. If using apple cider vinegar, half the amount.
- Seasoning: Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. The salt is essential to the marinade because it draws the juice out of the tomatoes and intensifies the flavor. Salt also brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
For the Salad
- Lettuce: Romaine is my favorite, and when freshly chopped, it’s crispy and crunchy. I love the texture of romaine, which offsets the softness of the tomatoes and cheese.
- Cheese: Whole mozzarella cheese works best, diced into bite-sized pieces. You could also use feta cheese, burrata, or provolone cheese.
- Dressing: Salad dressing is entirely optional. In my opinion, dressing is not needed.
Between the marinade and the juicy released from the tomatoes, it’s a dressing within itself. I recommend ranch or balsamic vinegar if you need dressing, but you can use any salad dressing you want.
How to Make Marinated Tomato Salad
- Rinse and Cut: Rinse the tomatoes and onions, then cut and slice.
- Toss: Toss the tomatoes and onions with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Marinate: Cover and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature
- Prepare the Salad: Divide the lettuce and spoon the tomatoes and some of their juices into individual serving plates or small bowls. Toss in the cheese.
- Serve: Serve with natural marinade juices or pour over your favorite salad dressing if desired.
- Always store tomatoes at room temperature.
- The marinade works better if you cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. For whole tomatoes, Cut into wedges, and then cut the wedges in half again so they fit into your mouth without having to cut them.
- For best results, allow the tomatoes and onions to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving. Marinating enables the tomatoes to have time to release their juices.
- Keep the tomatoes and onions separate from the other ingredients of the salad until you are ready to serve.
- This salad can be made up to 24 hours ahead,s but you will need to refrigerate it. Always serve this salad at room temperature.
- If it’s not Meatless Monday, add grilled or roasted chicken to this salad and call it dinner!
Any juicy summer vine-ripened tomatoes will work. Cherry, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes work. Just cut them so that they are easy to eat in a salad. Use a combination of ripe tomatoes if you have them to spare.
Keep the tomatoes and onions separate from the other ingredients and store them covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. After that, the tomatoes will become mushy and not that great to eat in a salad.
Marinated Tomato Salad
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes or any kind (see notes)
- ¼ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- ½ cup whole mozzarella cheese diced
- Ranch Dressing or salad dressing of choice (optional)
Marinate the Tomatoes:
- Rinse the tomatoes and quarter each placing them into a medium bowl.
- Thinly slice the red onion and add them to the bowl of tomatoes.
- Toss the tomatoes and onions with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.
- Cover and allow the tomatoes to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature tossing every now and then so that the tomatoes are coated well.
Prepare the Salads:
- Divide the lettuce and spoon the tomatoes and some of their juices into individual serving bowls. Toss in mozzarella cheese and drizzle with ranch dressing if desired.