Italian Tomato Salad (insalata di pomodori)
This simple Italian tomato salad can be ready in just 10 minutes! Is fresh, sweet, and with a tangy kick, perfect to pair with your favorite proteins.
Insalata di pomodori
Italian tomato salad called insalata di pomodori in Italian is a simple and easy contorno (side dish) served mostly in summer to pair with grilled proteins like beef, pork, chicken, or fish.
This salad is great as a side dish but actually is also served sometimes as a main course with crusty bread or focaccia. At home, we like to serve it with homemade bread and fresh mozzarella for an easy hassle-free dinner on any summer night.
The amazing thing about this Italian tomato salad is its versatility. The recipe I am sharing with you today is just a basic and simple recipe that you could easily turn into something more substantial by adding olives, cheese, anchovies, capers, beans, or even canned tuna.
Just as panzanella, this simple salad is one of my favorites in summer.
What Tomatoes To Use
Don’t bother so much trying to find the best tomatoes for this salad. Just make sure tomatoes are ripe but firm. Actually, you can make this side dish with any fresh tomatoes you have available at home.
From beefsteak, grape, roma, and cherry tomatoes, to on the vine or heirloom tomatoes. And, if you want to bring your fresh tomato salad to the next level, you can add a mix of various types of tomatoes.
At home, we like to make this recipe using cuore di bue tomatoes, in the US and other parts of the world you’ll find them as beefsteak tomatoes or oxheart tomatoes.
No matter the types of tomatoes I use, this salad is a family favorite and a staple at any gatherings or cookouts.
About the other ingredients
Besides the tomatoes, other ingredients are equally important, like adding the best quality of extra virgin olive oil you can find (and afford).
Italians always say that even the most simple dish, such as bruschetta con l’olio (toasted bread and oil) will taste like heaven if is made with a good extra virgin olive oil.
For obvious reasons, we always use Italian extra virgin olive oil. But of course, other countries also produce excellent quality olive oil, such as Spain or Greece. Find the one that suits better to your taste.
The oil you see in the picture is an artisan product made just a few miles from our home. We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful province that produces amazing olive oil and we take advantage of this by buying always our oil from a friend.
Vinegar is another ingredient to look for. An Italian tomato salad will always include vinegar, red wine vinegar or white doesn’t matter but you’ll find it in almost every simple salad recipe in this country.
Add just a splash to bring out the flavors, if you add so much you’ll end up cooking the tomatoes and onions.
Red onions and romaine lettuce are two optional ingredients that I personally love in my insalata di pomodori. Feel free to leave them out if you don’t want them or replace them with another type of lettuce/onions.
How To Make Italian Tomato Salad Recipe
Notes and tips
- Remember that fresh tomatoes can take a lot of salt, so add a little bit more than you usually do for other dishes.
- Allow the tomatoes to macerate for a few minutes so everything will absorb the wonderful fresh flavors of the tomato juices.
- Try to add the best extra virgin olive oil you can, this will make the difference in this recipe.
- Add other fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or fresh oregano.
- Add other seasonings like garlic or black pepper if you want.
- You can also add a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
Eat with toasted bread, like this easy homemade bread. Or with this soft olives focaccia for a quick lunch.
You can also serve this fresh tomato salad to complement other Italian dishes like lasagna bolognese, roasted chicken, or Italian meatballs.
How To Store
Let me start by telling you that this simple Italian tomato salad is best eating it fresh, just as you made it. Besides, it is so easy to make, that you don’t really need to make it days ahead or prepare more than you intend to eat.
Being said that, if you got some leftovers, just transfer them into a glass container with a tight lid and pop them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Verdure gratinate al forno – Fresh vegetables topped with breadcrumbs and roasted in the oven.
- Italian zesty pasta salad – A salad that contains everything for a complete meal.
- Peperonata – Italian peppers stewed in a scrumptious tomato sauce.
- Bruschetta al pomodoro – Classic Italian toasted bread with a topping of ripe tomatoes.
- Caprese Salad – Known as Insalata caprese, this recipe also features tomatoes along with fresh mozzarella.
Italian Tomato Salad
- 3 large oxheart tomatoes (cut into chunks)
- 1 medium red onion (sliced)
- 1 small romaine lettuce (washed and ready to serve)
- extra virgin oilive oil (as needed)
- vinegar (just a splash)
- oregano (as needed)
- fresh basil leaves (chopped)
- salt (as needed)
- Add tomatoes, onions, and basil in a bowl.
- Add a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar.
- Season with salt and oregano, give a good mix and allow the salad to macerate for 5 minutes.
- Right before serving, tear lettuce leaves with your hands in small pieces and add with the other ingredients.
- Toss everything to coat perfectly and adjust with salt if necessary. Serve immediately.
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Loved the simplicity of this Italian tomato salad! The flavor was so fresh and summery. My husband loved it and he practically finished the whole bowl by himself 😅
Next time I’ll double the ingredients and make a large batch!