Italian Tomato Salad (insalata di pomodori)

This simple Italian tomato salad is a family favorite and a healthy side dish to pair with your favorite protein. Ready in just 10 minutes this fresh salad is a staple at any Italian gatherings & cookouts!

Italian tomato salad on a platter.

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 bread or focaccia. At home, we like to serve it with our easy homemade bread and fresh mozzarella for an easy hassle-free dinner any summer night.

The amazing thing about Italian tomato salad is the 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.

Tomato and onion salad on a turquoise platter.

Best Tomatoes

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, cherry to on the vine or heirloom tomatoes. And, if you want to bring your Italian 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 oxheart tomatoes.

Oxheart Tomatoes on a grey background.

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 as 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.

A bottle of extra virgin olive oil with some fresh ingredients for salad scattered around.

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 produce an 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 wine vinegar, red or white doesn’t matter but you’ll find it in almost every single salad recipe from this country. Add just a splash to bring out the flavors, if you add so much you’ll end cooking the tomatoes and onions.

The extras

Red onions and romaine lettuce are two optional ingredients that I personally love in my tomato salad. Feel free to leave them out if you want or replace them with another type of lettuce/onions.

Italian tomato salad recipe

  1. Cut tomatoes into chunks, slices, or wedges. Is really up to you. Place on a bowl and add salt to your taste. Remember that fresh tomatoes can take a lot of salt, so add a little bit more than you usually do for other dishes.
  2. Slice the red onions and add to the bowl with tomatoes.
  3. Add a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar.
  4. Season with salt and oregano, give a good mix and allow the salad to macerate for 5 minutes to allow the tomatoes to release their juices and blend all flavors together.
  5. 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.
Italian tomato salad close-up

Italian Tomato Salad

This simple Italian tomato salad is a family favorite and a healthy side dish to pair with your favorite protein. Ready in just 10 minutes this fresh salad is a staple at any Italian cookouts!
PREP 10 minutes
TOTAL 10 minutes
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Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 small romaine lettuce
  • extra virgin oilive oil (as needed)
  • vinegar (just a splash)
  • oregano (as needed)
  • salt (as needed)

Instructions

  • Cut tomatoes into chunks, slices or wedges. Is really up to you. Place on a bowl and add salt to your taste.
  • Slice the red onions and add to the bowl with tomatoes.
  • 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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