This Mexican tomato salad, known as ensalada de tomate, is an excellent way to showcase the vibrant flavors of seasonal produce and is perfect for warm weather gatherings and summer meals!
Mexican tomato salad is a light and refreshing side dish that complements a wide variety of main courses like carne asada, tacos, or enchiladas.
It is made with fresh ripe tomatoes, corn, avocado, onions, and lettuce. Everything nicely coated in a tangy dressing prepared with lime juice and herbs to create a refreshing and nutritious dish.
This refreshing ensalada de tomate (as it is called in Mexico) is so easy and quick to prepare, making it a convenient option for busy days or when you need a simple yet tasty dish!
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are the star of this Mexican tomato salad, but you can also use diced regular tomatoes.
- Onions: I like to use red onions for a touch of color. Feel free to swap with white onions.
- Avocado: Diced or sliced aguacate (avocado) adds creaminess and richness to the salad and helps to balance the spiciness.
- Chiles: This ingredient is optional, but fresh jalapeños or serrano peppers add spiciness. Feel free to leave it out if you prefer.
- Corn: Either boiled, grilled, or roasted corn kernels add sweetness and a delightful texture. You can also use canned corn in a pinch!
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves are a staple herb in Mexican cuisine and provide a bright, citrusy flavor.
- Lime or lemon: Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice is used to create a tangy dressing that enhances the flavors of the salad.
- Olive oil: I used extra-virgin olive oil, but avocado or other vegetable oil works fine in this recipe.
- Seasonings: Besides salt and black pepper, I used cumin, oregano, garlic, and chili powder.
- Agave syrup: To balance the acidity of the dressing, you can substitute it with honey or a bit of sugar.
How To Make Mexican Tomato Salad
Wash the tomatoes and lettuce thoroughly. Dry the lettuce and halve the tiny tomatoes (or dice regular tomatoes). Grill the corn and cut the kernels, you’ll need about 1 cup.
Dice the avocado, thinly slice the red onion, and chop cilantro and jalapeño peppers.
Top Tip: You can remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño peppers, just remember to wear gloves to avoid contact with the seeds and oils that may cause irritation.
In a small jar, place olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, ground cumin, chili flakes, oregano, chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons water, and agave syrup or honey.
Close the lid and shake the jar until all ingredients are nicely emulsified.
In a large bowl, thorn the lettuce into bite sizes.
Add the tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced red onion, corn, and chopped jalapeño pepper.
Pour the tangy dressing over the vegetables and toss until everything is nicely coated. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Serve the salad immediately with your favorite protein or as a light lunch.
Tips & Tricks
- Look for fresh, ripe tomatoes with bright colors and a firm texture.
- You can also experiment with different types of tomatoes, such as heirloom or grape tomatoes to add variety and color to your salad.
- To dry the lettuce leaves, you can either pat them gently with paper towels or use a salad spinner. A salad spinner is a handy kitchen tool that helps remove excess water from the leaves, leaving them crisp and ready to use.
- To give a rustic touch to your ensalada de tomate, thorn the lettuce leaves with your hands, instead of chopping them with a knife.
This Mexican tomato salad is a versatile dish and perfect for summer season! There are countless ways to create delicious variations to suit different tastes and preferences.
Here are my favorite ways to add a spin to this refreshing salad!
- Radishes: Thinly sliced for a crisp texture.
- Cucumber: Sliced or diced for extra freshness.
- Black beans: Cooked black beans can add protein and heartiness to the salad.
- Meat: Want to add some extra protein? Shredded chicken leftovers, cubed ham, or crispy bacon are amazing options!
- Cheese: Add crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, cheddar, American cheese, or any type of cheese you prefer.
- Chips: You can also add some totopos (corn chips) for extra crunchiness!
How To Serve Ensalada de Tomate
Ensalada de tomate (Mexican tomato salad) is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it as a side dish alongside various Mexican-inspired main courses.
Its juicy and tangy flavors provide a nice contrast to richer and heavier dishes, making it a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, tacos, burgers, or steak quesadillas.
I like to make a bowl of this salad and eat it just with some totopos (tortilla chips), it is delicious!
This tomato salad can last up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Place the leftovers into an airtight container to prevent the salad from absorbing smells from other foods.
However, take in mind that the lettuce and onions texture will change because of the dressing. If you want to prevent this, I suggest preparing the salad without onions and lettuce and then adding them right before eating.
You can also prepare all the vegetables chopped and diced, and store them in separate containers. When ready to eat, toss everything in a bowl with the dressing and serve.
More Mexican Salad Recipes
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Mexican Tomato Salad
- 1 large salad bowl
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 2-3 cups iceberg lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 cup grilled corn
- 1 large ripe avocado (diced)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (seed & membranes removed, chopped)
- 1 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
For the dressing
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime (juice)
- 2 Tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- pinch of ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons agave syrup (or honey)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- In a small jar, place olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, oregano, cilantro, and agave syrup or honey.
- Close the lid and shake the jar until all ingredients are nicely emulsified.
- Add lettuce to a large mixing bowl along with cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, corn, and jalapeño pepper.
- Pour the tangy dressing over the vegetables and toss until everything is nicely coated.
- Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve.
- Look for fresh, ripe tomatoes with bright colors and a firm texture.
- You can also add other types of tomatoes, such as heirloom or grape tomatoes.
- To dry the lettuce leaves, you can either pat them gently with paper towels or use a salad spinner.
- To give a rustic touch to your salad, torn the lettuce leaves with your hands, instead of chopping them with a knife.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.