This refreshing Italian tomato salad with cucumbers is at its best when using fresh summer tomatoes. Serve it as a side dish with crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices from the vinaigrette. You can also use this simple salad recipe as a base to create delicious variations.
- How to make tomato salad
- Tomato salad recipes we love
- Recipe inspiration
Tomatoes are at the heart of Italian cuisine. They are used extensively to make various beautiful dishes, from pizza to pasta to this insalata di pomodoro Italian for tomato salad.
In most salad recipes, the ingredients’ freshness significantly influences how the final product tastes.
This is especially true when the recipe requires only a few key components.
The ingredients combine tomatoes and cucumbers with fresh basil and oregano. Adding high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar creates a simple Italian vinaigrette that pairs perfectly with the slightly acidic juices from the ripe tomatoes.
It’s an uncomplicated cold tomato side dish bursting with flavor when made with the ripest in-season tomatoes and fresh ingredients.
Another example of a simple and tasty side dish is this tomato basil cheese combination for a Caprese salad. You can taste the difference when using locally grown, fresh tomatoes.
During tomato season, you can make delicious salads with various summer tomatoes. When making this salad out of season, use vine or cherry tomatoes, as their quality is consistent throughout the year.
Are you ready to make this fresh tomato salad?
How to make tomato salad
Let’s begin by rinsing the cucumber, tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and oregano. The addition of fresh parsley is optional. Then, use a clean tea towel to dry the excess water from the vegetables and a salad spinner to remove the extra moisture from the fresh herbs. You can also use paper towels.
If you have a medium to large cucumber, cut into quarters (lengthwise) and slice into ¼-inch slices. For small to medium, cut in half (lengthwise) and slice into ¼-inch half-moons—place in a large mixing bowl. There is no need to peel the cucumber.
Remove the core from 2 medium tomatoes and cut them into wedges. If they are large, cut them into chunks—place them in the large bowl with the chopped cucumber.
Next, let’s chop up the herbs. Next, you need 2 teaspoons of fresh oregano and 2 tablespoons of fresh basil. Then, add to the bowl and combine gently together. As an option, you can also add one teaspoon of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.
To make the salad dressing, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar in a separate small bowl. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad in the bowl, toss gently together and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Set aside for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend and then serve.
- The best time of the year to make this salad is during the peak of summer when local tomatoes are in season and available. These tomatoes usually ripen on the vine and not with chemicals.
- Choose tomatoes that are ripe but still firm to the touch, heavy and blemish-free.
- Store your tomatoes on the counter, away from sunlight. Never refrigerate tomatoes as they become mealy and lose their flavor.
- Heirloom tomatoes are known to be juicy and flavorful.
- Do not remove the juices extracted from the tomato as there is so much flavor. Instead, taste your salad and adjust the seasonings.
There are endless possibilities with this tomato salad. Feel free to include thinly sliced sweet red onions or grated garlic; different proportions and types of herbs; varieties of cucumbers and tomatoes; or even the addition of olives. Or enjoy it simply as a marinated tomato salad. Add some protein-rich legumes to transform this easy salad recipe into a main meal. Have fun and experiment!
Tomato salad recipes we love
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad
- Italian Salad Recipe
- Salad Pizza
Growing up Italian meant being exposed to growing tomatoes in the backyard, and today, I am lucky enough to have one myself.
I truly believe this backyard garden was a way for my grandparents and parents to preserve their identity and connection to their rural life in Italy. I realize now that growing your fruits and vegetables provides great well-being.
So, if you’re familiar with my blog, you probably know that many of my “traditional” Italian recipes were inspired by my mom.
Every family and I mean every family, I know has some variation of this tomato salad.
My mom liked to keep things simple, so the ingredients list was short for this insalata di pomodori (tomato salad).
Remember, when you’ve finished eating the cucumbers and the tomatoes, you have to be quick to dunk a nice slice of pagnotta (a rustic peasant loaf of bread) in the tomato-oregano-infused vinaigrette left at the bottom of the bowl.
My dad’s homemade red wine vinegar made this recipe taste extra special.
Whether making this Italian tomato salad from the vegetables you’ve grown in your garden, from your local farmer, or bought at your favorite grocery store, there’s no better time than the summer to enjoy this wonderful salad.
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★★★★★ If you have made this Italian tomato-cucumber salad, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
This post was originally published on August 23, 2015, and republished on September 11, 2019, and again on June 17, 2021 with updated content. Thanks for sharing.
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