This is the best tomato salad recipe if you want a taste of summer on the Mediterranean and it’s super quick and easy to make – so easy that after you make this you’ll never have to look at this recipe again. The key to making this summer salad taste great is fresh, flavourful produce and top quality ingredients.
My best tomato salad recipe has come about from weeks spent dreaming about the summer holidays we used to have on the Mediterranean Sea, diving from rocky ledges into the turquoise waters in southern Turkey, reading in between snoozing by hotel pool overlooking colourful Positano, long sweaty late afternoon walks along the forested paths that snake around Capri.
But mostly the inspiration for my easy tomato salad recipe was the wonderful Mediterranean food that we miss so much and the experiences we enjoyed savouring it over the years: early mornings that started with dishes of plumps olives, creamy labneh, soft-boiled eggs, zingy pickles, and flatbread in the Eastern Med – in Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, and Egypt – taking our time over bowls of creamy Greek yoghurt and aromatic forest honey sitting on stone stairs spilling down hillsides on craggy Greek islands.
Then there were the long leisurely lunches tucking into the freshest of seafood – char-grilled squid doused in virgin olive oil, crispy fried fish which we’d drizzle with lemon juice – with handmade pasta, washed down with local wines, under shady umbrellas at seaside trattorias in Southern Italy. Not to mention the late-night tapas bar crawls through the skinny lanes of seaside towns in Spain, snacking on the likes of salty anchovies mashed into cream cheese on toasted bread.
But mostly the inspiration came from Greece, from digging into generous bowls of fresh Greek salad after Greek salad at beachside tavernas on island-hopping holidays and working road trips covering the length and breadth of mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, and Ionian Islands, updating Lonely Planet Greece guidebooks. Those were the days…
It was the simplicity of those Greek salads – little more than quarters of ripe red tomatoes, big slabs of salty feta, and the juiciest of olives, the best of which, their taste embedded into my memory forever, were from Kalamata on the Peloponnese, one of the wildest parts of Greece, which we absolutely adored, where we had our best Greek salads ever. So, here’s my easy cherry tomato salad recipe, inspired by summers on the Mediterranean. Let me know what you think.
Best Tomato Salad Recipe for a Taste of Summer on the Mediterranean
What makes this the best tomato salad recipe ever is, firstly, the flavours, and secondly, that this easy summer salad comes together so quickly. After you make it once, you really won’t need to look at this recipe ever again – although you’re more than welcome to, of course!
The key to making this tomato and cucumber salad taste great is top quality ingredients. Head to your nearest farmer’s market if you can. You want fresh, flavourful organic produce – the sweetest cherry tomatoes and crunchiest cucumbers, sweet shallots and fragrant basil.
You also want the best quality virgin olive oil, Greek feta cheese, salt-cured anchovies, and briny capers you can get your hands on. The feta, anchovies and capers should give you enough salt, but if you need more, opt for a coarse sea salt.
I think of this more as a Mediterranean salad rather than Greek, as – in my dreams! – I am using the sweetest tomatoes and crunchiest cucumbers from Lebanon, the grassiest extra virgin olive oil from Valencia, sweet red onions from Tropea, briny capers from Pantelleria, Ortiz salted anchovies from Spain, aromatic Italian basil from Liguria, and, of course, the juiciest olives from Kalamata and finest feta cheese from any village in Greece.
Another thing that makes this the best summer tomato salad recipe as far as I’m concerned is the simplicity. You seriously don’t need twenty ingredients. Half that is sufficient as long as you have quality ingredients.
Just like a great Greek salad, which typically contains seven or eight ingredients – cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, Kalamata olives, Greek feta, extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano, and maybe green capsicum (bell peppers) – this tomato salad recipe contains just ten ingredients.
This is also a very versatile salad. While I’m pretty much in love with this tomato salad recipe, you could easily add some balsamic vinegar, crunchy croutons, more aromatic herbs, more feta cheese – big slabs of the stuff like the Greeks do – or replace the feta with any number of Italian cheeses. Buffalo mozzarella would be wonderful!
But please do try my cherry tomato salad recipe first. I love this salad. I’m happy to have this salad just the way it is, but I’m also happy to tweak it from time to time and if you give it a twist and come up with some equally delicious variations I’d love to try them to so please do leave your suggestions, recipes, and feedback in the comments below.
Easy Tomato Salad Recipe for a Taste of the Mediterranean Summer
- 500 g cherry tomatoes - mix of red, yellow and green cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 150 g small cucumbers - same width as tomatoes, finely sliced in rounds
- 12 black olives - chopped in half
- 1 small shallot - finely sliced
- 2 tbsp capers
- 4 salt-cured anchovy fillets - torn
- 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 100 g Greek feta cheese - crumbled
- ½ cup fresh Italian basil leaves
- Combine the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, black olives, shallots, capers, anchovy fillets and olive oil in a salad bowl.
- Taste and add salt if needed, though it should be salty enough with capers and anchovies and you’re going to be adding salty Greek feta.
- Combine half the basil leaves.
- Spread the salad out onto a large serving plate.
- Sprinkle on the crumbled Greek feta cheese and fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
Do let us know if you make our summer tomato salad recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you and please do let us know if you tweak it and have your own twists on this Mediterranean style salad.