Is there anything more summer than a tomato salad? We think not. This is why we wanted to share our favorite tomato salad recipe. Marinated with the usual suspects, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, but also topped with crispy garlic and fresh oregano.
Oregano makes a nice change from the classic tomato and basil combo associated with fresh in-season sliced tomatoes.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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Every year we plant a garden and the first tomatoes off the vine are always our cherry tomatoes. Delicious and sweet, they are like candy. I find them too sweet for a traditional Caprese salad with a balsamic reduction so I like to make my cherry tomato salads with a balance of savory.
Quickly crisping the garlic tones down the heat so it plays nicely with the tomatoes. And we used fresh oregano rather than basil. As I mentioned in our Turkey Kale Soup recipe, we always have loads of fresh oregano. It has a peppery flavor that pairs perfectly with this tomato salad.
🧾Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cherry Tomatoes- Any small ripe cherry, grape, or pear tomato will do. They are best when fresh-picked and fully ripe. Choose wisely, they are the star of the show. Use any color combination you like. You can also substitute sliced whole tomatoes. To use whole tomatoes layout on a serving platter and drizzle with toppings.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- You are going to infuse the oil with garlic and pour over the salad. Use good quality oil.
- Garlic- Very thin slices of fresh whole clove garlic.
- Fresh Oregano- One of the great things about oregano is it a hardy herb. Meaning it won't brown after being added to the salad as basil will. Of course, basil always makes a tasty substitute.
- Balsamic Vinegar- Use good quality vinegar. Out of balsamic? Substitute red wine vinegar.
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
⏲️How to Make Tomato Salad
We love that this recipe takes only a few minutes, just long enough for the oil to infuse.
Make the Garlic Oil
You will start by slicing the garlic into VERY THIN slices. This is easier to do if your garlic cloves are on the larger side. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
Be patient and make sure the oil very hot but not smoking before adding the garlic. Add the garlic in a single layer and cook each side until lightly golden and crispy. Use tongs to turn the pieces, watch out for splattering oil.
Remove from heat and add the oregano, leaves only. Allow to cool while you marinate the tomatoes.
Marinate the Tomatoes
While the oregano-garlic oil is cooling prep your tomatoes. First, cut the cherry tomatoes in half. A small serrated knife works best.
Place the tomatoes in a serving bowl season and toss them with balsamic vinegar. Then pour the garlic-oregano oil over the tomatoes and give them a gentle toss. You will want to serve them immediately.
💭Tips and Tricks
- If you find your tomatoes are a little under-ripe give them a light squeeze after adding the balsamic vinegar to help them juice out a bit.
- You might think you skip cutting the cherry tomatoes in half but this tomato salad is dependent on all that great fresh tomato juice oozing out.
- For a salty crunchy add prosciutto that has been crisped.
- For a classic tomato and mozzeralla salad add 1 cup of small mozzerlla balls to the marinating tomatoes.
- Making this dish in advance is not recommended. To save time, prep the tomatoes and garlic oil beforehand. Rewarm the oil and make the salad.
- Turn this from a salad into an appetizer by quartering the tomatoes and serving over crispy polenta cakes or toasted french bread. We like the Schar brand gluten-free bread.
🥗More Delicious Summer Side Dishes
Thanks for stopping by to check out our latest tomato salad side dish. While you here check out some of our other favorite summer sides and pin for later!
- Spicy Avocado Coleslaw
- Rainbow Potato Salad with Cilantro- Olive Vinaigrette
- Roasted Zucchini
- Bacon Blue Cheese Potato Salad
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Tomato Salad with Fried Garlic
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook each side until lightly golden and crispy. About 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove from heat and add oregano.2 tablespoon olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, 6 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves picked from stems
- While the oregano oil is cooling place tomatoes in a small mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss to combine. Start with ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and salt to taste from there.1 lb cherry tomatoes, cut in half, kosher salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Pour the oregano and garlic oil over the tomatoes and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- This summer tomato salad is best served immediately so the garlic stays crispy. However, leftovers still rock, and the salad will keep 2 to 3 days covered in the fridge.