Marinated Tomato Salad

marinated tomato salad on a plate

This simple marinated tomato salad is a quick and easy way to showcase and enjoy beautiful tomatoes. Marinating brings out their juicy sweetness and creates an instant dressing!

marinated tomato salad on a white platter

marinated tomato salad ~ why do it any other way?

This is the way to do a tomato salad right. Marinating the tomatoes for a few minutes at room temperature adds flavor, a touch of sweetness, and encourages them to release some of their juices. When you plate them over greens the marinade, mixed with those juices, becomes your dressing. Top with some salty crumbled feta and crunchy pistachios and you’ve got a super elegant dish. Want to make dinner out of it? Top with grilled shrimp!

marinated tomatoes and micro greens on a platter

why marinate tomatoes?

Marinating tomatoes is a wonderful trick the Italians have known forever. A quick marinating adds flavor, boosted sweetness and acidity to any tomatoes. Plus it encourages their juices to flow. Of course this works with peak season summer tomatoes, but it also works on less-than-perfect out of season tomatoes. Marinating is the secret that lets you extend tomato season!

how to marinate tomatoes for salad

Marinating tomatoes is a little bit different from marinating meats. For one thing it’s super short (we don’t refrigerate tomatoes,) but we’re going for similar results: boosted flavor!

  1. Slice tomatoes into thin slices. Cut smaller cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters. Arrange in a wide shallow bowl.
  2. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  3. Gently rearrange the tomatoes so that all surfaces have been bathed in the marinade.
  4. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of your salad.
marinating tomatoes in a bowl

choose greens as an accent for the tomatoes

I like to use at least some greens when I serve tomatoes. Green is opposite red on the color wheel so it really pops visually, and they add a delicate crunch to offset the silky texture of the tomatoes. Today I used some beautiful micro-greens. I want to keep the focus on the tomatoes so I just add the greens around the outside of my plate. A spring mix, watercress, or baby arugula would also work well here.

When it comes to choosing greens for any salad I have one piece of advice ~ go with what looks the best and freshest.

marinated tomato salad on a platter with oil and vinegar

a tomato salad is only as good as its garnish

I’m a big believer in topping salads with a pop of flavor or texture ~ it makes a salad so much more tempting to look at, and to eat. A little touch of cheese, nuts, fried shallots, or the like goes a long way toward making a salad appealing.

CRUMBLED FETA CHEESE ~ substitute goat cheese or thick shavings of Parmesan.

CHOPPED PISTACHIOS ~ substitute toasted pine nuts, or walnuts.

plating a marinated tomato salad, with feta and glasses of red wine

tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

marinated tomato salad on a plate
5 from 3 votes

Marinated Tomato Salad

This simple marinated tomato salad is a quick and easy way to showcase and enjoy beautiful tomatoes. Marinating brings out their juicy sweetness and creates an instant dressing!
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 199kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 full sized ripe tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pint regular or heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • microgreens or baby greens
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • crushed pistachios
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • Thinly slice the large tomatoes and place in a wide shallow bowl.
  • Slice the cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters, and add them to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and very gently toss to coat all sides of the tomatoes with the marinade. Let sit on the counter for 15 minutes while you organize the rest of the salad.
  • Arrange your greens around the perimeter of a large platter. Place the tomatoes in the center. Spoon on the marinade and any accumulated juices.
  • Top the salad with the crumbled feta cheese and pistachios. Add fresh cracked pepper to taste and enjoy.

Cook’s notes

Do not refrigerate the tomatoes at any time, either before, during, or after marinating. This salad is meant to be enjoyed asap. 
To make this tomato salad a meal, top with grilled shrimp.


Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 427mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1157IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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