Tomato salad is a healthy and refreshing dish that is very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine where tomatoes grow abundantly. Made of just a few ingredients, this tomato salad combines the best Mediterranean flavors in just one dish. This tomato salad is perfect for a refreshing summer side dish or a light lunch.
Let me show you how to make Mediterranean tomato salad (with dressing).
What is Tomato Salad?
Tomato salad is a simple Mediterranean salad recipe that is traditionally eaten during summer time when tomatoes are in season. A core value of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diet is to eat with the seasons. The fresh flavors of the ripe tomatoes is a perfect summer recipe. It’s enhanced by a few simple herbs and a fruity dressing.
Tomato Salad Ingredients
Tomato salad is a simple yet versatile salad recipe. The ingredients can vary depending on the region, personal preferences and season. However, the main ingredient is always the same: fresh, ripe tomatoes. I love to add fresh herbs and onion to my tomato salad. Some people like to add cucumbers and other vegetables, too. The choice is yours.
Here are the ingredients for my favorite Mediterranean tomato salad:
- Tomatoes: Fresh, ripe tomatoes are a must for this recipe. Roma tomatoes are a popular choice for tomato salads because they have a meaty texture, low moisture content and a sweet flavor. They are also easy to chop and hold their shape well when mixed with other ingredients. Some people like to use cherry tomatoes which are small and sweet and come in different colors (great for bite-size, colorful tomato salads).
- Onion: Tomato and onion is a hugely popular combination. I personally prefer red onions for my tomato salad as they are milder than white onions. You can use either.
- Parsley: Parsley is one of the staples of Middle Eastern cuisine. Use flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley) for this recipe. The parsley will be finely chopped and mixed with the other ingredients.
- Dressing: The dressing for this tomato salad recipe is the same dressing that is used for many other Arabic salad recipes. It consists of olive oil, pomegranate syrup (pomegranate molasses), lemon juice, sumac, salt and pepper. This dressing is refreshing and fruity. Pomegranate syrup and sumac are staple ingredients in the Middle East. You can find them in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. If you don’t have them available, you can substitute them by adding vinegar and sugar.
Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.
How to Make Tomato Salad (Step-by-Step)
Ready to make tomato salad? Yallah, let’s get started!
Step 1: Chop the tomatoes
Begin by chopping the tomatoes. I like to chop the tomatoes into medium sized pieces, but some people prefer to cut them into slices. Either way is fine! If using cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves. Add the chopped tomatoes to a large bowl.
Step 2: Chop the onion
Peel the red onion and chop it into thin slices or finely chop it. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Step 3: Chop the parsley
Cut off the large stems of the parsley and dispose of them. Finely chop the leaves and add the chopped parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes and onions.
Step 4: Prepare the dressing
Prepare the dressing in a separate bowl or tall pitcher. To make the dressing, combine olive oil, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice (freshly squeezed lemon or bottled lemon juice), sumac, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined.
Step 5: Add the dressing to the salad and serve
Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad in the bowl. Toss everything together until the salad is evenly coated with the dressing. Serve the tomato salad immediately.
What to Serve with Tomato Salad
Tomato salad is traditionally served during summer months when tomatoes are in season. It makes a great appetizer, light lunch or dinner side. Serve it in combination with other Middle Eastern salad such as Tabbouleh (parsley salad) or Fattoush (roasted bread salad) or a main dish of your choice. Tomato salad pairs particularly well with grilled meat such as grilled chicken breast.
Make Ahead & Storage
Tomato salad comes together in less than 5 minutes. For this reason, it doesn’t make much sense to prepare a larger batch ahead of time. If you’d like to save some time, you can prepare the dressing in advance (store in a separate container) and add it to your salad when needed.
Leftovers (with dressing) can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator to consume the next day.
Tomato Salad Variations
Would you like to enhance the base recipe? Here are a few ingredients that go well with tomatoes. Depending on the season and what I have in my pantry, I like to play around with the ingredients for my tomato salad to create different variations of it. The choices are endless! Feel free to pick 2-3 of the list to spice things up (don’t add all at once as not to overpower the flavors).
- Cheese: feta cheese or mozzarella cheese
- Nuts: walnuts or toasted pine nuts
- Herbs: Mint (in addition to parsley). Thyme or basil (instead of parsley)
- Pomegranate seeds
- Bell peppers (raw or roasted)
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Arabic Tomato Salad
- 4 tomatoes medium, ripe
- 1 red onion medium
- 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate syrup
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sumac
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- Chop the tomatoes into medium sized pieces. Add to a bowl.
- Peel the onion, chop into thin slices or finely chop. Add to the bowl.
- Cut off the large stems of the parsley. Finely chop the leaves. Add to the bowl.
- For the dressing, combine olive oil, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled), sumac and a pinch salt of pepper into a tall pitcher or bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad right before serving.
- Fresh, ripe tomatoes are a must for this recipe. Roma tomatoes are a popular choice for tomato salads but you can also use cherry tomatoes.
- The suggested dressing is a delicious, fruity dressing that is very popular in the Middle East. It calls for pomegranate syrup and sumac which are two staple ingredients in the Middle East. You can find them in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. If you don’t have them available, you can substitute them by adding vinegar and sugar.
Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.