Super Fresh Tomato Salad

You need a grand total of 5 ingredients for this salad but there’s a hitch.  They need to be the BEST of ingredients.  Fresh from the garden tomatoes, a beautiful olive oil, a great *white* balsamic vinegar, a ripe lemon and creamy goat cheese. 

Skip right to the recipe.

When I was younger (much younger) I openly and unabashedly judged people based on whether they liked tomatoes or mushrooms.  If someone liked these things, they were obviously the type of person to be avoided.  They were … tomato and mushroom lovers.  I genuinely found this sort of person to be distasteful.  Gross, if you will.

It’s amazing the sort of judgements we make when we’re kids.  Now that I’m older and somewhat more sensible, I no longer feel this way and can fully acknowledge what a ridiculous thing it was to judge people based on whether or not they liked tomatoes.

Tomatoes are great.

Mushroom lovers on the other hand are obviously still subject to ridicule. They’re generally the sort you should be suspicious of.  Everyone says so.

I turned around on tomatoes when I first became obsessed with growing heirloom varieties several years ago. For the first year or two of growing them, I still didn’t really like tomatoes unless they were in a sauce or a squeeze bottle. Now I love them.

This is the easy 2 minute tomato salad I’ve been making every night since tomatoes came into season. There’s no dressing to mix, no special treatment. It’s just a bowl of tomatoes.  When I have it on hand, which admittedly is pretty much always, I also add a scoop of goat cheese with lemon.

If you’re looking at a glut of tomatoes and an empty dinner plate, this salad is for you. There are no mushrooms in it. I probably didn’t need to tell you that.

Super Fresh Tomato Salad.

  1. Chop up approximately 2 cups of tomatoes into bite sized pieces.

2. Give a good squeeze of lemon into 2 ounces of goat cheese or ricotta.  (I’ve only given a measurement because I know someone will want one – just use as much cheese as you like.)  Top with grated lemon rind.

3. Add cheese and tomatoes to a big bowl.  Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and shredded basil. The basil is totally optional.

You’re done.  That’s it.  Serve as a meal with a crusty heel of bread or as a side dish.

It’s completely ridiculous to have a recipe for this.  It’s chopped tomatoes with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar on top.  Throw on some cheese with lemon.  But I know people like actual recipes so here it is.

2 Minute Fresh Tomato Salad

A quick and easy tomato salad for a summer dinner or side dish.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 189kcal
Author: Karen


  • 2 cups tomatoes chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 ounces goat cheese can substitute with ricotta
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • 6 leaves basil optional


  • Chop your tomatoes into bite sized pieces and set in bowl.
  • Add lemon juice and zest to your soft cheese of choice.  Add to bowl.
  • Shred basil by hand and place on tomatoes.
  • Drizzle everything with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
  • Top with a sprinkling of sea salt and let rest for 5 minutes to extract juices from tomatoes.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 194mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 805IU | Vitamin C: 11.6mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 0.7mg

I was just kidding about the mushroom lovers.  I have nothing against you.

I mean it’s not as though you like … green peppers.

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Super Fresh Tomato Salad


  1. Sherylann says:

    I made a variation of your recipe. I had thyme and wild mushroom infused olive oil. Used lime juice as it was what I had on hand and added some fresh thyme. I had feta cheese so used it instead of goat cheese and I loved it and it was a big hit with the family. Next time I get groceries I will be sure to get some goat cheese and try your original recipe, but this is a great alternative and my son in law wants me to add peppers and olives. Olives….yuck have never been able to like those. Closest to liking them was eating them on a vegetarian pizza and if there weren’t so many people around I would most likely have picked them off! Thanks for such a great easy and adaptable recipe. I will enjoy it for the rest of the summer.

  2. Amy in StL says:

    Six years ago I moved to the traditionally Italian area of my city. I now find myself making a kind of Caprese salad every week or so in the summer. Fresh tomatoes, good olive oil from the italian specialty store, fresh Mozz from the local store and Basil from my garden, sometimes a sprinkle of basalmic vinegar. Simple and fresh and an easy dinner on a hot night. Apparently if you live in an ethnic area long enough, the ethnic seeps right into your skin. (I’m mostly German and French genetically)

    • Karen says:

      OH it definitely does, lol. I just know if I lived in Chinatown I’d be eating chicken feet in no time. For real. ~ karen!

  3. ElenG says:

    That is my kind of salad. Okay. I didn’t even know there was a white balsamic vinegar. I would totes have this for a meal. Click and save. Tyvm.

  4. I could eat this every day. Now if my damn tardy tomato plants would get the memo…

  5. Jody says:

    Mushrooms are fungus. “Nuff said.

  6. Shelagh says:

    Brussels sprouts…..shudder!
    I’m sitting outside watching my cherry tomatoes warm and ripen in front my eyes…it’s a beautiful sunny, warm, NOT HUMID, day for a change!
    I have Beefsteak, Pink, and some other kind of full size tomatoes that I am guarding from the marauding chipmunks!
    Who knew that such cute little critters were such wastrels? They take one bite or several small nibbles on one tomatoe, leave it to rot and get infested with fruit flies and meander over to the next one and repeat!
    I tried some netting but they just dig under and I cried when I found a dead humming bird caught in it so that’s gone!
    I picked a number of tomatoes before they were fully ripe just to rescue them but I feel cheated… anyone got any ideas?

    • Karen says:

      Most people do exactly what you’re doing. Picking the tomatoes before they’re fully ripe. I know it feels like cheating, but a friend of mine who sells and grows hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties did a test and there was no discernible taste difference between tomatoes that ripened on a counter and ones that ripened on a vine. So just keep doing that. :) I know it kind of takes the fun out of it. ~ karen!

  7. Meg says:

    I *really* wish I liked eating tomatoes.
    This looks so delightful. And I love *growing* tomatoes. I actually used to just make myself fresh pasta sauce when I last grew them on the porch.

    Can I ask how you eventually started liking tomatoes enough to eat a bowl of them? Did you just ….keep making things less and less cooked, and then eventually started liking them? I mean, They seem like they should be SO refreshing. I know people that take a salt shaker outside and just graze. I can understand it – I just am so put off by the squelching inside bits, seeds, and the watery, vaguely savory flavor.

    • Karen says:

      I was growing so many different varieties that I just kept tasting them and tasting them. The first tomato I actually *liked* was a Green Zebra which I tried at a friend’s farm. She’s a tomato farmer and grows hundreds of varieties. I was so amazed at that I started to grow many different varieties of my own. I still couldn’t stand in a field and eat a tomato though, lol. I think they key to developing a taste for them is just eating little bites of them and eating them raw on or with other things you like. ~ karen!

  8. Heather says:

    Very pretty. Will make! Thanks!

  9. Debbie says:

    Looks delicious. I have an abundance of cherry and plum tomatoes and need some recipes. Funny but when I read the recipe the ad on the side popped up for Arnold Palmer Spiked Iced Tea/Lemonade. Awesome! Now I know what I’ll be eating and drinking this evening for dinner!

  10. Maureen Gilbert says:

    What shall we say about brussel sprout lovers??

  11. Erica Mullins says:

    Did something like this last night, but I also made a nice crispy grilled cheese that I cooled slightly and cut into croutons and threw on top. It’s like the summer version of tomato soup and grilled cheese. Pretty great!

  12. judy says:

    I love it when the heirloom tomatoes are ripe, and I can make a colorful salad from them. I usually use fresh mozzerella or Burrata cheese, which are wonderful with this salad. The basil is a must, and dark balsamic works for my family.

  13. Ellen says:

    Oh yeah! this is wonderful, I love tomatoes! and the whole list of ingredients, divine. Totally agree with the green peppers. or any of that variety, red, yellow, no matter the color.. they are just evil. Used to eat them as a kid, but now.. **shudder** they don’t like me and I don’t like them.. lol

  14. Mary W says:

    Why is my really green and growing lovely sweet basil so bitter? Is it Florida is too hot? Wrong time of year? What gives. I ADORE sweet basil but not when I grow it. HELP. (I’m sure it is lack of cool good water even though it’s growing well.) Eggplants do this as well which I am positive is due to lack of good fresh water given as needed instead of when I water it.)

    • Woniya says:

      Try adding magnesium (like epsom salt) and a crushed aspirin to some water then water the basil. Keep the blooms trimmed down. Magnesium from epsom salts will even sweeten fruits! I use it on my basil, eggplant, and tomatoes. Works.

  15. pat barford says:

    Did you make the ricotta? Not that it matters, but it’s easy enough to do, so there is a possiblity, of course, that you cranked out your own. Just curious. Looks fab regardless…I can taste every bite.

  16. Danni says:

    Just this morning I brought in all the ripe tomatoes… so many I tweeked my back hauling them in! I make something similar, but I have all the ingredients needed for this version already so I think you solved my dinner dilemma!
    And I even have home made sourdough bread!
    Well, that saves a few of the tomatoes from the sauce pot!

    • Karen says:

      I’m drowning in vegetables. DROWNING. My counters are covered, my fridge is full, there are pickles fermenting in the kitchen … it’s out of control. ~ karen!

      • Danni says:

        My office mates haven’t yet begged me to stop handing stuff off yet, but I try to Spears it out. And of course they never say no to jalapeño jelly or jalapeño bread and butter pickles!

  17. Sandi Remedios says:

    The salad looks yummy. I must buy white balsamic vinegar and a lemon and some goat cheese.
    Goat cheese is da bomb!

    Green peppers and cilantro are both GROSS! Cilantro tastes like soap, green peppers taste like what I imagine ear wax tastes like.
    Mushrooms are okay, but I wouldn’t be really upset if I never had them again.

    The bread in the picture looks super yummy! Did you make it in the pizza oven?

    Thanks for another great recipe.

    • Karen says:

      Nope, that one I bought like a common person, lol. Calabrese. I like it best for dipping and sloshing because it never falls apart. ~ karen!

  18. Ev Wilcox says:

    Must admit, your abhorrence of mushrooms is surprising, but we all have our foibles! I feel the same way about coconut-you know, that shredded white cardboard that so many people actually like! Gag me. I also have never “gotten” strawberries. I try really hard to leave them to the crazies who love them! Anyway, this salad looks lovely. Now, if only my tomatoes would redden up-still very green. Sigh….

  19. ecoteri says:

    you lost me at goat cheese.
    BLEAH. Can’t stand the stuff.
    It is a visceral response, like folk who find cilantro soapy.
    goat cheese can actually ruin a meal for me – the taste gets on my tongue and that is it, game over, meal pushed aside, gimme a bunch of water and I will talk to you in two hours when I finish gagging.
    Yep, that bad.
    Nobody who likes goat milk or cheese really understands, because to them it is manna from heaven. But my family have a number of members who agree: ‘don’t put THAT on the salad or Dinner is not happening for me’. Goat Cheese, goat Milk. Bleah.
    the only other thing I can’t stand is Lamb – please don’t even imagine cooking it in my vicinity.
    I don’t eat beef or pork but can be in the same room. Lamb and goat? Cutest animals (we have two sheep, even) but keep them outta my kitchen.
    Ok, I admit, the rest of this salad sounds awesome. it is almost midnight so I won’t be making it right now, but the big greenhouse has a tonne of tomatoes so I can make it tomorrow…. (yes, you know, sans goat cheese)…..

  20. TucsonPatty says:

    This looks so amazing! I now wish I had planted tomatoes when you told me to. They look so awesome! Mushroom and Brussels sprout lovers are obviously of the same suspicious breed. Now, green peppers added to the list?

  21. Basil is never optional. But/and I agree about green peppers.

  22. Yum!!!! :)

    [Simple, fresh comment!]

    • Karen says:

      Ha! ~ karen

    • Carswell says:

      Yum indeed.

      I use a lemon infused olive oil when making my tomato salad ‘cos I’m lazy. I have never added vinegar. And I usually drizzle pesto over the tomatoes and whatever cheese I am using.

      A friend from Italy was surprised when I used basil pesto on my caprese salad. He was accustomed to using tapenade. I admit it was a revelation, the tartness and saltiness of the olives was perfect with the tomatoes and soft mozzarella. Now I’m always on the horns of a dilemma when I make caprese salad.

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