Fresh, ripe tomatoes are in season and overflowing at farmers’ markets and in home gardens, which means it’s time to make my scrumptious and easy recipe for Tomato Salad! While there are numerous recipes in cookbooks and online featuring fresh tomatoes, what sets this tomato salad recipe apart from the rest is my mom’s Cumin Dressing. The warm, earthy flavors in this delectable sauce provide a perfect contrast to – and amp up the flavor of – sweet, seasonably fresh tomatoes.

There’s nothing like biting into a vibrant, cool, juicy tomato on a warm summer day. I love tomatoes, but they can be bland when not in season. In most of the U.S., tomatoes are at their most flavorful from July through September. So, that’s the time when I love to prepare recipes with fresh, sweet tomatoes as the star. While I have my favorite go-to, summer tomato recipes (see list later in this post!), I thought it was time to create something new and different.

Background on this Tomato Salad Recipe

When mulling over what to put in my new tomato dish, I came across a delicious-sounding recipe for Cumin Dressing in my mom’s recipe box. Cumin has a warm, earthy flavor and therefore is often paired with tomatoes (in lots of Mexican dishes, chilis, plus more). So, why not put these two ingredients together in a salad? It turned out to be a perfect pairing! I added in sliced red onion and Kalamata olives for a bit of tang and texture, and topped it off with chopped parsley for more color. Easy and delicious!

white plate showing Tomato Salad Recipe, with a spoon, Cumin Dressing and a pepper mill on the side

Which tomato is best for this salad?

Any fresh, in season tomato will work in this salad, preferably garden fresh or from a local farmer’s market. Ripe, but not too ripe – so they aren’t overly juicy and fall apart. You can even mix different types (beefsteak, grape, cherry) and colors of tomatoes together, for more depth and interest! If you’re purchasing tomatoes in a grocery store, I’m partial to ones on the vine.

white plate holding three tomatoes on the vine

How to prepare tomatoes for this salad

One approach is to slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch rounds and arrange them, overlapping, around a plate or platter and top them with the other ingredients. However, that approach will require eating with a knife and fork. If you’re serving this at a picnic, or more casually where people will just have forks (or can’t easily cut their food), then I would slice into thicker (1/2-inch) pieces and cut the slices into triangular pieces (like in my photos). Still looks pretty on the plate, and is easier to eat!

How long will Tomato Salad keep?

I like to serve this salad the same day it’s made. Leftovers will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Can I add other ingredients?

Yes, definitely! I have made this salad with feta cheese, quartered artichoke hearts, and chopped bacon. Use cilantro instead of parsley if you are a cilantro fan!

round plate holding Tomato Salad, with Cumin Dressing and fresh parsley on the side

Other easy fresh tomato recipes to try!

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Close up of tomato salad garnished with red onion and parsley

Recipe for Tomato Salad

What sets this Tomato Salad Recipe apart from the rest is my mom’s Cumin Dressing. Warm, earthy flavors in this delectable sauce provide a perfect contrast to – and amp up the flavor of – sweet, seasonably fresh tomatoes.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Marinating Time: 60 mins
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Cumin Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Tomato Salad

  • 6 ripe medium tomatoes, preferably garden fresh or from a farmer’s market
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in quarters or slivers
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced – see Note
  • Fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, for garnish
  • Fresh ground pepper


Cumin Dressing

  1. In a small jar with a fitted lid, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, salt, cumin and turmeric.
  2. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.
  3. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Tomato and Kalamata Olive Salad

  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces; cut larger slices into 6 triangular pieces, smaller slices into 4 pieces.
  2. Arrange on a large plate or serving platter, along with olives. Top with onion slices.
  3. Drizzle dressing over all; let marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Just before serving, garnish with parsley (whole leaves or chopped) and fresh ground pepper.


Make ahead: Cumin Dressing can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

  • Author: Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Side salads, make ahead
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tomatoes, cumin, easy salad

Close up of tomato salad garnished with red onion and parsley

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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