Cherry Tomato Salad

I always love it when I expect a recipe to be great, but it still manages to exceed my already high expectations.  This dish was sure to be a winner.  Ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes with crisp cucumbers and crumbled feta cheese – all things I love, and commonly known as ingredients that “go” together.  I mainly made this just as an alternative side dish to the usual green salad that we have so often.  I actually loved it so much, it outshone the main dish that I served it with.  It was equally delicious as leftovers the next day.  The original recipe calls for kalamata olives, but I omitted them.  I like olives in some contexts, but in this case I was happy to let the fresh produce shine through and not be overpowered by the strong, briny flavor of olives.  Simple, healthy and bursting with flavor, this salad is welcome at my table any day and will surely be making many reappearances on our menu.

Cherry Tomato Salad
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2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)*
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into ½-inch chunks
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1-2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

*Halved grape tomatoes would also work

Combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar in a medium bowl; toss to combine.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a salad spinner and spin until the seeds and excess liquid have been removed, about 1 minute.  Stir to redistribute the tomatoes during spinning as needed.  Return the tomatoes to the bowl and set aside. (If you don’t have a salad spinner, put the tomatoes in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and gently shake the bowl to remove the excess seeds and liquid.) Strain the tomato liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible.

Combine ½ cup of the tomato liquid with the garlic, oregano, shallot and vinegar in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Simmer until the mixture is reduced, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.  Whisk in the oil, and season with pepper to taste.

Add the cucumber, feta, dressing and parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes.  Toss gently and serve.

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

32 Responses

  1. I make something similar (add fresh chopped dill) and use it as a twist on bruschetta. There is nothing better than perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes! Looks delish!!

  2. I make a rendition of this salad and often serve it with baba ghanoush (see Tyler Florence’s recipe on and fresh pita. It’s especially good with dill instead of oregano!

  3. I’m always looking for fresh alternatives to green salads, and this one looks great!

  4. Yum, I could definitely see myself making a huge batch of this salad and taking it to work as lunch for a few days. Thanks!

  5. Oh that looks wonderful! I’m completely addicted to cherry tomatoes.

  6. GORGEOUS!!!! Perfect for the warm weather.

  7. My daughter turned me on to your site …and I’m loving it. Thanks so much.

  8. The more tomatoes in my salad, the better. This looks decadent for a salad, but still healthy. Good one, Annie!

  9. This sounds delicious and perfect for a summer meal!

  10. Oh wow this will be DELICIOUS I can just tell. The colors, amazing! I can not wait until I have fresh cherry tomatoes and cukes from the garden to make this one. YUM!!!! bookmarking now 🙂

  11. My mother made something very similar over and over again in the summer time. I am sure as you work with it, you’ll find as she did that it is very flexible. Often times she used red onion instead of shallots, I have seen here you wishbone dressing in a pinch, and made the cheese optional. Also I have taken a cup or so and thrown it on stop of a bowl of lettuce and a diced chicken breast and called it lunch.

    Thanks for reminding me of this salad.

  12. This looks so refreshing and perfect for summer…I must make this!

    Liesl 🙂

  13. PERFECT for summer! This looks delicious!

  14. Oh I can’t wait till my cherry tomatoes start coming in!! Loving this salad!

  15. Beautiful recipe. Simple and healthy….

  16. Simple and luscious. And still super fresh and very spring-ish. Mm!

  17. I bet this is delicious. I am growing cherry tomatoes in my garden this year and they can not grow fast enough so I can make salads just like this. I can almost taste them!!!

  18. My girlfriend and I were just talking about the tomato, cucumber, and feta salad at our local greek place. Love this dish! Summertime can’t come soon enough.

  19. I’m making this salad for the second time this week! So good. Even my husband who, “Doesn’t really care for tomatoes and cucumbers,” just about ate the whole thing while I wasn’t looking. Thanks!

  20. My friends are letting me pick tomatoes from their garden while they’re away for a few weeks. It’s the height of tomato season here. I’m one lucky girl.

    I saved this recipe for these tomatoes. And, oh my gosh, is this a wonderful recipe! I’ve made similar recipes so thought the extra work on the dressing seemed fussy. But it’s reducing the vinegar that makes it all work. I’m passing this recipe (and site) on to as many tomato lovers and I can.

  21. Wow, this is AMAZING! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much salad so quickly. I don’t have a salad spinner so it took some work to get out enough liquid, but it was 100% worth it!

    By the way – I only just found your blog (via Brown Eyed Baker’s blogroll), and I love it! I’ve completely gone through all your archives and already made multiple recipes. Keep up the great work!

  22. Hi Annie,

    Would this hold up well if I made it the night before…or will it be soggy?
    Also, I’m sure feta is best but in your opinion, could I substitute for another cheese, maybe mozzarella? This may sound crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever had feta, so I have no idea if I would like the taste.


    • Lorie,
      For goodness sake, try feta! The only way you’ll ever know if you would like it is if you try it. I don’t think mozzarella would be a great choice in this salad because it has a mild flavor that wouldn’t hold up well against the other flavors. I’m also not sure I’d like it with cucumbers.

    • Oh, and I think it is best immediately after it was made, but I had some leftover the next day and it was still fairly crisp. I was pleasantly surprised.

  23. LOL, ok you’ve twisted my arm…I’ll try it. Thanks for your response.

  24. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this out. I’ll have to remember to get some cherry tomatoes next time I’m in the market

  25. Yum! I made this salad last week and it was delicious. I added chickpeas, as it was our dinner and wanted to add more depth.

  26. I’ve made this twice since Father’s Day and it was a hit both times. I had to skip the parsely though since we didn’t have any on hand. It was great as a side and as the filling on a grilled roll.

  27. How many does this serve?

    • Donna,
      That depends entirely on the appetites of those eating it and what else you are serving it with. That’s why I don’t usually list servings.

  28. Love this salad Annie! It’s great with your honey Chicken recipe. Something warm and something cold. It’s so light and refreshing and I am amazed that anyone would have any leftover! With my family of four, there’s none to spare. I know for us next time I will have to use only one clove of garlic because it was just too much with two. I can’t believe I am saying that. But, regardless, I am putting this on the menu next week quick, with the Turkey Burgers! Thank You Annie!

  29. I tried this side dish tonight with blackened grilled pork chops. It was fantastic! I had some beautiful fresh basil from our garden, so I used that in place of parsley. Can’t wait to try it again with different combinations of fresh herbs!

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