Greek Tomato Salad (Ntomatosalata)

The basic Greek tomato salad is much simpler than the famous horiatiki. You just need tomatoes, onion (preferably red onion), salt, olive oil, and a bit of oregano.

Core the tomatoes and cut them lengthwise into 4 to 8 wedges, depending on their size. Slice in some onion, sprinkle on salt, and crumble in a couple of pinches of dried oregano (or add a few fresh oregano leaves if you have them).

Ingredients for Greek tomato salad.

Drizzle on your best extra virgin olive oil and mix everything up a bit. That’s it! (Note: vinegar is not required here, but if you feel like adding some cucumber to the salad, then do add a bit of vinegar as well.)

Zoe says that the two main mistakes Americans make with this salad are cutting up the tomatoes too small, and using tomatoes that are too ripe. Both of these mistakes tend to produce a mushy salad due to the tomatoes falling apart. I know from experience that the salad is not as good when I try to cut thin pieces of tomato as when I leave them in nice, thick, sturdy wedges. As far as the ripeness question goes, I’ll leave that to your judgement. I love ripe tomatoes! At the same time, if they’re so ripe that they’ll fall apart in the salad, I agree with Zoe that they should be used for cooking, or maybe sliced into a sandwich.

Greek tomato salad, ntomatosalata, dressed with olive oil.

This easy, simple salad is great with almost anything! It’s one of my standard go-to salads for quick weeknight suppers. And it is often served with bread and feta as a complete meal, light but satisfying!

15 Comments »

  1. Comment by Laurie Constantino

    We finished dinner 5 minutes ago and we had exactly this salad. The ripe tomato thing is interesting - I prefer ripe (not mushy, but ripe) tomatoes in this salad - for me, they have much better flavor. But you are right, the relatives in Greece prefer tomatoes slightly underripe. It’s great when we’re there during tomato season because I get gifted a lot of perfectly ripe tomatoes!

  2. Comment by Cheryl

    I agree with Zoe about the size & ripeness of the tomatoes. But, if you do happen to use tomatoes that fall apart in the salad it adds more flavor to the oil and is awesome for soaking into a great piece of bread. This is one of our regular side dishes and I do love it because it’s quick easy.

  3. Comment by lulu

    That’s interesting, Laurie. I’m aware that in any culture some things will vary from family to family, so I’m never totally sure if I’m running into a Mama/Zoe preference versus a Greek one. It sounds like this slightly underripe tomato preference is generally Greek. I’m like you, I want my tomatoes just a little riper when I can get them that way.

  4. Comment by lulu

    Cheryl, that’s an excellent point that I hadn’t thought of. This is one salad where I do chase every last drop of dressing with a piece of bread. I don’t tend to do that with a vinaigrette, but tomato-flavored oil is good!

  5. Comment by Laurie Constantino

    Lulu, I do think it’s a more generic cultural thing. Cousin Zafiris has lectured me more than once about why Greeks believe slightly underripe is better. And that tomato oil left in the bowl? One of the best parts of this salad!

  6. Comment by lulu

    Let’s make sure Zoe and Zafiris never meet and team up on this one!

  7. Comment by Sam Sotiropoulos

    Ah, the classic tomato salad…This salad is very popular with us. :) We just planted our tomato plants this afternoon, they are from seed which my family brought back from Greece last year. I can’t wait till we start enjoying fresh ripe Greek tomatoes from our own little garden.

  8. Comment by lulu

    Sam, that’s great. I haven’t planted my tomatoes yet; I am a very bad Californian!

  9. Comment by Teresa

    I just had to tell you how much we loved this salad. I threw it together yesterday for lunch and can’t wait to make it again tonight! So simple and so good! Thanks!

  10. Comment by Lulu

    Hi Teresa! Glad you liked it!

  11. Comment by Rob Wilson

    Just saying today while eating spanish olives - that the best olives are greek, best tomatoes greek, best feta greek and then i come across your recipe - great advice thanks.

    Rob Wilson’s last blog post..Which tomato varieties can be grown upside down?

  12. Comment by Lulu

    Hi, Rob, welcome! I love your upside down tomato growing! I think I’ll try it next year!

  13. Comment by Cafe Robin

    That kind of salads is one of my favorites - as I’m a Vegan.

    Don’t you think there is too much onion in there?

    Anyway, thanks for providing the recipe.

  14. Comment by Michael Demos

    A twist to this recipe is to add mint.

  15. Comment by Andrew

    Having travelled extensively through the Mediterranean regions of Europe, I have come to the conclusion that under-ripe tomatoes in salad is a Mediterranean thing. Not exclusively Greek. In fact in Catalonia,Spain they are frequelntly not much past green. It seems odd at first to those who are not used to it but it is worth acquiring the taste.

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