Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad

I wrapped up my final semester of grad school last week (Yippee!! Recipe for a celebration treat to come! Here's a hint: It involves frosting and chocolate.) and have been day dreaming ever since. I have Northern Italy on the mind! My browser's history is rich with images of Misurina Lakeold Castles with winding roads backdropped by and jagged mountains, and Tiramisu. Don't forget about the glass lakes, or storybook farm scenes either. Why Northern Italy? My super generous mom gifted me two plane tickets to Europe as a graduation present. 

In the fall, I'll be traveling to Iceland, Germany, Austria, and Italy for two weeks! My mom and step-dad, who have been using Bavaria as a home-base for the last year and a half, will join Oliver and I for the adventure. The trip is still months away, but a girl can day dream, right? I'll also be using my day dreams as recipe inspiration until I can taste the real deal. 

This salad is definitely not an Italian classic, but it has tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar, which pretty much makes it Italian, right? ;) No? Oh well. It's still fitting because it remind me of my mom, who would eat this up, as long as she could throw a few hunks of fresh mozzarella on top. It's also a fantastic summery break from the surprise spring snow storm we just got (Ugh!). 

Italian or not, what makes this salad so good? The answer is easy: the tomatoes are marinaded in a herby, citrusy dressing until their natural sweetness is amplified, and their flesh is infused with flavors of basil and garlic. To turn this into a proper salad, you can spoon the marinaded tomato mixture over a bed of lettuce (my favorite these days is buttercup lettuce), but to be honest it's totally unnecessary. I find that just eating the tomato mixture by the spoonful is equally as delicious, though less graceful. 

From the spoon or from a plate, Salute! Here's to the near future, and all of the fun it holds. 

Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Marinating the tomatoes in the dressing first brings out their natural sweetness.

Serves: 3   |    Total Time:


  • 1 head butter head lettuce
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoons minced red onion


  1. Zest one of the lemons into a medium sized bowl. Juice both of the lemons, and pour the juice into the same bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt, honey, olive oil, and a few cracks of pepper. Whisk to combine.
  2. Peel the cucumber to your liking (I leave some of the skin, but if you dislike the flavor, feel free to peel it all), and chop into bite-sized pieces. Quarter the tomatoes and mince the garlic and tomatoes. Add these to the bowl, tossing to coat in the dressing. Cover bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Wash lettuce leaves. To serve, place one lettuce leaf on a plate and spoon tomato mixture over top. Make sure you spoon some of the liquid over top too. Alternatively, serving a large salad bowl with chopped greens, and prepared tomato mixture piled over top.