The Tomato Salad Recipe Every Warm-Weather Gathering Needs

Six simple but stunning ingredients.

By Isabelle Eyman
Photography Michelle Nash
Tomato Salad Recipe

With the anticipation of warmer, sun-dappled days finally turning into reality, we’re breaking out all of our favorite spring recipes. Pasta dishes are lightening up, main courses are becoming all the more colorful, and of course, we’re serving salads in abundance. We recently visited Margarita Kallas-Lee and her husband Phillip Frankland Lee for dinner at their Austin home. The Michelin star-studded couple invited us over for the best steak we’ve ever had, a strawberry cake that we definitely packed up for breakfast, and Margarita’s tomato salad recipe that brightened up the whole meal.

I’m always impressed with chefs who aren’t afraid to keep things streamlined and simple when they’re entertaining at home. And though Margarita and Phillip own nearly 20 acclaimed restaurants across the country, specializing in everything from omakase sushi to handmade pasta, they understand the beauty of allowing food to taste exactly as it is. That’s exactly the case with Margarita’s tomato salad recipe.

Salt sprinkled on tomato salad recipe.
Margarita Kallas-Lee tomato salad recipe.

Ingredients for This Tomato Salad Recipe

Heirloom tomatoes. The beautiful thing about heirloom tomatoes is that you don’t need much to make them taste amazing. The flavor is naturally vibrant and sweet, so be sure to pick the best you can find. And if your meal needs a little more color, opt for a variety of tomatoes.

Onion. Because the onion is chopped and tossed into this salad raw, go for a white onion. They’re a little milder and sweeter than your standard yellow onion—a perfect complement to the tomatoes. Be sure to slice your onion thinly.

Garlic. Microplaning the garlic straight into your salad bowl allows all of its natural oils to infuse the tomatoes.

Sunflower oil. Almond oil or avocado olive oil also works well here. Again: opt for the best.

Lemon juice. The citrus’ acidity ties your salad together.

Salt. Key for helping the other ingredients shine.

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Tomato Salad Recipe

Simple Tomato Salad

  • Author: Margarita Kallas-Lee


Simple, but stunning—this tomato salad recipe combines the summer-favorite fruit with just a few good ingredients that highlight their sweet, complex flavor.


Units Scale
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil, almond oil, or avocado olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Slice tomatoes and onion. I like to slice my onion very thin.
  2. Add salt over the tomatoes and onion, mix then microplane garlic into the salad.
  3. Add lemon juice and oil of your choice!

Comments (1)

  1. gul says:

    This is the salad recipe that we always make in Central Asia. I wonder if you learnt it in CA.

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