Salads/ Sides

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onion and Olives

July 4, 2017

A simple fresh tomato salad made with red onion, arugula/rocket, olives and red wine vinegar. This salad is perfect for lunch or as a side with grilled fish or meat.

Sometimes a salad can be overthought, loaded with unnecessary ingredients and drenched in overpowering dressings that mask any fresh flavours that are in there. This fresh tomato salad is incredibly basic, yet not boring in the slightest. It has only 4 main ingredients, tomatoes, red onion, olives and arugula/rocket. The fresh flavours and simple easy dressing make this salad what it is, incredibly delicious and fuss free.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onion and Olives

I’ve been craving a lot of fish and seafood recently, it’s something I don’t eat that often although I wish I could. I live in the countryside of Siena and I’m so far away from the sea meaning fish is often not widely available and it can be quite expensive.

This weekend I decided to ‘splash out’ and I bought some sole and octopus. For the octopus I wanted to recreate the best octopus and potato salad I’ve ever eaten while on holiday at the Cinque Terre in Liguria a few years ago. I was a bit weary of it turning tough and chewy but I watched it like a hawk and it turned out great, not perfect but still delicious, I’m determined to perfect it.

For the sole I made the classic buttery, lemony sole piccata…it was insanely delicious and to go with the sole I made this quick fresh tomato salad.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onion and Olives

This fresh salad went perfectly with the lemony, buttery fish. It would also be just as delicious with grilled meats such as chicken or steak, great with barbecues or even just on its own for a light lunch. I quite happily munch on this at lunch time just as it is.

How to make Italian tomato salad

To make the salad, toss some arugula in a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the arugula on a serving plate. Add slices of tomato and thin slices of red onion (try to slice the red onion as thin as possible) over the arugula. Add the olives and sprinkle with a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onion and Olives

Finally add an extra pinch of salt and pepper, especially over the tomatoes and drizzle with more olive oil. That’s it, so simple and effortless yet its full of flavour. Salads in Italy are always very simple, focusing on the freshness and quality of the ingredients rather than being overloaded with countless fruit and veg. The dressing has to be light and not overpowering and I think this fresh tomato salad ticks all the boxes.

For more summer salads try;

What’s your favourite Italian salad? Let me know in the comments below.

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5 from 7 votes

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onion and Olives

A simple fresh tomato salad made with red onion, arugula/rocket, olives and red wine vinegar. This salad is perfect for lunch or as a side with grilled fish or meat.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 86kcal
Author Emily Kemp


  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large handful of arugula/rocket
  • 2.8 oz (80g) green pitted olives
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Slice the tomatoes and red onion into fine slices (slice the red onion as thin as possible). Add the arugula to a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil (around a tsp) and add the squeeze of lemon along with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Toss so the arugula is coated in the dressing and arrange on a serving plate.
  • Top with slices of tomato, red onion, and olives. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar and sprinkle with a pinch of salt of pepper (make sure the tomatoes are seasoned well). Finally drizzle over the remaining olive oil and serve.


Please note this recipe was tested and developed using metric measurements all imperial measurements are approximate.


Calories: 86kcal
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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  • Reply
    July 8, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Yum! Such a great use of summer produce. Definitely need to try this with all the tomatoes I have in the garden.

  • Reply
    Caroline @ Pinch Me, I'm Eating!
    July 7, 2017 at 4:32 am

    That’s really all you need for a good tomato salad! A little lemon and red wine vinegar. Sounds delightful! Those also look like my favorite green olives – are those the canned kind? They’re so buttery and delicious! I bet Cinque Terre was amazing!5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      It definitely was, it’s such a beautiful place. The olives are jarred ones and are so delicious, perfect with the tomatoes and onion.

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    July 6, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Love it — my kind of salad and I’m loving the idea of letting perfect ingredients speak for themselves!5 stars

  • Reply
    Patty @ Spoonabilities
    July 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    This looks like such a perfect summer salad with the olives and homemade dressing. So delicious!5 stars

  • Reply
    July 5, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Looks delicious! A great flavor combo, perfect for the summer months!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    That’s a beautiful and simple salad. Tomatoes and olives just go so well together.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I love everything about this salad, healthy, easy to make and refreshing!5 stars

  • Reply
    Debra C.
    July 5, 2017 at 1:44 am

    We are heading into tomato season and I couldn’t be a happier gal! Your recipe looks so bright and fresh and what a delicious salad to enjoy this summer! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!5 stars

  • Reply
    July 5, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Summer is perfect for this kind of salad. Easy to make, still filling with the olives and tomatoes… and that dressing is just light enough to make me feel like Im heating heathy!

  • Reply
    Ayngelina Brogan
    July 4, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I love that it is finally tomato season, with good ingredients you don’t need to do much!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    This looks like the perfect salad Emily – fresh, tasty and simple!5 stars

  • Reply
    Sarah Newman
    July 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    So simple and perfect light fare for summer!5 stars

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