Kymberly loves to cook, bake, and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!
Best when made with the freshest ingredients, especially homegrown tomatoes, this easy and quick-to-prepare salad with a healthy mint-lemon dressing is guaranteed to be a hit with family and friends.
With no oil—only fresh vegetables, herbs, lemon juice and some spices—it's a perfect dish for those wanting to watch their waist or needing a vitamin-rich healthy pick-me-up. High in vitamins A, C and K, it's also a fantastic healthy salad to take to barbecues and picnics and to keep away summer colds and flu.
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Serves 6 as a side salad
- 6 large ripe tomatoes, diced
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 large handful fresh mint leaves, finely minced
- juice of 1 to 2 lemons
- salt and pepper, (optional)
- cayenne pepper
Step 1: Prepare the Tomato Salad
- Wash all ingredients thoroughly.
- Dice the large tomatoes into pieces about 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) big, or slice mini tomatoes in 1/2 centimeter (1/4 inch) slices with a sharp knife. Place into a bowl.
- Remove and discard the roots and any limp or damaged leaves from the spring onions (or peel the larger onions/shallots).
- Chop both the white and green parts of the spring onions finely, or dice the large onions finely. Mix with the diced tomatoes.
Step 2: Prepare the Dressing
- Juice the lemons and strain the juice to remove any stray pips.
If your lemon is small, use two lemons, or add a tablespoon of water.
- Grind salt and pepper to taste into the lemon juice. Add any other spices, such as chilli or cayenne—my favorites! Then whisk together quickly with a fork.
- Strip the mint leaves from their stems—you only need the leaves. Discard any leaves that are brown, limp or overly damaged. Keep a couple of tips with a few leaves attached for a garnish.
- Mince the leaves with a sharp knife or herb knife.
- Add the minced mint to the lemon dressing, mix well, then pour over the tomatoes.
- Garnish with a few mint sprigs, and serve.
- Homegrown tomatoes, ripened on the vine, are the most delicious in this recipe!
- The best mint is that grown in your own garden—perfectly fresh and easy to grow in pots.
- Leftovers keep only for 1–2 days in the refrigerator. This salad is definitely best eaten when freshly prepared as the tomatoes start to break down after about a day.
1 Serving Contains:
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Health Benefits of This Salad
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, a strong antioxidant. Although it is not required by humans, lycopene has been shown to help liver function. It has been reported to calm the inflammatory response, reducing the swelling and pain in sciatica, arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic prostatitis.
As part of a diet of fruits and vegetables, tomatoes have been reported to reduce several types of cancer. Tomatoes may prevent neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, and have a beneficial effect on diabetes.
Similar to most green herbs, mint is packed with antioxidants, also has anti-inflammatory properties, and often has a calming effect on digestion and nausea, especially when drunk as a herbal tea.
Lemons have the highest amount of vitamin C of all of the common citrus fruits. A strong immune-system booster, vitamin C helps prevent colds and flu, protects against harmful bacteria and prevents inflammation. It may even help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.
How to Serve It
This salad is perfect when served with:
- barbecued foods—both meats and vegetables
- pasta with cream-based sauces
- Indian curries
- steaks or schnitzel
- seafood and fish
- Mexican chili
- baked creamy casseroles
- potato pancakes or rösti
- rissoles and meatloaf
- meat pies or shepherd's pie
A Versatile Tomato Salad
Changing the ingredients in this tasty salad means you will never be bored!
Main Ingredient Variations
- Use a different tomato: Roma, cherry, grape, beefsteak, yellow, Russian black—any type works well!
- Add half a diced cucumber or a diced red pepper (capsicum).
- Add 6–8 stalks of green asparagus or brocollini, broken into pieces and lightly steamed then cooled.
- Replace the spring onions with finely diced red onions or shallots.
- Add wild greens or salad leaves for an extra hit of antioxidants.
- Add diced feta cheese or fresh mozzarella for a more substantial salad with protein.
- Add cooked and cooled cous cous or fine bulgar wheat for a a substantial salad with more carbohydrates and fiber.
- Add some slices of fennel root for a light aniseed flavor and extra fiber and anti-oxidants.
- Replace the mint with an equal amount of basil, minced.
- Use a mixture of minced fresh oregano, marjoram, thyme and a little rosemary for a varied herbal taste.
- Replace the mint with a double amount of parsley, minced.
- Replace the mint with a handful of coriander, minced.
- Add or replace the spring onions with a large handful of chives or garlic chives, finely chopped.
- Use different types of mint—Thai mint will add heat, peppermint or spearmint will have a sweeter and lighter flavor.
- Replace the mint with 1–2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper for a kick of warmth.
- Finely julienned or grated ginger is great for treating colds!
- A minced fresh garlic clove is also great for colds and flu.
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin adds a warm, spicy note.
- Use the juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon of water instead of lemon juice, for a extra health boost.
- Add 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to the juice mixture for a little more depth.
- Use 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water instead of the lemon juice.
- Use 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water instead of the lemon juice.
- Add 1–2 teaspoons of soy sauce for a saltier, richer tasting dressing. This works especially well with toasted sesame seeds replacing the chopped mint.
Fun Facts About Tomatoes
Did you know . . . ?
- Tomatoes are native plants from Peru in South America.
- They are part of the nightshade family and are closely related to eggplants and potatoes.
- Tomatoes were introduced to Mesoamerica (Mexico) around 3500BC.
- The earliest record of tomatoes by European herbalists was in 1493.
- There are over 7,500 different types of tomatoes.
- The tomato is actually a berry, within the fruit botanical group.
Grow Your Own Salad
I grow a few tomato plants each summer, so I always have a couple of tomatoes on hand. They never ripen all at once.
A few mint plants are in my garden to make tea and flavor water, and they can do with an extra haircut every week. Fresh new mint leaves are better than old, large ones in this salad.
I've discovered that spring onions are unkillable in my garden, and if you just chop the 'leaves' off instead of removing the whole plant, it will grow back.
Unfortunately, I've moved to a cold climate, and growing my own lemons is proving difficult—lemon trees hate snow and cold weather.
What are your favorite flavors to pair with tomatoes in a salad?
Let us know in the comments below!
Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 14, 2012:
kgala - This salad works even better when tomatoes are in season! (July is a little early for my area, but it's perfect now).
Klara - Thank you! Many of my online friends shorten it to NS, or nif - much easier!
Angela and Annart - thank you so much!
Thelma - Guten tag! Great to meet another from Germany here! Mozarella and tomatoes are such a classic, delicious pairing.
EyesStraightAhead - I find a purely cilantro version to be a little too over-powering. Mint is perfect, and it also works well with basil. Chick peas would be fantastic (I love them)! So pleased that your son (and family) loved it!
Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 14, 2012:
Whowas - ice in the salad would be great on a hot day, or even resting the salad bowl in a larger bowl of ice for a good chill without it becoming more watery! Super-ripe tomatoes are certainly the best. Nom! Thank you!
whowas on September 08, 2012:
Very nice combo, tomato and mint.
I would only have a couple of additional ideas to throw in the...er, salad bowl, if I may:
1. On a very hot day, crush some ice and mix in with the salad just before serving. Your guests will be delighted, I promise.
2. Use tomatoes that are so ripe they are almost 'turning' - when they are really dark red and soft. A sprinkle of salt and a little extra-virgin olive oil (coupled with the crushed ice) and you will be in a state of perfect olfactory bliss - first from the aroma and then the explosion of taste. Tomatoes will never be the same again.
Serve this up with some good, local, grass-fed, free-range beef that has been traditionally hung for at least a month, char grilled and some crisp leaves, washed down with an aged burgundy grape - Pinot Noir would be perfect -for the happiest summer meal.
Gosh. I'm salivating!
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on June 19, 2012:
Yummy! I love tomato salad with mozarella and olive oil. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful. Guten Tag!
Ann Carr from SW England on June 15, 2012:
Sounds delicious! I love tomatoes and I love mint. It's great that you've given lots of variations and also that you've summarised the instructions - what a good idea! Voted up, useful and interesting.
Shell Vera from Connecticut, USA on June 14, 2012:
I made this yesterday, added red, yellow, and green bell peppers and some chick peas - Oh My Goodness! It was absolutely delicious. Even my four year old loved it. The mint hits the tongue with just the right power. I made it again today with Cilantro instead of mint and even liked it better with the fresh mint than Cilantro...and I am a Cilantro lover. Great recipe!
Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 14, 2012:
Shell Vera from Connecticut, USA on June 11, 2012:
Mmmmm...with some chick peas and maybe (maybe) a hint of colored bell peppers for appearance, this would be both visually and tastefully appealing! I can't wait to make it tomorrow night!
klarawieck on June 09, 2012:
Wow! What a complete hub! How impressive that you took one idea and rolled with it turning it into a chapter! You're a great writer, nifwlseirff. I just wish you had an easier name to remember. (sigh)
Kevin Galarneau from Michigan on June 08, 2012:
This looks great, its perfect for a summer picnic. I'll have to keep this one in mind for 4th of July weekend. It looks really fresh and tasty.
Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 07, 2012:
Kelly - It's my favorite summer salad, because it is so light, tasty and refreshing! Thank you!
Jenna - This is so easy to prepare, and versatile too. I hope you enjoy it!
krillco - Mint is oft ignored, unless paired with chocolate or in tea! It's quite a shame, because it's a delicious herb. I'll let you have the shrimp, I'm sure they would be delicious with this salad (if I liked shrimp). Thanks!
William E Krill Jr from Hollidaysburg, PA on June 07, 2012:
I never thought of mint with tomatoes in a salad, how interesting....I like the cucumber add idea...sounds great as a light, refreshing summer salad...and maybe with some shrimp on top? Yum.
ladeda on June 07, 2012:
What a simple, tasty-looking, summer salad! I'm going to use this as a side dish next time I barbecue. Voted up!
kelleyward on June 07, 2012:
Beautiful pictures! I love tomatoes and mint! This looks so refreshing. I'll try this soon. Voted up, useful, and awesome! Take care, Kelley