10 minute Marinated Tomato Recipe featuring plump, juicy tomatoes marinated in a fragrant garlic and fresh herb infused tangy lemon vinaigrette! This quick, no-cook cherry tomato marinade recipe is the perfect versatile summer dish. Try serving these seasoned tomatoes as a salad, side dish, or appetizer with crusty bread!
Featured comment: Simple, quick and loaded with flavours! Thank you!” -Angela
This vinegar marinade is the best way to turn your humble tomatoes into a 5-star veggie dish that everyone will love! You can easily customize this recipe by using your favorite variety of tomatoes or adding any fresh produce you have on hand, such as cucumbers.
Update: This post was originally published in May 2022. I made updates to the article below to include more information about marinating tomatoes in vinegar at home.
Hi, friends! Can you believe it’s already May and we are in the middle of spring? Pretty soon we will be permanently basking in those hot, golden summer days. And on those days when the kitchen is too hot and stuffy, fresh ingredients and raw salads are just heaven-sent!
Some of my go-to fresh salad recipes include my Easy Cucumber Salad, Raw Asparagus Salad, and of course, today’s recipe – this super refreshing Marinated Cherry Tomatoes Salad! You can make this marinated tomatoes recipe in just 10 minutes with just 5 ingredients. Walk away and let the zesty Italian marinade steep into the fresh cherry tomatoes, infusing them with the most amazing savory, sweet, tangy, herbaceous flavors! These beautifully macerated tomatoes will tantalize your tastebuds!
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About this marinated tomatoes recipe
If you are already preparing a list of easy, light, and refreshing dishes to make this coming summer, this tomato marinade recipe needs to be on top of it! While tomatoes are available all year-round, they ripen best under the heat of the sun. That warm summer heat causes the tomatoes to be juicier, plumper and sweeter. While fresh summer tomatoes are delicious as it, they’re even better when you toss them with garlic, shallots, lemon juice and fresh herbs, then drench them in a zesty Italian dressing!
This vinegar cherry tomato marinade is vegan, gluten-free, and super healthy too! Plus, it’s such a low-maintenance dish – requiring just 1o minutes and no cooking is needed! You simply chop the vegetables, make the marinade, toss everything together and let the magic happen! No need to babysit; go out and enjoy your day!
Why you’ll love this tomato marinade
- 10 minute recipe! This balsamic vinegar tomato recipe is gloriously easy and the preparation is fuss-free! Simply chop some fresh veggies, whisk the dressing and toss everything together. Let the tomatoes marinate or enjoy them right away.
- Pantry staples! You need 5 fresh ingredients – tomatoes, garlic, shallots, herbs and a lemon – along with a few pantry staples, such as oil and red wine vinegar for this cherry tomato marinade.
- Robust flavor! This zesty vinaigrette marinade lends the most delicious, robust flavor and enhances the ripe tomatoes perfectly.
- Use any variety tomato! You can marinate any type of tomato you love. Whether you harvest your own tomatoes, collect them from the farmer’s market, or simply grab them from the grocery store, any tomato will work in this tomato marinade recipe! (Scroll down or click to read about the best varieties of tomatoes to use in salads!)
- Totally customizable! Add your personal touch when marinating tomatoes. This recipe for tomato marinade is totally customizable. Make it as directed or customize it to suit your needs. Try marinating thick tomato slices instead of cherry tomatoes. Or try adding in chopped cucumber and sliced avocado. The sky is the limit!
- Incredibly versatile! These garden fresh tomatoes in a garlic and vinegar mix are so versatile! Serve them as a side to any BBQ dish or use them to dress up any meal, from salads and grains, to sandwiches and burgers.
What are marinated cherry tomatoes?
Also known as seasoned tomatoes or a tomato salad, marinated tomatoes are as simple as they sound, yet taste like million bucks! This tomato marinade recipe features sweet, juice cherry or grape tomatoes, garlic, shallots and fresh herbs soaked in a flavorful mixture of olive oil, two kinds of vinegar, fresh lemon juice and Italian seasonings. The fresh, sweet tomatoes with the tangy vinaigrette is simply magical!
While you can eat seasoned cherry tomatoes right away, it’s best to let them marinate on the counter for about an hour. Alternatively you can store vinegar tomatoes in the refrigerator, but be warned – these marinated grape tomatoes are so good, they disappear before they make it to the fridge!
Ingredients to marinate tomatoes
This simple tomato salad recipe requires just a handful of pantry ingredients, such as oil and vinegar, along with fresh tomatoes. Since there’s only a handful of basic ingredients in these marinated tomatoes, it’s imperative that you use the freshest produce along with high-quality products for the best taste! (Scroll down for variations!)
Ingredients you’ll need
- Tomatoes: Juicy, ripe tomatoes are crucial to making the best tomato salad. Meaning, if you make this tomato recipe with lackluster tomatoes, you’re going to get a subpar tomato salad. I like to use either cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half. However, you can use any variety of small-to-medium size tomato, such as Heirloom or Roma, as long as they are fresh and firm to the touch!
- Onions: I prefer shallots for their mild flavor; however, you can use red onion or sweet onion if you prefer a more assertive onion taste. For a more subtle onion flavor, try soaking your chopped onions in ice-water with a splash of fresh lemon juice. The cold soak mellows the harsh bite and improves the onions texture.
- Garlic: Fresh cloves of garlic lend a distinctive, punchy taste and fragrant aroma. Grating garlic into a paste provides the most delicious, mellow garlic flavor. However, if you don’t have a microplane, you can simply mash the cloves and mince them into a paste.
- Oil: Good-quality olive oil and vinegars are key to a great tomato marinade! For the richest flavor, use extra virgin olive oil, versus pure or light olive oil.
- Vinegars: Red wine vinegar provides a delicious and distinctive tangy flavor, while the balsamic adds a rich sweetness.
- Lemon: Tart lemon juice lends a zippy flavor that beautifully complements fresh tomatoes. Freshly squeeze a lemon for the best taste!
- Herbs: Bright, fresh herbs add really bring this marinated cherry tomatoes recipe to life! I like to use a mix of basil and flat-leaf parsley. But you can use just one herb, or any Italian herb combination you love, such as chives, thyme or oregano.
- Seasonings: A combination of Italian seasoning mix, kosher salt and ground black pepper bring the flavor.
Delicious as this marinated tomatoes salad may be, there is always room to bump up the flavors even more!
- Toss with english cucumber coins and sliced onions. Who can resist a classic fresh tomato salad made even more flavorful?
- Add mozzarella pearls. Give your cold tomato dish a fresh, playful spin by adding mozzarella cheese pearls!
- Throw in fresh corn. Buttery kernels of corn work beautifully in this cocktail tomatoes recipe!
- Make an epic Caprese Tomato Salad. Layer marinated tomato slices between fresh basil leaves and rounds of Buffalo mozzarella.
- A BLT with a twist. Add large crispy shards of salty bacon and serve over butter lettuce leaves! So good!
- Amp up the flavor! Add a few splashes of Bloody Mary mix or V8 juice! This will instantly and effortlessly give your fancy tomatoes a boost of savory flavors!
Which tomatoes are best for marinating?
Wondering what type of tomatoes you should be using in your marinated salads? Below you will find everything you need to know about the best tomatoes to eat raw with vinegar.
Best tomatoes to eat raw
- Tiny tomatoes, such as cherry or grape tomatoes, are the most delicate varietal. Beloved for their complex sweetness, cocktail tomatoes are my favorite variety to marinate. When marinating mini tomatoes, I recommend cutting them in half; however, you can quarter them if they are large in size.
- Romas, also known as plum tomatoes, are synonymous with Italian cuisine. These tomatoes are full of flavor with a tangy, sweet and acidic garden-fresh taste. Roma tomatoes have a low water content and a chewy, drier flesh that makes them perfect for adding to salads and macerating!
- Clusters of medium-size tomatoes on the vine are easy to find at the grocery store and quite versatile. Slice them up or cut them into wedges for salads.
- Heirloom tomatoes is a general term for varieties of tomatoes that have been passed down between gardeners for generations. Because of this, heirlooms vary in size, shape, color and flavor; however, their unique characteristics are what make them so delicious! If using large heirlooms, I recommend either cutting them into thick slices or wedges before marinating in olive oil and vinegar.
- Beefsteak tomatoes are named for their large size and meaty, juicy texture. You can either cut these tomatoes into thick slices or wedges before adding to the balsamic marinade.
How to make tomato marinade?
This Italian tomato recipe is so simple and foolproof it feels wrong to call it a recipe. However, the fresh ingredients along with the simple steps produce beautifully flavorful tomatoes! These seasoned tomatoes are proof that sometimes the best things really are as simple as 1, 2, 3!
- Whisk marinade: In a small mixing bowl or glass measure, combine the oil and vinegars along with the fresh lemon juice, Italian spice blend, salt and pepper. Whisk well to thoroughly combine.
- Pour marinade over tomatoes: Place chopped tomatoes, shallots and basil in a shallot mixing bowl. Pour the tomato marinade over the fresh ingredients. Gently toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes so they are fully submerged in the liquid marinade.
- Marinate: Cover the bowl of marinated tomatoes salad with plastic wrap or an airtight lid. Let marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours. After 2 hours, move the marinated tomatoes to the refrigerator.
- Enjoy or store: Ue a slotted spoon to remove the seasoned tomatoes from the vinegar marinade and enjoy. Or cover the marinated cherry tomatoes and store in the fridge for later.
Tips when marinating tomatoes
- Use a wide shallow bowl to ensure that all your fresh tomatoes are evenly submerged in the vinegar marinade. This also means you do not have to toss the tomatoes as much, which will preserve their shape better. You can also use a medium-sized baking dish for this marinated tomatoes recipe.
- Marination time. The marinated tomato salad will taste better the longer it sits. However, past a certain point the tomatoes will get soggy. I like to let my tomatoes marinate in oil and vinegar between 2-6 hours when serving guests and the taste matters most!
- Adjust to taste. If the tomatoes taste like they are missing something, add a pinch of flaky salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice! Or if the tomato salad tastes dull, add more herbs and a pinch of salt! If the tomatoes are too acidic, add a bit more sweet balsamic vinegar or a generous pinch of sugar, agave, or honey!
- Serve at room temperature. If you placed the marinated tomatoes in the fridge, bring them to room temperature before using since oil tends to congeal when cold. The flavors will be more apparent when the tomatoes are at room temperature, too.
How to marinate tomatoes step-by-step photos
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use other types of tomatoes?
You can use any varietal you love in this marinated tomatoes recipe. Fresh heirlooms marinate wonderfully, if they are in season! If you are using bigger types, slice them into quarters or eights to make sure they absorb as much of the marinade as possible.
Is it possible to marinate overnight?
Absolutely! Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. The longer they marinate, the more the flavor blends and merges.
Can I use apple cider vinegar instead?
Sure! However, please note though that apple cider will have a more robust, fruitier flavor, so you will probably need to use less in the marinade. Do a taste test when using different vinegar types.
Do I need to peel the tomato skin if I use bigger ones?
Not at all. Tomato skins are edible, and the marinate will soak right through them. You can peel the tomatoes before marinating if you want to, though.
What other fresh herbs can I use?
Other good options for seasoning tomatoes are thyme, oregano, sage, and cilantro.
How do I know when my marinated tomatoes go bad?
Just look for the usual signs of spoilage like the formation of molds, discoloration, and a stinky, funky smell. If you observe any of this, please throw them away.
These marinated cherry tomatoes are honestly so good that I usually make a big batch and keep them in the fridge. They make the perfect quick and easy snack and I love serving them as a side with sandwiches and soups, especially soups with Italian sausage and Italian tortellini soup. But they also taste terrific when you add them to salads and grain bowls, too!
However, these vinegary tomatoes are incredibly versatile and you can enjoy them in a number of ways:
What to make with vinegar tomatoes!
- Side dish at BBQs, Picnics and Potlucks: This marinate tomato salad is the ideal summer dish! Serve with coleslaw or cabbage slaw and baked beans with bacon; alongside grilled steaks, fish, and chicken!
- Toast with the most: Heap them on top of your breakfast egg toast.
- Dips and Hummus: Make your dip extra special by using these flavorful toms as a fresh topping. Drop them on hummus bowl recipes, avocado hummus recipes, or goat cheese dip and serve with the most delicious pita chip recipe!
- Bruschetta: Use marinated cherry tomatoes to make delectable bruschetta–just do not forget the balsamic! You can also serve them with focaccia or a softly toasted baguette. Your guests will be lining up for this perfect hors d’oeuvre for your next party!
- Pizzas: Instead of using plain tomatoes, use this marinated tomato salad to jazz up your pizza and flatbreads.
- Sandwiches: You can also pile them up on your sandwiches!
- Tacos and Fajitas: Just like a sammie, these juicy tomatoes taste great on all types of fajitas and tacos, from a carnita taco, to a bean taco, and every single unique taco recipe in between.
- Warm and Cold Pastas: Stir this recipe for marinated tomatoes into cooked and cooled noodles for a scrumptious marinated tomato pasta salad bursting with summer flavors!
- Grain Bowls: They are also fantastic served over grains, such as orzo or quinoa!
Storing tomatoes in oil and vinegar
In the fridge. Place the marinated cherry tomatoes in a jar or any airtight container. Make sure to place it in the refrigerator after two hours to reduce the risk of spoilage. Tomatoes in marinade will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Chill, not freeze. I do not recommend freezing for longer term storage. Freezing will give the tomatoes a weird texture after they thaw. It is easy enough to make anyways, so just plan to make only as much as you can use for a few days.
Remove chill. I prefer removing them from the fridge 30 minutes before serving them. However, if you are in a rush, you can quickly heat them using your microwave.
This recipe for cherry tomato marinade is sunshine on a plate! So, next time you see a bunch of tomatoes in the farmer’s market, or if you happen to harvest them fresh from your garden, I hope you give this easy tomato recipe a try!
If you’re looking to marinate more fresh veggies, try these Simple Marinated Mushrooms next!
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More recipes with tomatoes!
Are you looking for more delicious, yet easy tomato recipes? Try these delicious family favorites next!
- Tomato Burrata Toast
- Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
- Marinara Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Pesto
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken (30 minute recipe!)
The best Marinated Cherry Tomatoes recipe👇
Below is the complete printable recipe card, along with some of the step-by-step photos. Click to see the comprehensive instructional photos in the post above!
Tomato Marinade Recipe
- 1 Large Glass Measure
- 1 Shallow Bowl
- 1 Whisk
- 1-2 clove Garlic – grated or smashed and minced into a paste
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a good quality!)
- 1 TBS EACH: Red Wine Vinegar + Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp Italian Seasoning
- Kosher Salt + Ground Black Pepper – to taste
- 1 pound Cherry or Grape Tomatoes – halved or quartered, depending upon size (SEE NOTES)
- 2 large Shallot – finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1-2 TBS Finely Chopped Fresh Herbs - basil, flat-leaf parsley, or combination!
- Mix marinade: In a glass measure or small mixing bowl, combine the garlic, oil, both vinegars, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of freshly-ground black pepper. Whisk to thoroughly combine and emulsify. Set aside.
- Combine veggies + herbs: Place the tomatoes, shallots, and fresh herbs in a large, shallow mixing bowl.
- Add marinade: Pour the marinade over the tomato mixture. Toss gently to thoroughly coat all the tomatoes in the Italian marinade. Arrange tomatoes so they are fully submerged in the liquid.
- Marinate (optional but recommended!): Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit on the kitchen counter at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, preferably at least 1-2 hours, giving the tomatoes a stir once or twice. To marinate the tomatoes for longer than 2 hours, store in the refrigerator!
- Adjust to taste: If the tomatoes taste like they are missing something, add a pinch of flaky salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice! If the tomato salad tastes dull, add more herbs and a pinch of salt! If the tomatoes are too acidic, add a bit more sweet balsamic vinegar or a generous pinch of sugar, agave, or honey. (Tip: Whether you need to add an acid, salt, sweetner, or more herbs will depend upon the variety and freshness of your tomatoes. It's very important you adjust the recipe to make the most out of YOUR tomatoes.)
- Serve: Enjoy marinated tomatoes as a light summer salad, salad topper or side dish!
- Tomatoes: You can use any variety of tomatoes you love! Fresh heirlooms are delicious in this recipe if they are in season!
- Add mozzarella pearls for marinated caprese salad!
- Add English cucumber and sliced onions for a fresh tomato salad!
- Add large crispy shards of salty bacon and serve over butter lettuce leaves for a delicious twist on the BLT!
- Flavor boost: Add a splash of bloody Mary mix or V8 juice!
- Serving suggestions:
- Spooned over focaccia or softly toasted baguette as an easy Italian appetizer.
- Make bruschetta - don’t forget the balsamic!
- Use the tomatoes as a flavorful salad topper!
- Try it over grains, such as orzo or quinoa!
- Serve as a side dish with fish, chicken, or sizzling steaks hot off the grill!
- Stir tomatoes into your favorite cooked and cooled pasta salad!
- Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Bring them back to room temperature before serving for best results.
- Yield: Recipe yield approximately 3 cups.
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