How the heck is it August already? The summer months are quickly winding down, but that doesn’t mean we are ready to say goodbye to all the glory of summer. Once you take a bite of Ale’s Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad, you will feel a big summery hug surround you. Ahhh!
All cheesiness aside, the salad is both completely satisfying and refreshing. Ale’s Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad is a quick-to-prepare salad perfect for a light summer meal or as an eye-catching side dish for your next potluck.
How could a mixture of these ingredients not combine to make an unbelievable flavorful summery salad?
- Sweet, firm San Marzano Tomatoes
- Briny Greek olives
- Tangy & Salty Feta cheese
- Crisp red onion
And, to bring it all together,
- Lemony, thyme vinaigrette
It is a giant bruschetta-like salad begging to make your evening better. Go ahead, let it!
Uncomplicated details of the Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad
Even though food tastes good and looks gorgeous, doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. For me, summer is the epitome of uncomplicated. Do you have the recipe for an uncomplicated summer? It is not rocket science; rather, the exact opposite.
Simple moments + simple foods + the people you love = Uncomplicated Summer Bliss
Thankfully, Ale’s Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad fits the recipe above and will come together in less than twenty minutes.
With the salad being relatively straight forward, there is one big tip to make it more enjoyable. After you slice your onions, let them sit in a bowl of red wine vinegar or white vinegar for 10-15 minutes. Water also works if that is all you have.
Are you one of those that need to know the “why” behind this added step? I get it. I love the nerdy details behind things as well. Have you ever eaten a juicy In-n-Out burger with crisp onions only to realize shortly after that you had dragon breath? How could something so amazing result in something so awful?
Well, my friends, those sweet little onions are to blame. Soaking those very same onions in vinegar, lemon/lime juice, or water will help reduce the strong flavor and resulting aftertaste. As the onions soak in the liquid, the sulfur compounds dissipate into the water, mellowing out the flavor.
Apart from the soaking of the onions, everything else is super easy. Do the onions first. While they soak, cut the tomatoes and feta then mix up your dressing.
Only a few steps. It is really simple!
So, why the “Ale” in the Ale’s Tomato, Feta, and Olive Salad?
Ale (short for Alessandra) is the brilliance behind this salad. Her daughter, Maria, stayed with us for a few weeks in July. We had a dinner event and Maria suggested we make this salad her mom makes. With her guidance, we put together the salad and I was in love at first bite.
I added my own twist with a lemony thyme and oregano dressing, but everything else was inspired by Ale and Maria.
As Maria’s time with us in sunny, Southern California came to an end, I was surprised by how bittersweet her departure was to our family. She, of course, was greatly missed by her family (my aching mom heart totally got this) and friends and missed her home as well. There is only so much one can take from us Americans. Wink-Wink!
My two sons adored her and her Italian phrases that she taught them. Even more so, they adored her delicious Italian biscuits, which she had every morning with her espresso, and she always shared. By the way, these Italians are on to something. If we call these less sweet version of a cookie a “biscuit”, then it makes it completely appropriate to have the “biscuit” for breakfast. Brilliance!
As a side note, the Italians have soooooo many types of biscuits and they are far better than what we have available here in the states. We either need to start importing said biscuits or making our own.
Please let me know if you make this salad by leaving a comment below as well as rating the recipe. Also, please feel free to share any changes you made to the salad or how you shared it with family and/or friends. For me a recipe is a framework, making adjustments that suit our own tastes and creativity.
Enjoy and Ciao!
Ale’s Tomato, Feta, & Olive Salad
- 2 lbs. San Marzano tomato or other firm tomato
- ½ c pitted Greek olives
- 4 oz feta cheese
- ½ large red onion thinly sliced
- Red wine vinegar or other vinegar
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 small lemons
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tsp fresh oregano lightly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Placed thinly sliced red onion in bowl with vinegar and let sit for 10-15 minutes. If you do not have vinegar, you can use water.
- While onions sit, prepare remainder of ingredients. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and then again so the is in fourths. Cut vertically into about 1-inch pieces. Use a knife or fingers to crumble feta cheese into small chunks about size of a marble. Place chopped tomato, feta cheese, and olives into large mixing bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for the herby lemon vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste keeping in mind the feta and olives are already salty.
- Remove onions from vinegar and add to bowl with other salad ingredients. Gently stir to combine ingredients. Slowly add the vinaigrette stopping about halfway to mix. Taste and decide if the salad needs more vinaigrette.