Bright Summer Oil-free Tomato Salad Dressing
With just four ingredients, this bright summer oil-free tomato salad dressing is perfect for Mediterranean style green salads, noodle dishes, used as marinades for vegetables and drizzled on grilled and roasted vegetables.
Tomatoes come in so many colors and flavors, it only makes sense to not only put tomatoes in the salad, but highlight them in the dressing itself. I originally created this dressing for the Castelvetrano Olive, Tomato & Noodle Salad which echoes some of the same ingredients.
The Tomatoes for this Oil-free Tomato Salad Dressing
Pretty much any variety of tomato makes this dressing good. Pictured below are yellow and red grape tomatoes from the Farmers market. These red and yellow grape tomatoes were very bright, acidic, sweet and juicy which is perfect for this dressing. I have also made this dressing with many other varieties.
The only tomato type that isn’t as good is the plum style tomato, like the Roma or San Marzano. Those varieties while great cooked down for sauces, just don’t have the flavor needed for a bright salad dressing and often not juicy enough, making too thick of a consistency. The best tomatoes for this dressing are juicy with tart and sweet flavors.
Green olives, specifically Castelvetrano olives, are what I use for this bright oil-free tomato salad dressing to give a little richness and touch of saltiness to this oil-free dressing. The green Castelvetrano olive is a great choice for this dressing. Castelvetrano olives come in a salty brine, and have a rich creamy texture that goes so well with the tomatoes when blended. Green olives, as opposed to black olives, allow the color of the dressing to stay pretty. Some Castelvetrano olive brands have a harsh acidic taste which takes away from the fresh tomato taste. Other brands have a more subtle taste. Whichever brand you choose, the olives should be rinsed just prior to reduce the excess brine and saltiness from the jar so the bright tomato taste of the dressing shines through. For more on Castelvetrano olives see the Castelvetrano Olive, Tomato & Noodle Salad dish recipe.
For this dressing the purpose of the lemon is to add more tartness. Typically I use the juice of 2 lemons for every cup of chopped tomatoes. Depending on the acidity level of the tomatoes and the tartness of the lemons you get, you may need more or less lemon juice to get the right balance.
The raw garlic adds pungency and was surprised at how much I put in to get the flavor desired. We do like garlic! Still, some garlic is stronger than others, so as always it’s a good idea to taste after the addition of each clove. Two to four garlic cloves for each cup of chopped tomatoes is about right. I remove the germ from the garlic cloves for this dressing as with most recipes using raw garlic to avoid the bitterness. The germ is found in the center of the clove and isn’t always bitter, but if greenish in color as opposed to white, it will likely be bitter and causes an unpleasant taste in the dressing.