This Caesar Style Tomato Salad Recipe was inspired by the flavors of a classic Caesar salad as well as an abundance of fresh summer produce. Light and refreshing, it’s an easy and delicious way to get in a boost of nutrients. Featuring a homemade dairy free Caesar dressing and toasted pine nuts, this tomato salad recipe is loaded with different tastes and textures to satisfy all your tastebuds. Serve it as an appetizer, side dish, or main course! Dairy Free Option.
This tomato salad was inspired by Bon Appétit’s Tomato Caesar Recipe. We used their version and made a few tweaks for a more allergy-friendly salad everyone can enjoy!
Caesar-Inspired Tomato Salad
We have a confession to make. 😅 This recipe was kind of an accident, but it was so tasty we couldn’t not put it on the blog! That would be a disservice to you. Admittedly, this salad is not your typical Caesar recipe – We have our Spicy Shrimp Caesar Salad for that! However, it was inspired by the classic flavors. Plus, it couldn’t be easier to make!
You see, this salad resulted from one of those nights when you just need something fast. Luckily, there we had an abundance of tomatoes on hand, but not much else. So, we got a little creative! Thus, using a handful of ingredients and a little creativity, this Caesar Style Tomato salad was born. To everyone’s surprise (especially my husband who isn’t fond of tomatoes on their own), this recipe was not only quick but really good, too. Huge score!
Don’t get us wrong, we love the well-thought-out and precisely measured recipes like Tomato Crab Bisque and Peanut Stew. Yet, there’s just something so freeing and nostalgic about simply playing in the kitchen with whatever you have on hand. You might be surprised at what you can whip up! After all, gluten free, allergy friendly eating doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful – this easy tomato salad recipe proves it!
Health Benefits & Nerdy Nutrition
Of course, we all know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for us. However, for this tomato salad, we took the old adage and went one step farther by carefully combining ingredients to get the most bang for your buck!
A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate, tomatoes of all kinds are also rich in antioxidants such as lycopene and beta carotene. If you’re unfamiliar, lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, improve heart health, and more! (Source) In addition, beta carotene can help improve your eye health, lung health, and cognitive health. (Source)
Did you know that it can take up to 25 years for a single pine tree to start producing edible pine nuts?! Crazy, right? But the wait is definitely worth it! Not only are pine nuts incredibly tasty, but they’re also super nutritious, too. For instance, they have been shown to help improve heart health, blood sugar levels, and brain health thanks to their high levels of omega fatty acids and fiber! (Source)
Did You Know? Many of the vitamins and nutrients in tomatoes are fat soluble! That means that in order for our bodies to absorb them properly, they must be paired with a healthy fat such as the pine nuts or olive oil found in this Caesar salad recipe.
How to Make a Caesar Style Tomato Salad Recipe
Although simple to make, this recipe comes together with multiple components including the homemade Caesar dressing, the toasted pine nuts, and the tomato salad itself. Don’t worry, though. We’ll walk you through each part!
For the Caesar Salad Dressing
Unlike other Caesar dressings, our version is made with natural ingredients and has an egg free, dairy free option! To make it, you’ll need:
- Egg Yolk, Mayonnaise, or Hummus
- Dijon Mustard
- Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast
Then, just mix it all together, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use!
For the Toasted Pine Nuts
Of course, you could add untoasted pine nuts to your salad, but taking just a few minutes to warm them up adds so much flavor! Plus, it can be done on the stovetop or in the oven.
Stovetop Method: Warm a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts, and toast for a few minutes or until they’re fragrant. Do NOT add oil or they’ll burn!
Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit, and add the pine nuts to a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes.
Pro-Tip: No matter which method you choose, be sure to keep a close on your pine nuts because they burn quickly.
For the Tomato Salad
Once all of the ingredients are prepared, it’s time to put the rest of your salad together! And it literally takes all of 10 minutes.
- Arrange the tomatoes on a plate.
- Drizzle the dressing.
- Add lemon slices.
- Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top.
Storage Tip: If your tomatoes have been refrigerated (ie. they’re not from your backyard or the local farmer’s market), store them at room temperature until they are fully ripe. Then, transfer them to the fridge until you’re ready to use!
Optional Protein Boosters
If you want to bulk this easy Caesar salad recipe up a bit, try adding a few ingredients such as:
Can I Make the Salad and Dressing Ahead of Time?
The dressing can be prepared ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days!
However, for the best results, we recommend serving the prepared salad fresh. If needed, it can be kept in the fridge for a few hours before the tomatoes start to become soggy.
Do I Have to Use Caesar Dressing?
You definitely don’t have to! Feel free to swap out the dressing for anything else you prefer. Some of our favorite options include Vegan Green Goddess Dressing and Nightshade Free Spicy Vegan Ranch!
More Summer Salad Recipes
- Bright, flavorful, and full of nutrients, this Summer Strawberry Salad will be your new go-to recipe!
- The perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics, weeknight dinners, and more, this Three Herb Tomato Zucchini Salad is loaded with fresh flavor and produce.
- This Peach Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowl is made with simple ingredients for an easy summertime recipe.
- Vegan friendly and made with no refined sugar, this Melon Mango Avocado Salad is perfect as a breakfast, dinner, snack, or dessert!
Caesar Style Tomato Salad Recipe
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
The best way to use your summer produce, this Caesar Style Tomato Salad Recipe is light, refreshing, and full of flavor. Serve it as an easy appetizer or filling main course!
For the Dressing:
- 1 large garlic clove (1–2 teaspoons minced garlic)
- 1 egg yolk (replace with 1 Tablespoon real mayonnaise or plain hummus for egg free option)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1–2 teaspoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce (We us this one for gluten free option)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ – ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan (fresh is key) (See notes for dairy free option)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 pound tomatoes, sliced quartered, or halved (Heirloom and cherry tomatoes)
- Fresh lemon slices – to preserve tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh basil or to taste
- 2–3 Tablespoons (18–24 grams) toasted pine nuts
- Shaved Parmesan or nutritional yeast for serving
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Caesar Dressing:
- Press the garlic, and finely chop it into minced pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk (or mayonnaise/hummus), lemon juice, dijon, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking constantly.
- Finish by whisking in freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside while preparing the tomatoes. (See notes for dairy free option)
For the Tomato Salad:
- Rinse and drain the tomatoes.
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a large plate.
- Drizzle the dressing on top. Layer lemon wedges between the tomato slices. Add fresh herbs, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan. Season generously.
- Serve immediately.
- Storage – For the best results, we recommend serving the prepared salad fresh. If needed, it can be kept in the fridge for a few hours before the tomatoes start to become soggy.
The dressing can be made dairy free by replacing the Parmesan with nutritional yeast, but the texture and taste will vary.
Caesar Salad Dressing Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons: 130 calories, 10.9 grams fat, 6.3 grams carbs, 2.7 grams protein *Nutrition below does not include dressing.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: n/a
- Category: Appetizer, Mains, Salad
- Method: layer
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅓ of salad without dressing
- Calories: 83
- Sugar: 4.2 g
- Sodium: 39.1 mg
- Fat: 5.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.9 g
- Fiber: 2.7 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Cholesterol: 1.3 mg
Keywords: caesar salad, tomato salad, salad recipe, summer recipe
Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!
This is seriously refreshing!! My family loved it!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Ok I just found my new favorite salad! My friends loved it too. So fresh and delicious!
I’m so glad! Thanks for feedback amy!
I am absolutely in love with this salad! Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite thing to grow and this was the perfect way to show them off. Fabulous recipe!!!
Wonderful! thanks for feedback !
I love how easy and flavorful this is!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
My go to salad!! Everyone loves it and I make it all the time!
woohoo what I like to hear.