old school tomato salad

tomato salad, large bowl

Everyone knows someone who makes the best (insert recipe here…) For me, my Grandpa makes the best tomato salad. His ingredients are simple- juicy sun-ripened tomatoes, shaved onions & celery, oregano, olive oil and salt.

I thought about updating his tomato salad (because that’s what us young people do) and quickly realized what a horrible idea that was. You don’t mess with a 90 year old man’s recipe! An Italian man’s recipe no less. It’s perfectly delicious the way it is. So I left it alone.

tomato wedge

Grandpa will tell you 2 things:

1.) Chill your salad for at least an hour. The juices from the tomatoes will mix with the salt and olive oil to make the most amazing juice.

2.) To eat this properly, you will need good bread. Lots of it.

crusty bread

tomato salad plate

Grandpa’s tomato salad is the best not only for its simplicity, but because he makes it. Somehow it always tastes better that way. Here’s to you Gramps…

grandpa90th balloon

old school tomato salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes (softball size)
  • 1-2 large celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • ½ vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • leafy celery tops
  1. Slice your tomatoes into large wedges. You should be able to get 6-8 wedges per tomato. Place into a large bowl.
  2. Using a mandoline, thinly slice your celery and onion. Toss into the bowl.
  3. Add the dried oregano.
  4. Sprinkle over a couple pinches of salt and a drizzle of olive oil (a few of turns around the bowl should be good).
  5. Add some leafy celery tops.
  6. Toss gently to combine.
  7. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, minimum ½ hour. Taste your tomato salad and adjust with more salt and/or olive oil.
  8. Serve with lots of crusty bread.


  1. Ruby says

    I agree, simple is best. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! It’s hard to find ‘real’ tomatoes these days. Garden fresh is the only was to go and these look mouth watering delicious!
    Gorgeous photos, sweet tribute to Grandpa!

    • theclevercarrot says

      Thanks Ruby! You’re right, it really is hard to find ‘real’ tomatoes these days. I truly look forward to tomato season. I hope you can get a hold of some good ones. Enjoy!

    • theclevercarrot says

      Thanks Celia! I’m glad I didn’t update it either. Grandpa would’ve told me I was doing it all wrong anyways. He likes to argue passionately about food :)

    • theclevercarrot says

      Thank you Mrs. M! Fresh tomatoes are all over the markets right now and it’s so nice to enjoy them at their peak. What a treat!

  2. Rose says

    Hi Emilie! This is the recipe that my Nunnie made except for the celery. Makes me hungry for tomato salad and wishing my Nunnie
    was still around.

    • theclevercarrot says

      Hi Rose! Welcome! I can’t believe that your Nunnie made almost the same recipe. Wow. I hope you can find some fresh tomatoes to make something in honor of her. Thanks for stopping by :)

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