Tomato and Onion Salad

by jptanabe

Easy recipe for tomato and onion salad with Japanese-style salad dressing - delicious!

If you love tomatoes and onions like I do, you must enjoy them as salad! It's so easy to make a salad with only two ingredients, plus dressing, you just can't go wrong.

Since my husband is Japanese we eat a lot of Japanese-style food. I used to buy Japanese salad dressings - delicious but expensive! Then I figured out how to make it myself. This is a very simple Japanese-style dressing and it makes the best tomato and onion salad. Enjoy!

Image of Tomato and Onion Salad from Wikimedia Commons.

Ingredients for Tomato and Onion Salad

With Japanese-style Dressing

The ingredients for the salad are so simple:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions

And for the Japanese-style dressing:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Seasoned Rice vinegar
  • Cooking Rice wine

The Salad Part


Yes, tomatoes! I love them! They are the perfect ingredient for any salad - juicy, sweet, tangy, and such a great color! Unfortunately, most store bought tomatoes, even the "on the vine" type, don't have much flavor, which is why you need great salad dressing!

The image looks almost like the cherry tomatoes I grow - which taste extra good!


Onions! Something my family eats all the time! They seem rather humble, but they impart the best flavor whether cooked or uncooked. Amazing!

I like to use red onions in salads, but with this Japanese-style dressing it's really not necessary. The humble white ones serve the purpose just perfectly

Salad Bowl

When you've sliced up the tomatoes and onions they go in a bowl. I like to see them, so I use a clear glass bowl. This one is rather nice. And of course, a Pyrex bowl works just fine too!

Glass salad bowl

Glass 6.8-inch diameter salad bowl from Italy.

Attractive and reasonably priced!

Pyrex bowl

Here is the contemporary version of that well-loved Pyrex bowl that everyone's grandmother had!

I love this one, and the smaller ones that fit inside. Can be used for anything - mixing, cooking, serving, and of course it does a great job of serving tomato and onion salad!

The Dressing

Soy Sauce

The key to Japanese salad dressing, and most Japanese food really, is in the soy sauce. Japanese style soy sauce is not the same as the Chinese version. So don't use the stuff you get at Chinese restaurants! We always use Kikkoman soy sauce, it tastes great and isn't really so expense. Since my husband uses it for almost every meal we buy large containers of it - I especially like this size because the plastic container is easy to handle and pour from. One more thing, if you are worried about sodium, and yes soy sauce is salty, you can use the "low sodium" version.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has a very strong flavor and truly defines this Japanese-style salad dressing, replacing the traditional vegetable or olive oil of western style salad dressings.

Seasoned Rice Vinegar

Seasoned rice vinegar is actually the vinegar used for making sushi. It has a clean taste that is mellower than distilled white vinegar and the seasoning imparts a slightly sweet flavor.

When combined with sesame oil it makes the best salad dressing to accompany Japanese dishes.

We always get this Marukan brand - tastes great and not too expensive!

Cooking Rice Wine - Mirin

Japanese cooking wine is also made from rice, and is somewhat sweet. Known as "Mirin" it imparts a lovely flavor to many dishes.

Here it is an essential ingredient in the salad dressing.

The Preparation

To make enough for 3-4 people:

  • 4 or 5 medium sized Tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized Onion (can be white or red)

Slice them all and put in the salad bowl.

Simpler version!

Easier Japanese-style dressing:
Mix 1/3 cup Italian dressing
with 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
The dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Rice Wine

Mix together in a bowl.

Pour onto the salad and toss well.

Serve immediately, or chill first.

Serving the Salad

This salad is pleasantly Japanese in flavor. The soy sauce does make it rather salty so it fits rather well with steamed white rice, the staple of Japanese food.

In my family we eat this salad with Mabo Dofu (a dish made with beef and tofu), or with gyoza (fried dumplings also known as potstickers), which are both served with rice. Both seem to go well with the tangy salad.

Naturally it can be served in separate salad bowls. Alternatively, such as when we eat gyoza, we just take small amounts of the salad on top of our rice bowls, allowing the dressing to soak into the rice - mmm, tastes so good!

Updated: 01/22/2024, jptanabe
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jptanabe on 01/05/2016

Yes, cucumbers, that would be lovely! My sister loves cucumbers so she would definitely include them.

blackspanielgallery on 01/04/2016

I have often seen this with cucumbers as a third ingredient.

Veronica on 11/29/2015

anything with tomatoes and onions in is a winner for us here.

Ty for this lovely recipe.

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