Adriatic Summer Salad Recipe - Authentic Italian Delight

Adriatic Summer Salad

Adriatic Summer Salad Recipe - Authentic Italian Delight
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 0 minutes | Servings: 4


Adriatic Summer Salad
Adriatic Summer Salad

The Adriatic Summer Salad is a refreshing and vibrant dish that captures the essence of the Mediterranean coast. It combines the juicy sweetness of ripe tomatoes, the sharp bite of red onion, and the creamy texture of cheese, all brought together with a herb-infused dressing. This salad is not just a dish but a celebration of summer's bounty, perfect for hot days when you crave something light yet satisfying.


The origins of the Adriatic Summer Salad can be traced back to the coastal regions of the Adriatic Sea, where fresh produce and dairy play a significant role in the local cuisine. Inspired by traditional Mediterranean salads, this recipe has evolved over time, incorporating ingredients like olives and a variety of herbs to enhance its flavors. It's a testament to the region's rich culinary history and its ability to inspire dishes that are both simple and profoundly flavorful.


How to prepare

  1. Arrange 0.5 tomatoes, 0.5 cheese, and 0.5 onion slices in a large shallow salad bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with 0.25 cup of chopped basil. Top with the remaining tomatoes, cheese, and onion.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and mustard until blended.
  4. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes, cheese, and onions. Sprinkle with the remaining 0.25 cup of basil.
  5. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. When ready to serve, toss the salad and garnish with a sprig of basil.


  • For a vegan version, substitute the cheese with a plant-based alternative or simply omit it. You can also add cucumbers, capers, or anchovies for extra flavor and texture.
  • For a vegan version, substitute the cheese with a plant-based alternative or simply omit it. Adding cucumbers or capers can introduce new textures and flavors to the salad.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To maximize the flavors in this salad, use the freshest ingredients available. Heirloom tomatoes, freshly picked basil, and high-quality olive oil can make a significant difference in taste. Thinly slicing the cheese allows it to meld seamlessly with the other ingredients, while letting the salad marinate for at least an hour helps to intensify the flavors.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is perfect as a standalone light lunch or as a side dish for grilled meats or fish. It pairs beautifully with crusty bread to soak up the flavorful dressing.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the marination of the salad, which allows the flavors to meld and intensify. Thinly slicing the ingredients ensures that each bite is balanced and full of flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

If basil is not available, arugula or spinach can provide a peppery kick. Balsamic vinegar can be used in place of red wine vinegar for a sweeter dressing.

Make Ahead Tips

This salad can be prepared up to a day in advance, making it perfect for entertaining or meal prep. Simply add the basil just before serving to maintain its freshness.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad in a large, shallow bowl to showcase the layers of ingredients. A final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt just before serving can elevate the dish.

Pairing Recommendations

A crisp white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, pairs beautifully with the fresh flavors of this salad. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with lemon complements the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This salad is best enjoyed fresh and does not require reheating. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, though the texture of the tomatoes may soften.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Adriatic Summer Salad contains approximately 200 calories, making it an excellent choice for a light meal or side dish that doesn't skimp on flavor or satisfaction.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the tomatoes and onions. A serving contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those monitoring their intake.


The healthy fats in this salad come mainly from the olive oil and cheese. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health. A serving of this salad contains about 15 grams of fat, most of which are healthy fats.


Cheese is the primary source of protein in this dish, contributing to approximately 7 grams of protein per serving. This makes the salad a good option for a light protein boost during meals.

Vitamins and minerals

This salad is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals, thanks to its diverse ingredients. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate, while basil provides vitamin K and iron. The olives and olive oil add vitamin E and healthy fats, making this dish not just delicious but also nutritious.


The primary allergen in this dish is dairy, due to the cheese. Those with a dairy allergy or intolerance should consider substituting or omitting the cheese.


Overall, the Adriatic Summer Salad is a well-balanced dish, low in carbohydrates and calories but rich in healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It's an excellent addition to any meal, providing both nutritional benefits and a burst of Mediterranean flavors.


The Adriatic Summer Salad is a celebration of Mediterranean flavors, combining fresh, quality ingredients in a dish that is both nutritious and delicious. It's versatile, easy to prepare, and perfect for summer dining. Whether you're looking for a light lunch or a flavorful side dish, this salad is sure to impress.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I found this recipe is one I won't soon forget. It was a hot summer day in the small coastal town of Dubrovnik, nestled along the Adriatic Sea. I was wandering through the bustling market, the smell of fresh seafood and ripe fruits filling the air, when I stumbled upon a quaint little stall run by an elderly woman with a twinkle in her eye.

She was selling an array of colorful vegetables, each one more vibrant than the last. As I browsed through her offerings, she struck up a conversation with me, asking where I was from and how I ended up in Dubrovnik. I told her I was visiting my daughter who lived in the city, and she smiled warmly, nodding in understanding.

After a few minutes of chatting, she suddenly reached under her stall and pulled out a tattered old notebook. Flipping through the yellowed pages, she landed on a recipe titled "Adriatic Summer Salad." She handed me the notebook and said, "This is a recipe that has been passed down in my family for generations. It captures the essence of summer along the Adriatic coast. Take it, my dear, and make it with love."

I was touched by her gesture and thanked her profusely. I studied the recipe carefully, noting the simple yet flavorful ingredients: ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, tangy olives, and creamy feta cheese. The dressing was a mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and a medley of fresh herbs. It sounded like the perfect dish to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

That very night, I set to work in my daughter's kitchen, chopping vegetables and whisking together the dressing. As I mixed everything together in a large bowl, the aromas of the Mediterranean filled the room, transporting me back to that bustling market in Dubrovnik. I could almost hear the sound of seagulls and feel the warm breeze on my skin.

When I served the salad to my daughter and her family, they were taken aback by the burst of flavors and colors on their plates. Each bite was a taste of the Adriatic, a harmony of fresh ingredients that danced on their palates. They showered me with compliments, declaring it the best salad they had ever tasted.

From that day on, Adriatic Summer Salad became a staple in my repertoire. I made it for family gatherings, potlucks, and dinner parties, always receiving rave reviews from friends and loved ones. The recipe became a symbol of my time in Dubrovnik, a reminder of the kind old woman at the market who shared her family's culinary heritage with me.

As the years passed, I continued to make the salad, adding my own twists and variations to suit the seasons. Sometimes I would throw in grilled shrimp or marinated artichokes, other times I would swap out the feta for goat cheese or the olives for capers. But no matter how I tweaked the recipe, the essence of the Adriatic always shone through.

I often think back to that fateful day in Dubrovnik, when I stumbled upon a treasure trove of flavors and memories. The Adriatic Summer Salad will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the generosity and warmth of the people I met along my culinary journey. And whenever I make it, I say a silent thank you to the kind old woman who shared her family's recipe with me, a gift that keeps on giving with each delicious bite.


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