This simple salad is actually probably way too simple to be called a recipe, but considering we’ve been known to eat it at every dinner in August, I figured it was probably time I shared it with you.
Like most simple recipes, the key to making this insanely flavorful is getting your hand on really great ingredients. I wouldn’t recommend making this in the middle of winter with hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers—you’ll be disappointed. This is definitely a summer-only recipe. Here, I’m using various heirloom tomatoes we’ve grown, but any fresh tomatoes would do the trick.
What is in this salad?
You’ll need a few things straight from the garden or farmers’ market: a large cucumber, three medium tomatoes, and a half cup of minced fresh herbs. Use whatever herbs make your heart happy—we love a combination of parsley, basil, sage, and oregano, but fresh dill, cilantro, or even mint are great too.
And then you’ll need a few pantry items: extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. If you don’t have white wine vinegar, another acid like red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work, but we’d use a little less apple cider vinegar.
We’ve also made this salad with some thinly sliced red onions mixed in for a cucumber tomato onion salad, and that had a great flavor too!
What kind of cucumber should I use?
As far as the cucumbers go, any that are fresh and crisp will do the trick! We’ve made it with pickling cucumbers, English cucumbers, and regular cucumbers (often called slicing cucumbers in seed catalogs), but our favorite is Armenian cucumbers. Armenian cucumbers are incredibly crispy, firm, and just the best eating cucumbers we’ve ever had.
Whatever you pick, you’re looking for cucumbers without a ton of huge seeds. And you definitely don’t want any cucumbers that have been on the plant too long and gone bitter.
Do I need to peel the cucumber?
Nope, there’s no need! The skin of the cucumber will add some flavor and crunch, and keep the cucumber from falling apart as it marinates in the dressing.
How do I make cucumber tomato salad?
This cucumber tomato salad recipe is so simple, it can hardly be called a recipe at all! Just chop up your veggies, mince the herbs, and toss everything with the dressing ingredients right in big mixing bowl. That’s all it takes!
Can you make tomato-cucumber salad ahead of time?
This salad really is best eaten within a few hours of making it, so we don’t recommend making it very far in advance.
How long does cucumber tomato salad last?
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This tomato-cucumber salad will keep its flavor and texture for about a day, so if you can finish it off within 24 hours, you should. It is still safe to eat for up to 3-4 days total, but you’ll start to see some degradation in texture after the first day.
How should I serve this salad?
As with most simple recipes, this one is infinitely adaptable:
- Eat it straight up as a side dish for dinner with something like chicken, steak, or vegan meatballs.
- Turn it into a Panzanella salad for lunch. Just tear apart some hunks of crusty bread to mix in with the cucumbers and tomatoes. The tomato juices, olive oil, and vinegar soak into the bread. Mmm, so yummy! We also like to slice up some black or kalamata olives to add along with some Parmesan or feta cheese.
- Use it as a base for a cucumber caprese salad: go heavy on the fresh basil leaves and toss in some fresh mozzarella balls.
- Take it on a picnic.
- Make it your contribution to the next potluck!
I don’t hv white wine vinegar on hand, is there a substitute?
Red wine vinegar would work, or apple cider vinegar (although I’d use a touch less of that).
I like variations on the theme. I’ve added just a bit of Stevia. I have added Avacado. Also I have added greek yogurt for a slight creaminess. Any combination of them just top mix it up.
Cucumbers and/or tomatoes with raw onion in yogurt or sour cream. It’s one of those combinations that shows up in totally unrelated cuisines: Indian, Eastern European, Mediterranian, and it was also a favorite of my Grammy who was none of the above. Some combinations just work.
We just started getting cucumbers out of the garden two days ago! I’m growing Edmonson’s — they are blocky 4″ white/yellow cucumbers that are super mild. Loving them! I’ll have to try the Armenian ones next year!
I love fresh summer salads like this, the herbs sound beautiful. I need more tomatoes…
I was already planning on making a tomato and cucumber salad tonight for dinner since we got bunch of both in the CSA last night but I love the idea of sage as an herb. Thanks for the great idea!
Cucumber and tomato salad is one of my favorite things. This looks amazing!
yumm…I’m with Lauren, definitely throw some feta in there if you have no mozzarella on hand.
I had this salad for the first time in Ukraine of all places. It changed my life. 🙂
I love making a tomato and cucumber salad with some feta and a vinaigrette!