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Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette is garden-fresh and the perfect side dish for summer!

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

I have a bunch of recipes in my brain that I’ve either been eating since I was a kid, or at least on the regular over the past couple of years, that are so simple you’d likely take one look at the post and say, um, nice try Kristin. Does this really require a recipe? 

One such “recipe” is Cucumber and Tomato Salad. I’ve told you many times that my Mom served a fresh iceberg salad with dinner every night growing up, but in the summertime things got a little more interesting (and by little I mean a lot – we’re talking a bowl of plain iceberg lettuce here!)

The summertime is when my Mom’s garden blossomed. Tomatoes grew faster than we could pick them. Cucumbers dripped from the vines. Rhubarb plants grew heavy with neglect (because rhubarb.) At dinnertime, a head of iceberg lettuce wrapped in plastic was replaced with a colander-full of fresh, homegrown vegetables. MAN was it a treat!

I’ve been eating the simple combination of cucumbers and tomatoes every summer for nearly my entire life, but it’s the recent discovery of an incredible homemade Italian Vinaigrette that I’m calling, you guessed it, THE BEST EVER, that’s elevated this summery combo into the post-worthy category.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

The dressing is nearly the same as the one in my Best Pasta Salad, but I adapted it to be even quicker and easier – namely nixing the minced shallot and red pepper, replacing them with dried minced onion (a spice cupboard staple,) and, well, no red pepper. I don’t miss it – especially when it means I don’t have to dirty a cutting board and knife to make this vinaigrette.

I first whipped up this version of the vinaigrette to serve with a cucumber and tomato salad about a month ago and Ben took one bite then said, “yeah, you can go ahead and bottle this.” It. Is. So. Good. I honest to goodness eat the salad with a spoon so I can get every last drop!

Like I said, the recipe for cucumber and tomato salad is not rocket science – I included amounts of both cucumber and tomato for those who want or need it – but just pick a few of each from your garden or grocery store, and you’re set. I include fresh basil in this salad because I always have a truck load of it growing in the summertime, but if you don’t feel like springing for it, the salad is just as refreshing and delicious without it (although what doesn’t benefit from a little basil thrown into the mix? Strawberry-Basil Ginger Cocktail, I’m looking at you!)

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Start by making the Best-Ever Italian Vinaigrette. Trust me when I say this stuff is better than anything you’ll find at the store!

To a mason jar or bowl add 1 cup neutral-tasting oil like canola or avocado (EVOO will overpower the flavor of the dressing – I used organic canola,) 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons apple cider vineger, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon dried minced onions, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon each honey and salt1/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram and dried oregano, and pepper to taste. Shake or whisk to combine. You can make this up to a couple weeks in advance, by the way!

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Next add 2 small cucumbers that have been peeled, deseeded and chopped to a bowl with 4 vine-ripened tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped, and 1/2 cup loosely packed basil that’s been chopped. My favorite method for deseeding cucumbers is to slice in half lengthwise then use a teaspoon or other small spoon to scrape out the seeds. Super quick and easy.

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Drizzle on as much Best-Ever Italian Vinaigrette as you wish then toss with a bit more salt and pepper.

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Either pop in the refrigerator until dinnertime or serve right away to enjoy the BEST fresh flavors of summertime!

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette

Description

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette is garden-fresh and the perfect side dish for summer!

Ingredients

serves 5-6 as a side

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
  • For the Italian Vinaigrette:
    • 1 cup neutral-tasting oil like avocado, grapeseed or canola (do not recommend EVOO)
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinager
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon dried minced onions OR 2 Tablespoons minced shallot
    • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the Italian Vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid or a bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time. Toss with cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil in a large bowl then season with extra salt and pepper and serve.

Notes

Vinaigrette adapted from The Kitchn

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com