There’s a bunch of recipes in my brain – many that I’ve been eating since I was a kid – that are so simple you’d likely take one look and say, um, nice try, Kristin. Does this dish really require a recipe? One such “recipe” is Cucumber and Tomato Salad.
This salad brings back fond memories of childhood summers 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!
That said, I’ve been devouring the simple combination of cucumbers and tomatoes in dressing every summer for nearly my entire life, but it’s the recent discovery of an incredible homemade Italian Vinaigrette – which I’m calling THE BEST EVER – that’s elevated this summery salad into the Post-Worthy category!
The vinaigrette is nearly the same as the one used in my Best Pasta Salad, but I adapted it to be even quicker and easier. Ben took a bite of the cucumbers and tomatoes dressed with it and said, “yeah, you can go ahead and bottle this.” Tangy and perfectly seasoned – I honest to goodness eat this salad with a spoon so I can get every last drop!
As 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 truckload 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.
How to Make This Recipe
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 scant 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 vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon dried minced onions, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon each honey and salt, 1/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram and dried oregano, and pepper to taste. Shake or whisk to combine. You can make this up to a couple of weeks in advance, by the way!
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.
Drizzle on as much Best-Ever Italian Vinaigrette as you wish then toss with a bit more salt and pepper.
Either pop in the refrigerator until dinnertime or serve right away to enjoy the BEST fresh flavors of summertime!
More Summery Salad Recipes
- The BEST Pasta Salad
- Napa Sweet Corn Salad
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Marinated Vegetable Salad
- Italian Chickpea Salad
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Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette is garden-fresh and the perfect side dish for any summer occasion!
- 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:
- scant 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
- 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.
Vinaigrette adapted from The Kitchn
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.