This easy cucumber tomato salad recipe makes a healthy side dish that compliments any meal. Freshly chopped vegetables and ripe fruit are tossed in a tangy red wine vinaigrette. It’s a simple salad to make that tastes even better the longer the ingredients marinate together.
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing side salad, this dish is a quick and easy option. Each enticing bite uses vibrant fresh ingredients, complemented with robust herbs, plus plenty of olive oil and vinegar for seasoning. No fancy equipment required, just chop and whisk! Paired with a homemade vinaigrette, the vegetables and juicy tomatoes take on the herbaceous and tangy taste.
To ensure that the most flavor infuses into the sliced cucumbers, I let them briefly soak in the dressing before serving. The pungent vinegar rapidly marinates the salad, it’s definitely worth the short wait. Adding in some briny olives, creamy feta cheese, and chopped herbs add a Mediterranean twist to each serving.
Picking the right cucumber
English cucumber is my top pick to use for this summer salad. It provides a crunchy texture even after marinating. The tender dark skin doesn’t need to be peeled, which adds color and more fiber to the dish. Use a chef’s knife to swiftly cut the vegetable into hearty ½-inch sized wedges. It’s the base of the recipe, so we want nice chunks instead of thin slices.
I use ripe Roma tomatoes for their balance of sweet and tangy taste, with mild acidity. The thick flesh, juicy centers, and small seeds add a delightful fruity taste to complement the crisp cucumbers. I cut them into thick slices so that they don’t become mushy when tossed with the acid in the vinaigrette.
Other types of tomatoes can be substituted like small cherry tomatoes cut in half or cocktail tomatoes. Just make sure they’re mature for the best flavor.
To enhance the natural flavors of the produce, I paired it with a bold dressing. Red wine vinegar is whisked together with Dijon mustard, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Make sure to slowly pour in the extra-virgin olive oil while constantly whisking. This ensures that a proper emulsion forms which create a thicker consistency that clings to the ingredients.
How to make cucumber tomato salad
In a large bowl combine the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, sliced kalamata olives, fresh basil, and mint. Pour the vinaigrette over the ingredients and allow it to marinate for about 15 minutes. This will give the fruit and vegetables more time to absorb the tangy flavor into each piece. Right before serving stir the salad and then top with crumbled feta cheese.
Storing and make ahead
The cucumber tomato salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. In fact, the longer marinating time makes each serving tastier, however, the tomatoes will begin to soften due to the acidic vinegar and salt.
For the best taste when making ahead, chop the ingredients a day before. Make the dressing the day you plan to serve and toss them together.
What to serve this with
Vinegar enhances the flavor of foods
Using vinegar in the dressing balances the rich olive taste. It’s also a flavor enhancer by bumping up the natural sweetness in the tomatoes. The acidity helps to mellow out that strong sulfurous burn from raw red onions. Balsamic vinegar can also be used in this recipe. It will make the dressing darker in color and have a sweeter taste.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
- 1 pound (454 g) English cucumber
- 1 pound (454 g) Roma tomatoes
- ½ cup (60 g) red onion, ⅛-inch thick slices
- ¼ cup (30 g) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 tablespoon (1 g) basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon (1 g) mint leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup (37 g) feta cheese, crumbled
- Cut the cucumber by halving it lengthwise, then chop into ½-inch thick slices. This should yield about 3 cups.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise, then into ½-inch thick wedges.
- In a large bowl combine cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, basil, and mint. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, constantly whisking until an emulsified and lightly thickened dressing forms. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetable mix, toss to combine. Allow the salad to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- Stir the salad and transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle it with crumbled feta, salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
- Recipe Yield: 7 cups
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Storing: The salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.