It’s the season of “fresh out of the garden” and there is no better way to use those cukes and tomatoes than in a summer cucumber and tomato salad. This salad is refreshing and perfect side for any backyard bbq.
Sorry I’ve been MIA lately, I was in Santa Fe for a few days for a food writing conference, if you haven’t been you should definitely make the trip. It is a beautiful part of the country that is grounded in so much culture. I already miss the food and the New Mexico chiles. Later this summer, I will be sharing recipes that were inspired from my trip!
I’m back now and ready to dive back into sharing new recipes with you so that you can create your own happiness around the table with family and friends.
Let’s discuss this summer cucumber and tomato salad.
Tomatoes: For photos, I used colorful cherry tomatoes from the grocery store, but this salad is so delicious with fresh red ripe tomatoes and if you can grab them off your own tomato plant, even better. Since I live in DC, I usually find mine from the local farmer’s market.
Cukes: You can use any type you can find. I love the little fresh cucumbers from my dad’s garden. I don’t know what it is, but backyard-garden vegetables are so much better. If you don’t have a garden, farmer’s markets are the next best thing.
Purple Onion: A purple onion provides a little zing to the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. If you’re not an onion lover you will still want to add a few of these thinly sliced onions just so the unique flavor of the purple onion can mix in and add a little pucker to the salad. I have no shame in admitting that I eat around the purple onion.
Vinegar: You can use whatever you already have in your pantry. My favorite is apple cider vinegar. You can use white or sherry vinegar as well. You will need to use a few tablespoons to help draw out the flavors of your other ingredients and to give the salad a fresh “bite”.
Pasta: I love my salad to feel more like a meal so I add pasta to it. If you’re making this salad gluten-free or as a simple side for a backyard BBQ on a hot summer night, the pasta can be left out. When I make this meal on Sunday to have lunches for the week, the pasta helps keep me full until dinner.
Feta Cheese: I add cheese to everything. I use feta cheese for this because it’s has the perfect combination of acidity and creamy.
Basil: To make this summer salad fresher I like to garnish it with a simple basil chiffonade. This is totally optional. Click here to see a SAVEUR video on how to complete this technique.
Easy Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad
- 2 cups Cucumbers, chopped (about 2 cucumbers)
- 2 cups Tomatoes, chopped
- ½ small Purple Onion, thinly sliced
- 3 TBSP Vinegar (see notes above)
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 cup Uncooked Orzo Pasta
- ½ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
- ½ TBSP Chiffonade Basil (see instructional video link in notes above)
- If you are adding pasta, cook pasta al-dente in salted water. Drain and let cool.
- While the pasta is cooking, you can do your prep for the salad, dice the cucumbers and tomatoes into about 1/4 inch cubes. If you're using cherry tomatoes, I just quartered them. It's most important that they are all similar sizes. Thinly slice the purple onion.
- In a bowl, mix together the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion. Add in your vinegar and salt, toss until coated.
- Add in your pasta and additional add-ins. With a spoon carefully stir bottom-up to combine ingredients until evenly distributed. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.