Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simple Summer Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

A favorite simple salad in the summer, featuring garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, red or sweet onion, and dressed in a simple homemade vinegar and olive oil Italian dressing.

Simple Italian Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

There is seriously nothing to this salad really, but with fresh tomatoes and cukes startin' to come in, it is definitely worth a quick mention. In fact, with this heat here lately salads are perfect for lunch, or even a light dinner when it's just too hot to think about food, but I get bored with just plain old garden salads. So, I've posted some of my favorite salads that utilize some of those fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that you'll be harvesting soon.

Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes just speak to summer, and y'all, those are tomatoes and cucumbers that literally came right out of my garden! I've never had a huge vegetable garden, just a simple patio garden - one where I could walk out the back door and snip off some herbs, or pick a pepper, cucumber or tomato right off the vine. I've tried a wide variety of different vegetables and sometimes I've had great success. Other years the plants have just simply been overcome by the extreme heat in south Mississippi.

The measurements given here are simply suggestions, so definitely start here but change to your own taste after that. I really never measure personally, but just drizzle it over with a good extra virgin olive oil, white, red wine or apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs if I have them or a pinch of dried (Italian seasoning is nice), a bit of sugar, kosher salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, and that's really about it. Sometimes I grate a little fresh Parmesan cheese in. Try this sometime with red onion - it just gives that nice, extra bite - although I won't argue with ya if you use some sweet Vidalias too, because, y'all know that I very often do!

You may, of course, also use your favorite commercially bottled Italian dressing, but a fresh vinaigrette is just so easy. Whisk together a few ingredients and you're done - you control the sugar and salt, no thickeners, additives, high fructose corn syrup, voila!

If you're going with a commercial dressing, my personal favorites are, hands down, Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar or one made from the packets of Good Seasons Italian All Natural dry salad dressing mix - it has a nice blend of flavors and all the seasonings that you need. Add a good quality extra virgin olive oil and some vinegar and total YUM is all I can say!! Sometimes simplicity is the best tasting really.

A pretty presentation of this salad on a platter. Perfect for company!

One of my favorite ways to prepare this salad with fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers is to skip the dressing altogether and let them marinate in their own juices. Cut up cucumbers and place into a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let rest for 30 minutes. Transfer cucumbers to a lidded storage bowl and add tomatoes and onion. Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper; toss and place in fridge to marinate several hours.

I keep some kind of a cucumber salad in the fridge all summer and often, this very one. I just keep freshening the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes until the dressing starts to taste a bit watered down and then I start over. Be sure to check my other simple summer salads - a well-loved Fire 'n Ice Summer Salad, the tangy Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad, Sour Cream & Onion Salad, and it's plain vinegar variation, and Creamed Cucumber and Onions with Mayo are just a few of my other favorites - each just a bit different from the other. I hope that you enjoy them along with my full collection of salads from coleslaw to pasta salad to potato salads. Here's how to make this summertime favorite.

For more of my favorite salad recipes, visit my board on Pinterest!

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Recipe: Simple Summer Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Total time: 40 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 large vidalia or red onion, halved and sliced thick
For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vinegar - apple cider, red wine or white are all good choices
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon mixed fresh, chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, dill), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut into slices and put into a glass serving bowl. Cut tomatoes into bite sized chunks and add to the cucumbers. Cut the onion slices into quarters and add to the bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, herbs, salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Toss well, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, 2 hours is even better. Let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes; serve as is or spoon over torn lettuce.

Cook's Notes: Grocery store cucumbers are heavily waxed and should be peeled, but when using fresh from the garden cucumbers, you may slice them unpeeled. May substitute about a teaspoon of dried herbs or dried Italian seasoning for the fresh herbs. Salad dressing may be refreshed with new cucumber, onions and tomatoes until the dressing begins to taste watered down, then start over. Grate a little fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the top if you like, but reduce or eliminate salt if using the cheese.

Old School: One of my favorite ways to prepare this salad with fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers is to skip the dressing and let them marinate in their own juices. Cut up cucumbers and place into a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let rest for 30 minutes. Transfer cucumbers to a lidded storage bowl and add tomatoes and onion. Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper; toss and place in fridge to marinate several hours.


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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Posted by on June 11, 2009
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  1. Mary I love all these salads, they're right up my alley, I don't need anything but tomatoes(my favorite veggie) and cukes to have a salad!

  2. Thanks Bunny - summertime does call me to salads pretty often. I'll have some others up soon too hopefully.

  3. we eat a cucumber, tomato and onion salad too, but instead of a vinegar based dressing we use creamy Italian or just plain mayo. I prefer it to the vinegar base, because it only takes a little dressing. The creamy dressing clings to the veggies so well. My mom liked miracle whip (ick), but God rest her soul she like miracle whip and didn't care for mayo.

    1. LOL Vikki, my Mama wouldn't even let it in her house. She said MW is SALAD DRESSING not mayonnaise. I haven't tried it in years though, and I know it has it's place in some dishes. I love the creamy Italian dressing too. Which brand do you use? I can never find it!

  4. We eat this every year from the garden sometimes using italian dressing or most of the time just letting the juices of the veggies marry with just a dash of salt & pepper. This salad screams summertime to me!

  5. Mine is almost like yours but with out any oil.

  6. Can I say OMG! Just made this and it is fantastic before it marinates. Can't wait until dinner tonight. Serving this with country greens and new potatoes, pot roast, and sweet tea.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this & may I just say, what a great meal!!!!

  7. I'm enjoying all the cucumber, onion...salads. I've got to check out all the salads you have. Got my reading cut out for me.

    Mary, I have had trouble commenting on your posts when I am on Google Chrome. I switched back to Google to try this. I hope you are seeing them.

    1. I am! I've not had any problems with commenting through Chrome, but Google Docs, which is what I use for printable copies, isn't printing correctly in Chrome and editing in Google Blogger has some odd quirks going on now too. All works well in IE though - go figure LOL!

      I have been really into salads here in this already oppressive heat - especially anything with tomatoes and cucumber, oh, and Vidalias while we have them!! I've been working on other recipes lately too of course - probably should get busy with editing them for publication I guess. :)

  8. This sounds lovely and really tasty. Thank you for sharing this.


  9. Omg I absolutely love this!!! I made it for dinner and I swear its one of the best salads I've ever had!!! Thank you for sharing this and I'm going to be making this for an upcoming cook out.

  10. I dont have Any olive oil..what can i use in its place? I have canola oil?

  11. Have loved this dish for forever - southern staple dish, but never had the recipe and could never get it right. Just mixed up the dressing using fresh parsley, dry basil, dry dill weed, half apple cider vinegar and half red wine that's gone a bit too far toward vinegar to drink - doc says I can't drink wine; he never said I couldn't COOK with it! Don't even have the onions cut up yet but the tomatoes and cucs taste divine mixed in this dressing! Thanks so very much Mary!

    But y'all, I can't tell the difference between Mary's Boiled dressing and Miracle Whip. I like both. Mayo leaves me oh hum but we have it because hubby won't use MW. No one else likes either one!
    Maybe next time or so, I will refresh this with more veggies and add in a spoonful of Mary's dressing? because creamy sounds intriguing, too.

  12. I make mine simular but use equal instead of sugar & any vinagar on hand and no oil or herbs only salt & pepper. I balance the strong taste with a little water. I put about 3 kuks & 2 big tomatos & 1 Big sweet onion. Then it sits in fridg for 3 hours . Coverd . Sorry fof misspelled words my spell ck. Is not working.


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