I don’t know about you but it can get pretty hard for me to think of what to cook for dinner. Then I finally decide on the main dish only to realize I need something to go with it. I try to have a cooked vegetable and some raw vegetable with our main meal of the day. It could be a platter or carrots sticks and cucumber slices, a big green salad, or cole slaw. One of our favorites is Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

This salad is fresh, delicious, adaptable, and quick to put together. I usually make it with cherry tomatoes since they have better flavor year round but garden tomatoes are great too. The dressing is just lemon juice and olive oil drizzled over the chopped vegetables. That’s going to save you the cost of buying a salad dressing. The only other pantry items you’ll need are salt and pepper. The trick is to taste as you go and see if you need more salt, or lemon, or olive oil.

This is more of a formula than a recipe so I’m going to list ingredients and let you decide on the amounts. If you don’t have one of the vegetables I listed, add something you do have. If you love red onion, then add some nice slices of that. I have a few more ideas for variations at the end of the recipe. Feel free to adjust and make this your own!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad “Recipe”

  • Cherry tomatoes or fresh garden tomatoes
  • Cucumber, peeled if the skin is waxed or thick
  • Red bell pepper, use any color you have or prefer
  • Parsley, I like flat leaf parsley for this
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

First you are going to chop your vegetables. The goal is to have them roughly the same size. I slice cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on how big they are. Bigger garden tomatoes are cut into large-ish chunks. I peel the cucumber unless it’s an English cucumber or the small ones. Those I cut into quarters lengthwise and the cut across into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. Next the bell pepper is cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Give the parsley a rough chop and add that to the bowl. I chop the stems too. They add a nice crunch and flavor. You can take the leaves off and discard the stems if you’d like. It’s too fiddly for me to mess with removing the leaves and for most dishes the stems are fine as long as you chop them.

Making Tomato and Cucumber Salad.
Vegetables for Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

Simple Lemon Dressing

Drizzle the salad with olive oil then squeeze the lemon over the vegetables. I have a lemon juicer like this one and we love it. It works really well and catches all the seeds. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper then give the salad a good mix. Taste a few of the vegetables and see if you like it as is or want to add anything. I usually let it sit for a few minutes and taste it so things have a chance to mingle and blend. Give it a final taste just before serving to be sure you like the flavors and adjust anything as needed.

Dressing for Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

Ideas and Variations

Like I mentioned above, you can leave out or add other vegetables if you prefer. Thinly sliced red onion would be good or green onion. You could add fresh corn that’s been steamed or charred in a hot skillet. If you like some heat you could add some chopped fresh chili or dried red pepper flakes. Change the parsley to cilantro, lime juice instead of lemon, and add chopped jalapeno to serve with a Mexican dinner. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with. However you make it, this salad will add lots of variety to your family dinners.