This cucumber and tomato salad is so good that you could eat it alone and never think of eating anything else with it, like bread, meat, etc. It’s one of those salads that is so balanced and so tasty that you crave it, like you would chocolate. I get those cravings. The good thing is that this salad is very easy and quick to make.
As a matter of fact, my 8-year-old daughter made this salad that you see on the pictures all by herself, from peeling and chopping the veggies, to making the dressing and mixing it all together. She was so proud! This is the first dish she had ever made all by herself, and the salad was so good that she received a ton of compliments for it.
This salad is a close sibling of the family favorite Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad but without the avocado and with different herbs. Yes, not everyone likes avocado and basil as much as I do, and most people that I know love parsley and cilantro. If you want, you can substitute herbs in this salad for basil. Either way, this salad will impress.
Tips for making this cucumber and tomato salad
When picking tomatoes for this salad make sure they are aromatic and ripe. Buy the best tomatoes you can find. It will make a huge difference. If the tomatoes are not fully ripe, leave them on a windowsill for a couple of days to ripen. You want them fully ripe, slightly soft, fragrant and juicy. That’s the kind of tomato that makes this cucumber and tomato salad shine.
The cucumbers, on the other hand, should be fresh and crunchy, to create a textural contrast to the tomatoes. Speaking about this salad already makes my mouth water.
The tomatoes must be cut into large chunks. This may seems crude and lazy, but it makes a perfect sense. Large chunks of tomatoes will burst in your mouth with delicious juices, while thinly cut ones won’t impress as much. So, yes, they must be big and chunky.
Finally, when making the dressing, use a very good quality olive oil. Not the one that you cook with, but a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Low quality oil will ruin this otherwise magnificent salad. What does good quality olive oil taste like? Here is a resource from Olive Tomato that describes it very nicely, better than I ever could.
Oh, and try this salad with freshly baked no-knead bread, the two are a perfect match. Use the bread to soak in every last drop of the delicious dressing.
Rustic Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe
For the vegetables:
- 5 large tomatoes (fresh and fully ripe; tomatoes on the vine are a very good choice)
- 1 pinch brown sugar
- 1 English cucumber (fresh and firm)
- 1/2 large red onion
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (very good quality)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves (pressed)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Core the tomatoes, cut into 6-8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half. Place the tomatoes into a large bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and toss really well.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice it into 1/4" thick slices. Add the cucumbers to the tomatoes.
- Slice half the red the onion into very thin slivers crosswise. Then cut the slivers in half, or leave as is, depending on you preference. Add to cucumbers and tomatoes. Add the chopped parsley and cilantro.
- To prepare the dressing, throw all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together vigorously, until well blended.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss gently using both hands. Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve, for 1 to 6 hours. This will allow the flavors to meld together. Then serve and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days.