Does it get much tastier than a cool, crunchy, cucumber & tomato salad??? I think not! This salad is one of my favorites to throw together. It’s satisfying enough to stand on it’s own and manages to be the perfect side dish. Whether you’re going for a more rustic chop, like the one I made here, or more delicate, thinly sliced veggies, you’ll end up with a flavorful salad that’s sure to please even the most picky palate!
For this salad, you’ll want to start with fresh, ripe veggies. You can chose your favorite style of cucumber. The main two that you’ll find in the grocery store are probably going to be either the standard slicing cucumbers or English cucumbers. The English cukes are a favorite of mine! The skin is a little thinner, the seeds are smaller and they taste just a little sweeter. While I do prefer the former, it’s hard to pass up the deals that you can find on the standard slicing cucumbers. They will typically cost about half of what you can get the English variety for and they always seem to be on sale! Both types will work just fine as long as you wash them well!
*Keep in mind, you can always peel them to help avoid any bitterness. It’s usually a good idea to taste a little slice after you wash, just to make sure you avoid that bitter bite. If it’s really noticeable, go ahead and peel! You don’t want to get to the end and realize your cukes have betrayed you with a funky flavor!
For this recipe, I used Roma tomatoes. Roma’s are nice and juicy and hold their shape well after being cut. There are just so many amazing varieties of tomato out there, so if you have a favorite, you can use whatever you like or have on hand for this dish. Like the cucumbers, you can slice or dice your tomatoes anyway you prefer! Same goes for your green bell pepper. While I don't always add bell pepper to the cucumber salads, this recipe is a little more along the lines of a greek salad with the sumac and mint, so the addition of green bell pepper works well.
While a rough, rustic chop works well on the other cucumber, tomato and bell pepper, I really like to use a mandolin to slice the onions as thin as possible. I love, love, love onions, especially red, but when you bite into a huge chunk of onion, it can be a little overwhelming and you may still be tasting those onions the next morning...no, thank you! Using a mandolin to slice the onions, you can get an even, thin slice that will complement your other veggies perfectly and is more palate pleasing. If you don't have a mandolin, you can grab one here!
The dressing for this salad is really simple. The base, red wine vinegar and olive oil, are the perfect start to any salad dressing. You can add flavors like garlic, honey, dijon mustard, or your favorite herbs and spices to customize a simple salad dressing that tastes super fresh. (Here is a recipe for one of my favorite, simple salad dressings!) For this crunchy salad, I love to add dried mint and sumac. If you've never used sumac, you can read a little more about it here.
After you've done all of your chopping and slicing, toss in the vinegar, mint, sumac and olive oil and finish it off with a hearty sprinkle of feta cheese. I like to let it sit around 10 minutes for all the flavors to come together. Give it one more good toss before you serve to get all of those tasty flavors that are hiding at the bottom of the bowl. This salad tastes the best while it's fresh and crunchy, but it will keep it's crunch for a couple of days in the fridge, if it lasts that long!
Thanks for Chewsing!