This light and refreshing Italian tomato and cucumber salad is a must. It’s simply the perfect bowl of summer chunky salad packed with flavor and vitamins, it comes together in 5 minutes and makes everyone happy.
It’s healthy, light and economical.
My mom made this salad just about every night when I was growing up. It makes an excellent side dish for any summer meal, but I have to admit I love it on its own. A big bowl of garlicky tomato, cucumber and red onion salad and that’s it. I don’t need anything else with it, I want that big and fresh flavor to be the star of the show.
Now let me state the obvious: to make this simple and delicious salad shines, you want ripe tomatoes, fresh ingredients and a good extra virgin olive oil! Please, don’t even think to dress this salad with other oils, you want a GOOD “extra” virgin olive oil. Then add vinegar, garlic, oregano and fresh parsley and make a glorious Italian dressing.
If you’ve planned a BBQ party for the weekend, this is the salad you want to add to the menu. Trust me, it will rock!
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Red onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red or white vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Cut tomatoes, cucumber into nice chunks and finely slice the red onion…
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar and screw on the lid
- Shake ’em up vigorously… and the dressing is pronto (ready)!
- Add cucumber, tomatoes, onion and chopped parsley to a salad bowl
- Pour the dressing over and toss well and… buon appetito (enjoy)!
Flavor: chose ripe and juicy tomatoes (Plum, Roma, cherry, on the vine, work fine) and cut them into nice chunks. Before you add the dressing, toss them well and if you notice they release too much water, just remove some. I don’t like when tomatoes are too watery, they water down the dressing and I end up with a pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl and less flavor.
Choose fresh and firm onion and cucumber and cut the cucumber into crunchy chunks, not thin slices. Any type of cucumber will work for this salad as long as you remove the seeds before slicing. I prefer English cucumbers because are generally a bit sweeter than regular cucumbers and have fewer seeds.
HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?
A good extra virgin olive oil smells and tastes good, clean and fresh. The flavor can be fruity, floral, herbal or even subtle, but never overpowering in a way that indicates rancidity. If you can shop for olive oil in a market that allows you to taste it before you buy, that would be perfect. However, keeping in mind a few simple rules might help you:
Origin: good extra virgin olive oil should be grown, pressed and bottled in a single country.
Cold-pressed: this means that no heat was used to extract the oil from the olive. Adding heat allows producers to extract more oil from the olives, but simultaneously destroys the delicate flavors and aromas.
Age: unlike wine, olive oil does not age well. A good bottle of extra virgin olive oil should have a “pressing” date or sell-by date (usually one year after it is pressed) on the label. And if it doesn’t have it, consider to put that bottle back on the shelf.
Color: don’t mind the color, it’s not an accurate judge of its quality. In fact, extra virgin olive oils can range in color from deep grassy green to bright yellow.
I’m sure you will fall in love with these fresh and big flavors, just add the ingredients to your shopping list and make this Italian tomato and cucumber salad ASAP and please let me know if you have a question.
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Italian tomato and cucumber salad
- 4 medium-size tomatoes (approx 1 lb)
- 1 English cucumber
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp red vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 large garlic clove, grated or pressed
- 1/2 tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Core the tomatoes, cut into 4-6 wedges, then cut each wedge in half.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice it into thick slices.
- Finely slice the half onion and chop the parsley.
- Add the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Check the bottom of the bowl, if the tomatoes release to much water, you migh want to drain off a bit of the liquid before adding the dressing (too much water wash down the flavor and makes the salad soggy).
- Put olive oil, vinegar, pressed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a jar with a tightly fitted lid. Shake vigorously for about 5 seconds. Alternatively, whisk together the dressing ingredients into a small bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix very well to coat.
- Cover the bowl and let to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.
- Toss again, taste, you might want to adjust the seasoning adding more fine salt, according to your preference. Then sprinkle with fresh parley and enjoy!