Every summer my parents had a beautiful garden in the backyard. Some years it was a large one with okra, corn, beans, squash and cucumbers; I even remember growing carrots one year. Other years it was a smaller patch, but it almost always had tomatoes. Tomatoes are pretty easy to grow down here and are prolific in the Southern summer heat.
So there weren’t many meals that didn’t include fresh tomatoes in some form – whether it was Tomato Cracker Salad or something like this Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad.
This cool, crisp and tangy salad is quick and easy, and was a summer staple at our house.
Now there are tons of variations on this recipe. You can add in some chopped fresh herbs like dill or parsley.
I typically use vegetable oil for its mild flavor, but swapping that out for olive oil or another flavored oil will drastically change the flavor.
You can even do like Mom did so many times and swap all of the homemade dressing out for a premade, bottled Italian or Greek dressing. It adds a totally different flavor and makes an easy dish even easier.
It’s one of those dishes that benefits from some time in the fridge to allow all the flavors to develop and soak into the vegetables. I like it better after a few hours, but 30 minutes is enough if you just can’t wait.
For this, you can use the large English cucumbers that are common in the grocery store, but I much prefer the smaller pickling or Kirby cucumbers. I just like the flavor better and since that’s what Mom and Dad normally grew in their garden, they’re what I like best. When prepping, I like to leave just a sliver of the peel on the cucumber as I peel it to add a little color contrast in the salad as shown. Some folks don’t peel the cucumbers at all, and if you have a thin-skinned cucumber, I think that’s totally fine.
I also like lots of black pepper in this salad, but feel free to reduce it (or even increase it) to your liking.
Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 English cucumber (or 2 to 3 Kirby cucumbers) peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 garden-fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss to coat. Cover and store in the refrigerator (tossing a few times) for at least 1 hour before serving.