Nothing beats the light, refreshing taste of a Cucumber Tomato Salad on a warm, sunny day. But, of course, That Salad Lady wouldn’t dare stop with just cucumber and tomato. By adding bell pepper and avocado with the tangy taste of feta cheese, she transformed a simple duo of garden veggies into a colorful, delectable medley of fiber, good fats and protein for a more “functional” salad bowl.
Whether you’re watching your weight, cutting carbs or just looking for a nutritious, stress-free meal, That Salad Lady’s “Light and Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad” recipe totally fits the bill. Flavorful, filling and fresh, it’ll give you a little taste of summer all year long. Best of all, the recipe requires absolutely no cooking, and it all comes together in 10 minutes (maybe even less).
THE BALANCING ACT
A popular salad in its own right, the cucumber tomato blend is an excellent choice for a simple starter dish or side. Though some recipes call for red onion, these ingredients on their own don’t fare very well as a complete meal. Here at That Salad Lady, we believe every bowl is an opportunity to get a good dose of healthy fats and protein for whole nutrition.
Besides the fat and protein that comes with the addition of avocado and feta cheese, these layers bring great texture and even more flavor to the bowl. If you’re following a particular diet, you can leave out the feta. We promise you’ll still have an enjoyable eating experience. However, if your diet is more all-inclusive, by all means, leave it in.
Let’s talk more about the ingredients in That Salad Lady’s Cucumber Tomato Salad and why we chose to include them.
Classic Garden Vegetables
It goes without saying that our recipe starts with layers upon layers of cucumber and tomato. We love the tangy-sweet, juicy flavor vine tomatoes bring to the bowl, but feel free to use whatever you have – all red tomatoes are equally nutritious and rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that’s been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against various forms of cancer (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more).
Now, cucumber is what brings that characteristically refreshing crisp and crunchy texture to a typical Cucumber Tomato Salad. Though not as deeply colored or nutritionally dense as tomatoes, it brings its own unique set of antioxidants to the bowl. We suggest using English cucumber, which are sometimes called “hothouse” or “seedless” cucumbers. Though they do in fact have seeds, they’re very tiny. The smaller the cucumber seeds, the less water they hold.
Our recipe also calls for red onion, which of all onions, is the mildest in flavor and the highest in antioxidants. As mentioned earlier, we throw in bell pepper too, which gives the blend even more crispy, crunchy texture. Our recipe specifically calls for mini bell peppers, which are a lot sweeter than your average bell pepper. They’re also packed with carotenoids and vitamin C, which is one of the biggest immunity boosters of all nutrients.
Regular bell peppers work if that’s all you have. However, we suggest going with yellow, orange or red varieties, as they’re naturally sweeter and more nutrient-rich than green.
Fat and Protein for the Finish
A bowl just isn’t a bowl without layers of fat and protein. That’s why our Cucumber Tomato Salad includes a winning combo of avocado for fat and feta for protein. Not only are fat and protein essential macronutrients your body needs, but both can boost the overall filling effect of any given salad so you’re not feeling hungry 10 minutes after eating one.
Feta cheese itself brings a uniquely tangy, slightly salty flavor to the bowl. It’s also a valuable source of calcium and packed with beneficial probiotics that support gut health. The feta and other ingredients are perfectly complemented by the rich buttery flavor of the avocado fruit, which is one of the richest dietary sources of monounsaturated fat.
For even more good fat, we top our Light and Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad with a deliciously tangy vinaigrette dressing made with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine and dried herbs. You really don’t need much more than that!
GET YOUR CHOP ON
No cooking is required for That Salad Lady’s Cucumber Tomato Salad so most of the prep work is in the chopping – and there’s hardly any of that. As always, using a good chef’s knife will make the process whole a lot easier. We suggest chopping the cucumber, tomato, red onion and bell pepper in one take and then mixing it all together. From there, just let the mixture chill in the fridge until you’re ready to build your bowl – you can even store it overnight.
Since avocado is best when it’s freshly cut, we recommend chopping it up just prior to eating/serving the salad.
Once you’ve chopped the bulk of the ingredients for the salad bowl, you can then gather all the ingredients for the dressing (see recipe card). Simply add them to a jar with a twist off lid and just shake it up until everything’s well-mixed. You can also combine and whisk all your ingredients together in a bowl.
BUILD YOUR SALAD BOWL
It’s best not to “dress” the salad until you’re actually ready to eat/serve. The dressing can cause the fresh ingredients to get soggy and, if you’re planning for leftovers, you won’t be as happy with your creation the next day. When you’re ready to build your bowl, simply stir in the dressing to taste. You can then chop up the avocado and add it to your dressed salad.
Top of the finished blend with sprinkles of feta cheese (if using). You can also use fresh parsley, basil or cilantro for garnish. All put together, the actual blend is large enough for four generous servings.
Add Your Finishing Touches
To boost the protein content and overall filling effect of your salad throw in a handful of cooked shrimp, a can of drained chickpeas or even roasted extra-firm tofu. Visit our Nutrition Glossary for more ideas. It’s all about making YOU confident in building YOUR bowl.
SHOW US YOUR BOWL
That Salad Lady wants to see your bowl! If you like it, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.