Grandma’s cucumber & tomato salad is a good old stand-by for a reason: it’s a fantastic use for summer produce at its peak of flavor. Think about how people lived through hot summers before air conditioning was common! Cold suppers, cooling salads, and lots of lemonade and iced tea … it still sounds good today: chunks of tomatoes and cucumber, marinated in a simple vinaigrette with some onion and herbs.
This salad was everywhere, all summer long. It’s easy, uses up abundant produce from the garden, can be made ahead of time, and it’s delicious. You can scale it up to feed a huge crowd at a family get-together, or make it in this dainty little portion for your supper. I’ve made it in a big bowl with a lid, just tossing all the ingredients in, closing it up, and shaking the bowl to mix. Talk about simple!
First of all, know that this recipe is extremely flexible. Change it up to suit your own taste. Use garlic or not, use red onions, yellow onions, sweet onions, green onions, shallots, or none of those. Use whichever herbs sound good to you: dill is a classic, but so is oregano. And remember, you never have to make it the same way twice.
Mix everything to combine it well, and – the most important step – let it chill for a while before serving. Half an hour is the minimum chill time, but it’s even better after 2-3 hours. Grandma’s cucumber & tomato salad is a summer classic.
Grandma's Cucumber & Tomato Salad
- 2 large tomatoes, very ripe
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 small red onion or 2-3 green onions
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp fresh chopped herbs of your choice
- 1 small clove garlic minced finely [optional]
- First of all, know that this recipe is extremely flexible. Change it up and make it your own! Use garlic or not, use red onions, yellow onions, sweet onions, green onions, shallots, or none of those. Use whichever herbs sound good to you: dill is a classic, but so is oregano. And remember, you never have to make it the same way twice.
- Peel and slice the red onion very thinly. Taste it – if it’s too hot for your taste, soak the slices in a bowl of ice-water and store in the fridge for about an hour, they’ll be milder then. Chop the tomatoes roughly; you should have about 2 cups. Peel the cucumbers and halve them lengthwise, and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and gel. Slice them crosswise in chunks.
- In a large bowl, mix the oil and vinegar well, then add garlic and herbs. Put the tomatoes and cucumbers (and onion, when it’s to your liking) in the bowl, toss well to combine. Let this sit in the refrigerator so that the flavors meld – at least an hour.