This is a simple salad recipe with just 3 main ingredients and a lemon dressing. It’s a tasty Mediterranean salad you can eat on its own or add to other dishes like chicken, feta cheese, and spinach bake.
When I was growing up in Egypt, we called this type of salad “salata.” It’s a common salad in the Mediterranean area with the main ingredients being parsley, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
I season it just with salt but you can also add sumac powder for more flavor. Sumac is made from ground berries and adds tanginess.
- Roma tomatoes – they keep their firm texture when ripe
- Cucumbers – use thin-skinned ones like English or Hothouse
- Italian parsley – curly parsley can taste more bitter
- Sumac powder (optional)
- Olive oil – use a good quality extra virgin
- Lemon juice
- Chop 6 Roma tomatoes into dice sizes
- Dice 1 large English cucumber
- Chop a large handful of parsley leaves and tender stems
- Put the chopped vegetables into a large bowl
- Toss vegetables with kosher salt and let sit 5 minutes so the vegetables release some moisture
- Make the dressing by whisking together 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tsp), 1/4 tsp pepper, and sumac powder if using
- Taste the salad and add more lemon, salt, or pepper if desired
- Serve immediately or let rest 15 minutes for flavors to blend
The simplicity of this Mediterranean salad makes it perfect for a quick and tasty side. Adjust ingredients to your taste.
Some expert tips for making cucumber tomato salad:
Pick Produce at Peak Freshness Choose ripe tomatoes that are firm and bright red. Select cucumbers that are crisp and bright green without any soft spots. Pick fresh parsley with vibrant green leaves. Using peak produce ensures maximum flavor.
Salt and Drain Vegetables Salting the chopped veggies makes them release liquid which concentrates their flavor. Letting them drain prevents the salad from getting watered down.
Use Good Olive Oil A quality extra virgin olive oil allows the flavors to shine. Splurge on a nice Greek or Spanish olive oil to take this simple salad to the next level.
Add Herbs and Spices In addition to salt, pepper, and sumac, consider adding fresh herbs like mint, dill, or basil. You can also sprinkle on spices like za’atar or ground cumin.
Chop and salt the vegetables up to 8 hours ahead then drain and mix in the dressing right before serving. This draws out liquid for a less watery salad.
Store Properly Keep stored salad chilled at 40°F max to maintain texture and prevent spoilage. Place in an airtight container and use within 3-4 days for ideal freshness.
Customize It Make this Mediterranean salad your own by using lemon or lime juice for brightness, adding feta crumbles for creaminess, substituting red wine vinegar for acidity, or tossing in chickpeas or olives for heartiness.
Cucumber tomato salad holds up well on its own for a light lunch but also pairs nicely with grilled meats, seafood dishes, sandwiches, and more!