Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing

Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing found on KalynsKitchen.com
This Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad has amazing flavor from yogurt-tahini dressing and Sumac!

(For Phase One Fridays I spotlight recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and this simple salad that was inspired by one I had at a restaurant in Chicago is something I'd love to eat all summer long.)

There must be thousands of variations of tomato and cucumber salad in the world, but when I was in Chicago attending the 2009 BlogHer Conference, I had a tomato and cucumber salad that really knocked my socks off. I was on the way to The Spice House with my blogging friend Lydia, and we stopped in at Old Jerusalem Restaurant for a quick lunch. Lydia and I both have middle-eastern tastebuds, and we loved this unpretentious restaurant, with me especially swooning over the Jerusalem Salad with a yogurt and tahini dressing. I was determined to recreate the flavors from that dressing, and although when I found their website I realized my salad was a bit different, I loved the salad I came up with. (More experimenting coming to get a salad that's just like theirs!)

I sometimes get e-mail from people urging me to just use "ordinary" ingredients on the blog, and this recipe isn't one that will make you happy if you're that kind of cook because it has tahini paste, Sumac, Aleppo pepper, and Greek yogurt, all of which are unusual ingredients. Of course, the blog has to be what I'm eating, and I love interesting recipes that are still diet-friendly, but if you don't want to look for ingredients, check after the recipe for some other lovely salads featuring cucumbers and tomatoes. If you have a favorite salad recipe that features tomatoes and cucumbers, please tell us about it in the comments!

Start by dicing the cucumbers and placing in a colander in the sink, then add a generous amount of salt (about 1 tsp.) Let the cucumbers sweat out the water and drain while you prep other ingredients. Most of the salt gets washed away in this process, but taste the salad before you add more salt.

Next mix the Greek yogurt, tahini paste, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. cumin, garlic, and Aleppo pepper or cayenne. Taste and see if you want to add more cumin or a pinch of salt, then let the ingredients hang out together while you chop cucumbers and radishes.

I would have definitely used diced whole tomatoes from the garden if I had them (not yet!) but I used these grape tomatoes from Costco, which I love for salads.

The salad at Old Jerusalem Restaurant didn't have radishes, but I thought they would add a nice kick to it, plus I love radishes, especially when they're cut into half-moon shapes like this.

I used more cucumbers than tomatoes or radishes because that's what I happened to have, but I think you can change the proportions here, or leave out the radishes completely if you don't happen to have any. I'm guessing there are also lots of other salads that would work well with this dressing. If anyone tries it on something else, I'd love to hear about it!


Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing
(Makes 2 salads, with enough dressing for another time. This does not keep well, so just make enough for what you'll eat immediately. Recipe inspired by Jerusalem Salad at Old Jerusalem Restaurant in Chicago.)

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped cucumber (about 2 small cucumbers, cut into pieces about 3/4 inch)
1 cup chopped tomato (cut into pieces about 3/4 inch if using whole tomatoes)
1 cup chopped radishes (cut into half-moon slices)
(Any proportion of cucumber, tomato, and radishes can be used, or use just cucumber and tomato if you don't have any radishes)
1 tsp. salt (for salting cucumbers) plus more to taste
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini paste, also called tahina (This can be hard to find, but almond butter or natural peanut butter would be a pretty good substitute, especially with a little sesame oil added.)
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 - 1 tsp. ground cumin (start with 1/2 tsp. and taste)
1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2-3 pinches Aleppo pepper or cayenne pepper
ground Sumac (optional, for sprinkling on salad)

Instructions:
Wash cucumbers and peel if desired. (If you can get fresh garden cucumbers, they don't have to be peeled.) Cut cucumbers into same-size pieces about 3/4 inch and place in a colander sitting in the sink. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp. salt, mix with your hand so all the cucumber pieces are salted. Let cucumbers stand and release water while you prep other ingredients, or if you have time, let cucumbers drain in the sink for 20-30 minutes. (The salad will be more watery if you skip this salting step, but if you're eating it right away it probably doesn't matter too much.)

While cucumbers drain, put Greek yogurt, tahini paste, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, minced garlic, and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix together. (I found a fork worked best for mixing.) Taste and see if you want to add more ground cumin or a pinch of salt, then set aside to let ingredients blend.

Wash tomatoes and cut in half (if using cherry tomatoes) or cut into 3/4 inch pieces (if using whole tomatoes.) Wash radishes, cut off stem and root ends, then cut in half and slice into half moon pieces.

Blot cucumbers dry with a paper towel (most of the salt will have rinsed off if you've drained them long enough.) Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes in a bowl, then stir in enough dressing to moisten (I used about half the dressing, save the rest in the fridge for another salad.) Sprinkle salad with Sumac if desired and serve immediately.


South Beach Suggestions:
Made with low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt, this is a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. Tahini sauce is high in fat, but it's considered a "good fat" for South Beach. This is a great side dish for any type of grilled meat, especially something like Kubideh (ground meat kabobs) or Souvlaki. For a vegetarian option, serve this with Baked Falafel Patties and use the extra dressing as a sauce for the falafel.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing found on KalynsKitchen.com

Lots More Salad Options with Tomatoes and Cucumbers:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumber, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen
Middle Eastern Tomato Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
American Greek Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy Summer Lunch Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato and Cucumber Salad from My Wooden Spoon
Tomato Cucumber Salad from No Recipes
Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad from Simply Recipes
Tomato and Cucumber Salad from Dianne's Dishes
Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Karina's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit
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34 comments:

Karina Allrich said...

I love tahini based dressings- and yours sounds so fresh and fabulous. What a gorgeous salad for the late days of summer.

Lori aka A Cowboy's Wife said...

Kalyn, what an honor is was to meet you at Blogher. Really wished I could have spent more time to get to know you but time was scrunched to say the least.

Maybe at a foodie event?? ;)

Thanks for linking me up. I appreciate it.

Lori

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The original salad was delicious, but I think yours looks even better. I love the addition of Aleppo pepper. Can't wait to try this and relive that wonderful lunch in Chicago.

Jackie said...

I can't believe you were at Old Jerusalem which is just two blocks from where I live! I eat there often but have never tried the cucumber salad. Next time I'll definitely try it.

Kalyn said...

Karina, this dressing turned out great, loved it.

Lori, very fun meeting you too. Yes, hopefully some other time.

Lydia, it was a fun day and definitely a very good lunch! Now that I've found the menu and description on the website, I'm going to try again at perfecting the salad recipe. (Can't believe I forgot there was parsley!)

Jackie, lucky you to live two blocks from there. Do try the Jerusalem Salad, I loved it!

Ed Tep said...

Kalyn - I hope that you are well. I LOVE the Spice House. Every time in Chicago, I restock my spice cabinet. Have you tried their dried orange peel?

MeetaK said...

had to come around to check this out! ;-) looks lovely and will make the perfect side for a dinner party on saturday!

Debi (Table Talk) said...

I too love the Costco grape tomatoes--always reliable. Thankfully I have a plethora of tomatoes out in the garden right now, and will put my "sweet 100's" to work in this recipe. This is the perfect salad to go with something off the grill.

Joanne said...

Tahini and greek yogurt are normal in my house! And I love them both. Great recipe.

Kalyn said...

Hi Ed,
I didn't buy that dried orange peel, but I'll put it on my list for my next order. I agree, what an amazing store. How's life?

Meeta, thanks for visiting! Hope you're adjusting to all your unplanned adjustments!

Debi, lucky you. I planted some Abe Lincoln tomatoes which I think are a larger yellow cherry tomato. (I say "I think" because I haven't had any ripe ones yet. Bad year for tomatoes here!)

Joanne, me too. But then, we are food bloggers!

Karen said...

Hi Kalyn, I used to make this Israeli-type salad all the time, using just tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or coriander,chopped Greek olives, tahina, olive oil and lemon juice. It's also good with chopped up peperoncini peppers for a little kick. Almost equal amounts of cukes and tomatoes, with a slight edge to the cukes. Makes a good sandwich stuffed into a pita as well!

Kalyn said...

Hi Karen,
I think your version sounds closer to the description on the menu at Old Jerusalem Restaurant; thanks for the tips! Love it!

Sandie said...

Serious yum factor here---so many of my favorite flavors plus a great recipe to break the seal on that bottle of Aleppo pepper Lydia gave me in Chicago. I am excited to try this (never used Aleppo pepper before)!

Jennifer said...

What a great summer salad!!!! I love the yogurt tahini dressing!!! yum!!!!

Tracy said...

I just have to tell you how much I love Kalyn's Kitchen. I'm not really a South Beach follower, but I do use it as a guide for eating healthy, which is how I found you. I am constantly looking for and making healthy recipes, and you are the only source that has never disappointed me. So often "healthy" recipes smell great and taste bland, but your are always delicious. I haven't made a single one I wouldn't make again. Thanks for sharing them with us!

oneshotbeyond said...

wow...that sounds heavenly right about now!

Kalyn said...

Sandie, I'm betting you will love the Aleppo pepper. Just a touch of heat, but with a lot of flavor too.

Jennifer, thanks. I love tahini, it was great in this salad.

Tracy, wow, thanks so much for that lovely feedback. I am pretty strict about not putting things on the blog unless it's really a good recipe, so it's so great to know that you're enjoying them all.

Oneshotbeyond, it was great.

jasmine said...

There you go with your fabulous ingredients :)

That salad looks beautiful...love the colours.

j

Amy Green (Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free) said...

I love tahini and greek yogurt. I bought some fat-free greek yogurt and it had a big twang to it that I didn't like. So, I went back to the store and bought 2% and whole milk greek yogurt and proceeded to taste them all. Personally, I think the 2% and the whole milk Greek Yogurts are almost exactly the same in taste and worlds better than fat-free.

That being said, if mixing it with tahini I think fat-free wouldn't affect the flavor at all because of the distinct tahini flavors. Just my opinion...

Beautiful salad & delicious dressing. Thanks so much.

UPrinting said...

That sounds like a really yummy salad! But yeah, the ingredients are not that "ordinary", not the type you can get in the grocery. I guess a specialty store is a good place to find those ingredients. I wonder if there's one anywhere near our area.. Thanks!

MrSaladDressing said...

This yogurt and tahini dressing sounds delicious. I imagine it will taste like a very creamy hummus. I think your recipe is similar but with greek yogurt instead of garbanzo beans and a nice kick of flavor.

Amy said...

That dressing looks awesome!

And please, know that many of us really appreciate your emphasis on wide-ranging, healthy ingredients! The world is full of wonderful flavors, why limit ourselves?

Stash said...

One of my favorite tomato/cucumber salads is tabbouleh (not as much bulgur, more parsley and mint, a moderate amount of tomato and cucumber; A LOT of lemon juice in proportion to olive oil and just a teensy amount of allspice). Most recipes that you see in the U.S. -- indeed some versions in delis here in New York City -- use way too much bulgur in comparison to the other ingredients.

We must be on the same wavelength though because I just did a radish/cucumber salad a couple of days ago. Recipe on my blog.

And for people who want you to use "normal" ingredients -- well, "normal" is in the eye of the beholder. ;) Keep on doing what you've been doing; it's a nice foodblog.

Kalyn said...

Jasmine, thanks. Loved it.

Amy, to each her own. Personally I like the "tang" of the fat free yogurt, but I do like sour flavors a lot.

UPrinting, try a health foods store.

MrSD, definitely some flavors here that are similar to hummus.

Amy, thanks. I try to keep it interesting, but obtainable, if that makes sense.

Stash, I'm a big tabbouli fan here too. I agree, lots of mint and parsley and not too much bulgur.

Kristen said...

The tahini dressing looks awesome! Thanks for sharing this great combo.

Matthew Maroski said...

you could also add avocadoes to the mix!! essential nutrients plus fiber and anti-cancerious properties!

Sofia said...

I made this to go with Kalyn's Thai Barbecue Chicken, but adapted it a bit to incorporate some southeast Asian flavors: used peanut butter instead of tahini, lime juice instead of lemon juice, and Thai chili paste in place of the Aleppo/cayenne. I topped it off with a little bit of chopped fresh cilantro and Thai basil. It was SO yummy! My boyfriend declared it the best cucumber salad he's ever tasted.

Kalyn said...

Sofia, your variation sounds very good!

The Steaming Pot said...

So colorful and tempting. I love your salad recipes Kalyn. Difficult to find all the ingredients in India (sumac and Aleppo pepper for example) - your suggestions for alternatives are very helpful.

Kalyn said...

Steaming Pot, glad you enjoy the salads. For this one, a squeeze of lemon juice is a good substitute for the Sumac, but if you ever find it Sumac is such a nice flavor!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I remember how much we loved our lunch at Old Jerusalem. And although some of the ingredients in this salad are unusual, they are worth seeking out and adding to the pantry.

Kalyn Denny said...

Lydia, when we finally make it to Chicago for our "middle of the country shopping spree" we must eat lunch there again!

Donna said...

The thing I love most about KK recipes is that the flavors are combined in a new fresh way. I never would have thought of these flavors together, but once again you have expanded my horizons!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Donna. Love all these flavors!

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