Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not-so-Dumb Salad Recipe with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar

A reader sent this tasty idea for a tomato-cucumber-avocado salad dressed with just balsamic vinegar!

There are a lot of salads with tomatoes and cucumbers on this blog.  That's partly because I love tomatoes and cucumbers and grow them in my garden every year.  To me that combination just screams summer, but I also eat tomatoes and cucumbers all year (whenever I can get good flavorful tomatoes and Persian cucumbers from Costco.)  So when a reader from Hawaii named Lisa sent me her recipe for "dumb salad" and said it was something she made often, I was interested.  Lisa discovered this combination when she was going out of town and needed to use what was on hand, and I promise you, this salad idea that combines cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and balsamic vinegar is not dumb at all!  Of course, only make this when you have fresh flavorful tomatoes, but I loved the combination of flavors, accented with just a little good sea salt and some coarse ground black pepper.  And I also love the idea of a salad with no added oil except the "good fat" from the avocado.   

Lisa invited me to change it up a bit, but really I didn't change it much except to sub diagonally-sliced green onions for the sweet onions she used.  I was making more than I'd eat right away, so I also tossed the avocado with just the tiniest bit of lemon juice to make sure it didn't go brown.   Lisa's friends suggested adding lots of chopped herbs, and I'm thinking mint, basil, or parsley could also have a supporting role in this salad if you wanted to add them, but for my first time I just made the salad like Lisa does and happily gobbled it up for lunch!

I used my first garden cucumber (on the right) which I combined with two Persian cucumbers.  You could also use one large Eurpoean cucumber instead of three small ones.

Not many tomatoes yet around here, so I used these sweet Cherubs tomatoes from Costco.  This is something I buy over and over.  (Cherubs has never paid me or sent tomatoes, I just like their product!)


I cut the green onion in diagonal slices to make about 1/4 cup, but more would be okay too.

You need one perfectly ripe avocado, diced into smallish pieces.

As I said, I tossed the avocado with just a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice to keep the leftovers from turning brown.  (I'm guessing 99% of the time you make this it will all be eaten right away, so feel free to skip this step if that's the case.)

Gently toss together the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and avocado, then dress with just enough good quality balsamic vinegar to coat the veggies.  Season to taste with good sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and enjoy!


Not-so-Dumb Salad Recipe with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar
(Makes 2 generous servings or 4 side-dish servings, recipe created by a reader named Lisa who lives on Maui.)

Ingredients:
3 small Persian cucumbers or garden cucumbers
1 cup diced tomato or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onion or thinly sliced sweet onion (or more)
1 avocado
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional, for tossing with avocado)
about 1 T good-quality balsamic vinegar (I used Fini)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moon slices.  (I never peel Persian cucumbers, but if you use other cucumbers you might want to peel some of the skin off in stripes before you slice them.)  Dice tomatoes or cut cherry tomatoes in half to make one cup.  (Only make this salad when you have flavorful fresh tomatoes.)  Diagonally slice green onion or slice onion to make 1/4 cup, or more if you like onion.  Peel and cut up the avocado into small cubes.

Combine the cucumber, tomato, onion, and avocado in a plastic or glass bowl and gently toss together.  Add a small amount of balsamic vinegar, enough to barely coat the veggies, and toss again.  (I used about a tablespoon of vinegar, which was plenty.)  Season to taste with your favorite sea salt and plenty of fresh-ground black pepper. 

If you're making more salad than is going to be eaten right away you can toss the avocado with a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice so they don't turn brown, but this is best freshly made.   If you like it as much as I did, you probably won't have leftovers no matter how much you make!


South Beach Suggestions:
Everything in this salad is a perfect low-glycemic ingredient for the South Beach Diet. The recommended amount of avocado for phase one is 2/3 avocado per day, so keep that in mind.

More Tasty Salads with Cucumbers and Tomatoes:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumbers, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint from Kalyn's Kitchen
Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber Salad with Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Spicy Thai Lime Vinaigrette from Andrea Meyers
Tomato Cucumber Salad from [No Recipes]
Cool as a Cucumber, Melon, and Tomato Salad from Redacted Recipes
Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad from Ciao Florentina
Cucumber and Tomato Salad from Green Lemonade
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.  There is also an entire page of salads with tomatoes and cucumbers that have been featured on Kalyn's Kitchen.) counter customizable free hit

45 comments:

Nisrine said...

The title immediately caught my attention. A lovely, refreshing and beautiful salad like this one has nothing dumb about it:)

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

Sounds delish! Reminds me of this salad: http://whatscookinwithmary.blogspot.com/2010/09/simple-tomato-salad.html
I love a simply dressed salad in the summer. So refreshing!!

Radhika @ foodfor7stages said...

I wouldn't call it a dumb salad at all. It has some of my favorite ingredients and I just love balsamic vinegar dressing. It pops up the flavor of these vegetables.

Jenn Brigole said...

I love avocados, too, but I eat too much of it when I get a chance especially, when I mix it with milk and sugar so it's quite counterproductive in my trying to lose weight. This recipe however sounds deliciously healthy. Thanks for sharing, Kalyn and Lisa. Why is it called "dumb salad" though?

Alanna Kellogg said...

Dumb? Hardly!

PS We are heart-broken, the cucumbers worms have invaded and destroyed this year's crop. We'd only been eating them for about a week and now, no more. Boo hiss.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Not dumb at all! I eat this basic salad, without the onions, several nights a week for dinner. If your balsamic is sweet enough, you definitely don't miss the oil.

StaceyN said...

Omg I make a salad like that all the time! Sometimes I add feta cheese and other times mozzarella cheese. I change up the veggies as well but it's basically the same thing. A couple times I mixed the balsamic with some Italian dressing and it's soooo good! One of my favorite salads.

Diana said...

I wouldn't call it a dumb salad either. Sometimes the best dishes use just a handful of top quality ingredients. Your salad looks wonderful and I just want to dive right in!

Katy @ KatySheCooks said...

This is truly one of my favorite salads ever. I cannot wait until our garden tomatoes are ripe -- hopefully in the next couple of weeks!

Izzy said...

I wasn't a fan of avocado's until recently, but since becoming a vegan, they've added that 'creamy' texture a lot of foods are missing. I'm really looking forward to trying this. Thanks!

Sally said...

I think this would be good with a lime vinaigrette, too. I don't follow SB, so I don't know if you use honey or not, but I make a dressing that is 3 parts oil, 2 parts vinegar or citrus juice and 1 part honey with salt and pepper to taste. I know the lime version is good with avocado, so I'll bet it would be good with this as well.

Kalyn said...

I'm glad people are liking this, and it's fun to hear more variations too. I think there are so many combinations with cucumbers and tomatoes that are good. Lisa called this Dumb Salad in the e-mail she sent me, but it's not dumb at all!

SallyBR said...

Definitely a winner of a salad, Kalyn!

I once made (by accident, I should add) a salad dressing with mashed avocado, lime juice, and a touch of white balsamic vinegar - it turned out soooo good! The avocado kind of melted, and indeed, no need for extra fat

I am making your version for our dinner tomorrow!

Joanne said...

I've been getting TONS of cukes from my CSA and don't know quite what to do with them! I'm thinking this salad is gonna be it!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

No, not dumb. Looks wonderful. I love simple salad like this one. Looks like a perfect combo for sure!

Shirley

Mary said...

I love the simplicity of this salad and the ease with which it can be made. I share your love of tomatoes and cucumbers and this salad would quickly disappear in my kitchen. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

It is truly amazing how the simplest ingredients are life's greatest pleasures. This is my kinda healthy salad :)

CindyK said...

This is going to be lunch today! I can't wait!

Kalyn said...

Hope everyone else enjoys this as much as I did. And Sally, I love the idea of avocado just becoming part of the dressing; might have to experiment with that.

Maria said...

Love all of the ingredients! Great summer salad!

Kel said...

LOVE!

Cozy in Texas said...

Looks delicious
Ann

Matt said...

Looks gorgeous!

Chris said...

The color got me - so vibrant! Love anything with avocado and tomatoes. Not sure why I don't incorporate cucs in my diet more. Maybe if I lived next door to your garden...:)

Kalyn said...

Just so glad people are liking this so much, because it really was spectacular. I'm going out to look for cucumbers right now and if I find some I'm making it again tonight!

Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen said...

This looks wonderful! Sometimes simple, seasonal recipes are the best. I just came across your site via tastespotting, and I'll definitely be back!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Maggie, and I do highly recommend the salad!

Lady Amalthea said...

Brilliant! I really love the idea of using the fat from the avocado to "replace" that from olive oil. All kinds of fun ideas are popping up now ...

Anonymous said...

Kalyn: i so enjoy your blog and have tried several recipes. Last nite I made shrimp and grits which is delicious but very rich. Your wonderful smart salad was the perfect foil - clean, crisp and utterly delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe.
Judith

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

We are trying to lose weight and have been eating sort of South Beach style serving a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers. My husband got on the scale this morning and was the lowest he's been in years and was thrilled. When he told me, I replied, "Must be the tomatoes and cucumbers," and I really do believe that's a big part of it.

Thanks for this recipe. Love that it doesn't have oil. Will definitely give it a try.
Sam

Kalyn said...

Lady Amalthea, that's just what made this salad so delicious; I loved it too.

Judith, so glad you're enjoying the recipes.

Sam, that's great news! It's such a good feeling when you get on the scale and see some progress. I think I could eat tomatoes and cucumbers together at least once a day and never get tired of them.

miri leigh said...

Beautiful salad...and light for the summer.

Paz said...

Not so dumb at all! I can't wait to try this. So interesting there's no oil, except from the avocado. ;-)

Kimberli said...

Yum!
I make a similar salad adding Basil and or Chives. LOVE those summer herbs. I've also added a little quinoa from time to time.
I'll be making a lot of cucumber salads soon as the garden is cruising along!!
Photos look delicious! Thanks!

JRAlb said...

The cucumbers are rampant abundant and the tomatoes are just starting to appear at my local farmers markets...looking for new recipes to enjoy the bounty, different types of vinegars can change the flavors from day to day.

Kalyn said...

Glad people are trying this and liking it, and yes I think the variations are infinite!

Sue said...

This salad is great. Your Top Ten Recipes of 2011 post reminded me that I've never left a comment. I made this salad in the summer with my own tomatoes. You are (of course) right that you need a top balsamic vinegar for this. Quality balsamic vinegars tend to be sweeter. There is, however, a trick I sometimes use when I just cook for myself and I don't want to use my gourmet balsamic vinegar: I just use a less expensive balsamic vinegar (one that I have around for everyday salads) and add a bit of sweetener.

Kendra said...

I started South Beach this week, and this was one of the first new recipes I tried to keep myself excited about changing my eating. It was SO, SO, SO good! I'm not a big avocado fan, but loved it with the balsamic. Yum!!!

Ellen said...

Love this recipe, so simple but so delish! Am eating it for lunch right now in fact.

Sarah Marie said...

I'm eating this right now - Delicious! And sooo easy to make! It's been a couple weeks since I've bought processed food at the grocery store - I have been so hooked on making recipes from your blog. My grocery bill, needless to say, has been much less, and my eating much healthier. :)

Luana said...

Kalyn, this is similar to one of my favorite summer salads: tomato, red onion, radishes, avocado and cilantro. All it needs is a little salt and pepper, a good splash of lime juice, and it's perfect.

Kalyn said...

I love it that so many people are discovering this.

Luana your Mexicanish version sounds great too!

Marissa and Alina said...

I tried a slight variant of this and posted it on my blog. We've had so many cucumbers this year and so it's great to find simple ways to use them. Thanks for the great recipe! If you're interested in the post, check it out here: http://twoladiesandaladle.blogspot.com/2012/08/alinas-cucumber-tomato-and-avocado-salad.html

LunaTechChick said...

Been enjoying this as a lunch pretty regularly since it was posted years ago. Yesterday I added feta. Can't believe it never occurred to me before to try that. Was great with the feta. Well, pretty much everything is great with feta. Lol!

Kalyn Denny said...

Oh yes, love the idea of adding feta to this! Thanks for sharing.

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