This quick and easy tomato cucumber salad recipe is the perfect side for summer grilling.
This is my all-time favorite summer salad. It's easy to put together and highlights fresh homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.
With a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing, it comes together in just a few minutes. Tomato cucumber salad is my go-to for a barbecue or picnic.
This salad is so versatile. It's easy to double or triple the recipe for a crowd and always gets rave reviews.
You can use whatever fresh herbs you have — basil, mint, parsley or even cilantro. I used basil, but half basil and half mint is another favorite combination.
However you make it, this easy tomato cucumber salad is the perfect taste of summer. And it's naturally paleo, keto, and gluten-free.
Why You'll Love This Salad
- Quick and easy
- No special cooking skills or equipment needed
- Minimal ingredients needed
- Highlights fresh vegetables and herbs
- Ultra flavorful
- Can be made ahead
For the best taste, use your homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs or visit your farmer's market to stock up on these summertime produce essentials.
- Purple onion, thinly sliced - also called a red onion, this variety offers a flavorful bite that pairs well with the other ingredients.
- Cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced - almost any variety will work, from your homegrown garden versions to a seedless variety such as the English cucumber.
- Red wine vinegar - offers a tangy acidic boost to this salad as well as tempering any sharp onion flavor.
- Large tomatoes - use ripe tomatoes since they will give the most succulent flavor. Any variety will work, as long as they are ripe.
- Good olive oil - use your best olive oil for this salad because its flavor will be on display.
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped - this aromatic herb offers a mild spicy taste with a hint of sweetness or mint, depending on which variety you use.
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste - this final dash of seasonings will bring out the lusciousness of this simple tomato and cucumber salad.
How To Make This Salad
- Slice the onion and cucumber. Add both to a large bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar. Let them sit for 5 minutes or so while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This is a key step in the recipe because the vinegar takes the edge off the raw onions and adds a nice tangy kick to the cucumbers.
- Cut tomatoes into thin wedges and add to the bowl with cucumbers and onions.
- Add the olive oil, freshly chopped basil, salt and pepper and toss with the veggies.
- Tomatoes: If you're unable to find large ripe tomatoes, you can substitute Roma, cherry or grape tomatoes. Because they're smaller, they won't be as juicy, but will still be delicious.
- Cucumbers: Garden variety cucumbers are what's called for in the recipe, but English cucumbers or the smaller Persian cucumbers are also acceptable to use. Those varieties contain smaller to no seeds, which may be preferable to you if seeds are an issue.
- Onion: The purple or red onion in the recipe is not only colorful but offers a lovely burst of flavor. If you're not fond of the flavor, try a sweet onion instead. It will definitely be milder in taste, but will still offer a complimentary flavor. You can also use chopped green onion for slightly different texture and taste.
- Herbs: Basil is the go-to for this salad, but fresh mint is an equally tasty option. For a completely different flavor profile, try fresh parsley, dill or even cilantro.
The red wine and olive oil dressing is a classic, but here are few ideas to change it up:
For a creamy dressing, skip the red wine vinegar and olive oil and use my paleo mayonnaise. Instead of basil, use fresh dill for a complementary herb in the salad.
Another creamy dressing option is my dairy-free ranch dressing. It's flavorful, tangy and full of herbs for a tasty finish.
For a zestier flavor, try my homemade Italian dressing. It has red wine vinegar in it, but also uses dried herbs and garlic for a savory kick.
If you want to add ingredients to this salad to make it more robust, here are a few ideas:
- Avocado, sliced or chunked
- Radish, sliced
- Bell peppers, sliced or finely chopped
- Olives, black or green
Can You Make This Salad Ahead Of Time?
Absolutely! There are several ways you can make or prep this salad ahead of time.
- Prep Ahead - You can prep the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers and store them each, separately, in the fridge until ready to assemble with the red wine vinegar, oil, herbs and seasonings.
- Assemble Ahead - You can make and assemble the entire salad ahead and store it in a glass container with a tight fitting lid until ready to serve. It will keep up to 2 days in the fridge, but is best eaten within 24 hours.
Tip: If you're making this salad for a large gathering, it's easy to double or triple the recipe. Make it the night before or in the morning and let it chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Hold off on adding the fresh herbs to the salad until ready to serve just because they tend to turn dark (especially basil) if left to sit after being chopped.
For presentation purposes, you could also make this salad by chopping, rather than slicing the ingredients. It's a minor change and strictly visual. It has no impact on the taste and deliciousness of this crisp and refreshing salad.
What To Serve With This Salad
How To Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers of this salad in a glass container with a tight fitting lid. It will keep up to 2 days in the fridge, but is best eaten within 24 hours.
Note: The longer it sits, the more watery this salad may become. This is because the water content from the cucumbers and the juices from the tomatoes will add to the liquid content of the salad.
More Easy Salad Recipes
Easy Tomato Cucumber Salad
- ½ purple onion thinly sliced
- 2 cucumbers peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 large tomatoes
- ¼ cup good olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Add onion and cucumber to large bowl and toss with vinegar. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Cut tomatoes into thin wedges and add to bowl with cucumbers and onions. Add olive oil, basil, salt and pepper and toss.