Healthy cucumber with tomato salad loaded with Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, vinegar (not balsamic!) and oregano. Pair it with falafel and many other dishes.
While growing up, this cucumber with tomato salad was almost always on the dinner table, especially during summer when these vegetables are in season. It's one of the most simple Greek salads (it's called aggourodomata in Greek) and a staple of the Mediterranean Diet. If you add a few more ingredients you can transform it to the famous Horiatiki (Greek Salad).
The main difference between an aggourodomata and a Greek salad (Horiatiki) is the Feta cheese, meaning that if you add a big piece of feta to a cucumber tomato salad then you make it a Greek salad.
However, except the feta cheese, Greek salad usually has some more ingredients, like green peppers, olives, capers or broken rusks. In this authentic Greek salad (Horiatiki) article you can see the traditional and a modern way to serve this salad.
The cucumber tomato salad is perfect next to many meat dishes like this Greek slow roasted lamb (or goat) leg, or this Greek baked chicken with potatoes and vegetables. But it also accompanies other vegan or vegetarian dishes like homemade hummus and Lebanese falafel.
The basic ingredients for this cucumber tomato salad
Cucumbers. Choose small to medium sized fresh cucumbers with thin skin (Persian cucumbers are great!). They can be peeled or not and with their seeds or not. The best way to determine if you should leave the skin or peel them is to eat a small slice. If it tastes bitter then peel them.
Tomatoes. Any type of tomato will do. Just make sure you find the ripest, juiciest, plumpest tomatoes that smell like summer!
Onion. Red onions are milder in taste but white will also do if you don't have red.
Olive oil. A fresh, extra virgin olive oil with peppery taste and a lot of antioxidants is your best option. Don't use anything else!
Vinegar. Red wine vinegar is traditionally used, because that's what most Greek homes have. Good quality white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar will do.
Oregano. A sprinkle of dried oregano will add a lot of flavor and aroma.
Salt. Sea salt (fine or flakes) is used. If you don't have sea salt, use a sprinkle of your regular table salt.
What more you can add to cucumber tomato salad:
- Olives. Kalamata olives, black olives, green olives. Whatever you like best.
- Capers. Capers are a great addition because they offer tiny bursts of umami flavour. 1-2 tablespoons will do the job. Chopped pickles are a nice alternative if you don't have capers.
- Green onions or scallions.
- Red or green bell pepper.
- Fresh purslane (duckweed).
- Feta cheese or another Greek white fresh cheese.
- Broken rusks (barley or wheet). The hard kind.
- Avocado. Not a traditional ingredient but it nevertheless an interesting and healthy addition.
Is cucumber tomato salad good for you?
This is one of the healthiest salads you can make. And one of the easiest! It is loaded with antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamins and many other phytonutrients.
For starters, olive oil has many health benefits. It is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, contains large amounts of antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can protect against heart disease, it lowers blood pressure and improves the function of blood vessels.
Tomatoes are also very healthy! A tomato is a technically a fruit but when it comes to nutrition, tomatoes are categorized as vegetables because of their lower carb and sugar contents. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene which protects heart health, guards the skin and also protects against cancer.
Cucumber health benefits. As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers contain high levels of a nutrient called cucurbitacin which is believed to help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from reproducing. Cucumbers contain important electrolytes and can help prevent dehydration in hot weather or after a workout.
Oregano is also very healthy! Just one teaspoon of dried oregano can fulfill about 8% of your daily vitamin K needs. It also helps reduce inflammation by fighting bacteria and contains important antioxidants that can help prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals.
What Dressing goes with cucumber tomato salad?
The simplest dressing is an olive oil and vinegar dressing. And you don't even have to whisk it or put it in a jar and shake it! Just drizzle the olive oil and the vinegar over the salad and mix everything with a spoon or fork. This is the traditional way of making a cucumber tomato salad.
Can I use balsamic vinegar for this cucumber tomato salad?
Of course you can. However, cucumber and tomato salad is not traditionally prepared with balsamic vinegar. I happen to love balsamic vinegar, but in this salad I find that it adds too much sweetness which spoils the true character of this dish. So, you may want to keep your balsamic for a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad.
Cucumber tomato salad
- 2 medium Persian cucumbers, (sliced)
- 2 medium tomatoes, (chopped)
- ½ red onion, (thinly sliced)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Transfer the cucumbers, the tomatoes and the onion to a salad bowl.
- Drizzle with the olive oil and the vinegar.
- Sprinkle with the oregano and the salt.
- Mix well with a spoon, taste and adjust the vinegar and the salt. Serve.
If you like this recipe, Pin it!