Greek Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Jul 30, 2015 01:30PM
By Alexa Peduzzi
Hello again, North Hills Monthly readers!
My name is Alexa Peduzzi, and I’m a 20-something Pittsburgh gal who runs Fooduzzi.com, a food blog dedicated to bringing whole food recipes to young professionals. Whole foods are my passion, as I believe that I simply operate better when I am fueling my body with natural foods that come straight from the source—the earth! While I am not a nutritionist or doctor, it doesn't take a licensed registered dietitian to be able to feel the powerful difference that whole foods can make in one's diet.
I love summer. It’s not because of the hot weather. It’s not because I love shorts, bathing suits or flip flips. No, dear reader, I love summer because it’s the only time of year I can get my hands on mounds upon mounds of fresh summer produce.
There’s just something so satisfying about biting into a juicy peach! So addictive about the burst of a newly picked blueberry after popping it into my mouth. So perfect about the fragrant herbs growing in my back yard! I adore summer produce.
Eating seasonally wasn’t as important as it is to me now, but once you take a bite out of a beautifully ripe peach in the summer heat, there’s just no turning back. The flavors in summer produce are elevated so much more; berries are sweeter, green beans are crunchier, and stone fruit is drip-down-your-arm juicy.
My family is pretty good at utilizing summer crops. We have corn on the cob at least once a week. Strawberries are always in our fridge, as they make a perfect mid-day sweet treat. We make giant chopped salads filled with crisp peppers and sweet carrots for dinner nearly every night. And cherries...my boyfriend bought me a bag of cherries for our anniversary because he knows just how much I love them.
But two of my all-time favorite summer foods are the cucumber and tomato. That addictive crunch, that refreshing taste...cucumbers are my jam. I throw them on top of leafy greens, blend them into juice with ginger and a little honey, and add it to homemade hot salsa.
And tomatoes–my great-grandmother had a tomato plant right outside her back door. We would go to her house, head straight outside to pick a tomato, slice it, sandwich it between two slices of her homemade bread, and go.to.town. Summer just screams tomato season.
This Greek Cucumber and Tomato Salad is the culmination of summer flavor, and the fact that it highlights some of my absolute favorite summer produce? Even better. Needless to say, this salad will be eaten on repeat all summer long.
Start out this simple and fresh summer side with some cucumber and tomato. I favor long and skinny English cucumbers because of its thin skin and minimal seedage. I also opt to buy Roma tomatoes simply because I think they’re cute. Feel free to use any type of tomato you desire, but it’s the little things, you know?
I also like to add a tiny bit of Vidalia onion to add a bite to this salad. Because there’s nothing worse than biting into a giant chunk of raw onion, I like to carefully shave them into super-thin slices. I’m talking thin...like, one-sided. That way, it isn’t strong enough to smack you in the face.
What makes this a Greek salad is the dressing! I adore this dressing, mostly because it takes all of 10 seconds to whip together. A simple mix of olive oil, champagne or red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes transforms the summer veggies into something truly special. It’s tangy, it’s fresh, and it’s zesty; the perfect light accompaniment to healthy summer produce.
Use this Greek Cucumber and Tomato Salad as a simple side salad to fish or chicken, or add some lentils for a plant-based entrée. You can also use it as a chunky salsa or as a light snack during the day. The possibilities are endless with fresh summer produce!
Greek Cucumber and Tomato Salad
1 English cucumber
2 Roma tomatoes
1/4 vidalia onion
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced/grated/pressed
salt + pepper + red pepper flakes, to taste
Dice the cucumber and the tomato into similarly sized cubes. Shave the onion into thin slices, just like the ones you like on top of your burgers. Add cucumber, tomato, and onion to a bowl.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, garlic, and seasoning and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over vegetables and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, but the vegetables start to get mushy fairly quickly.