Simple Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, sliced red onion and fresh dill will become your go-to side dish year-round. It goes with everything!
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This cucumber and tomato salad is something I ate every other day during the summer as a child. Grandma also loved to make creamy cucumber tomato salad when she had sour cream on hand and this simple cucumber salad just to add a variety to meals.
Cucumber tomato salad is the most popular summer salad recipe in Ukraine, Russia and many other Slavic countries. I also believe this fresh salad combination is incredibly popular all over the globe. With its own regional twist, of course. Because it’s that good! It’s healthy, affordable, and easy to make any time of the year.
I love to make this easy recipe during summer with my homegrown cucumbers and tomatoes or farmer’s market produce. However, we make this great side dish all the time! There is nothing more cheerful on a dreary rainy winter night than a bowl of fresh tomato cucumber salad.
Ingredients You Will Need
The key to making this cucumber and tomato salad recipe is to select ripe tomatoes and crispy cucumbers at the grocery store. And I am also using one ingredient that makes salad special but you can omit it.
Here are the simple ingredients you will need:
- Cucumber: I like to use long English cucumber or pickling cukes because you don’t have to peel skin of a cucumber. Select firm, plum and fresh cucumbers.
- Tomatoes: My preferred store-bought kind of tomatoes is “tomatoes on the vine”. During summer, any heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes or Roma tomatoes in season will be great. Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are great too.
- Onion: I prefer to use red onion or shallots in fresh salads, as they aren’t as harsh. But yellow onion or white onion would also work. Alternatively, you could omit it entirely.
- Dill: It’s a classic herb for my Eastern European version of simple cucumber tomato salad recipe. Alternatively use fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, fresh basil leaves or scallions for a punch of fresh flavor.
- Olive oil: I like good quality extra virgin olive oil for a simple dressing. Bonus is we do not have to make it separately.
- Toasted sesame oil: This is one of my secret dressing ingredients that is reminiscent of unrefined sunflower oil we always used to dress up this refreshing salad. You can omit it and use more of olive oil, it’s not a deal breaker.
- Salt and black pepper.
Variations and Add-Ins
Because of the simplicity of this tomato and cucumber salad recipe, there are tons of ways to adjust it and use as a foundation to layer other fresh and tasty ingredients!
- Acid: Add a splash of your favorite vinegar like red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Or squeeze fresh lemon juice or lime juice for a zing.
- Creamy: Make it creamy with plain yogurt or sour cream and omit the oils like I do in creamy cucumber salad.
- Cheese: Toss in crumbled feta cheese or mini bocconcini (mozzarella balls) like I do in Italian chopped salad.
- Seasonings: Add 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning to the dressing.
- Avocado: Add diced avocado and make it a cucumber tomato avocado salad. The sky’s the limit!
- Bell peppers: They add crunch, fiber and nutrients. Use one chopped yellow bell pepper or red bell pepper to add sweet and fruity flavor. Green bell pepper adds grassy, more bitter taste I personally love.
How to Make Cucumber and Tomato Salad
The key to making this cucumber and tomato salad is to prep it right before serving. That’s when its fresh ingredients truly shine!
The process is really very simple. All you have to do is chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into same sized pieces, ensuring the even distribution of ingredients in every bite. Make sure your knife is sharpened because there is nothing worse than a dull knife squishing juicy ripe tomatoes.
I do not peel regular cucumbers unless it is full grown garden cucumber that has thick and bitter skin. Or any cucumber with a tough skin. No fun to eat that.
Then, finely slice the red onion and transfer all three to a large serving bowl. Chop the dill.
We never made the dressing separately, there is no need. Add the oils, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss lightly.
With soft salads like this cucumber tomato onion salad, it’s best to toss them gently with a large spoon rather than using tongs. Start in the middle of the bowl going under all ingredients with a large spoon, and rotate the bowl as you keep stirring. This will help you avoid squashing the tomatoes or bruising any ingredients.
Then taste your cucumber and tomato salad and adjust any of the seasonings, if necessary.
I have to stress that it’s best to eat this salad within a few hours of making it. That’s when it tastes fresh and crunchy!
Can I Make It Ahead?
Yes, for sure. If you want to prepare the cucumber and tomato salad in advance, add veggies and fresh herbs to a large bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to serve, add olive oil, toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
As soon as you add the salt, pepper and oil to the salad, it will encourage the veggies to release their juices. Otherwise, keep salad ingredients “dry” and you can make it ahead for sure. It literally takes one minute to season the salad!
What to Serve Cucumber and Tomato Salad with?
Honestly, this cucumber and tomato salad is one of the most versatile salads on the blog and can be served with practically any main dish.
Here are some of my favorite suggestions for this refreshing side dish:
- With mashed potatoes and grandma’s chicken patties (“kotlety”), that’s how I remember this salad most of the times!
- With turkey burgers, grilled shrimp, ribs or pulled pork at a BBQ.
- During a holiday meal with boneless leg of lamb roast.
To enjoy leftover salad, I recommend using some rye bread or other crusty bread to dip into all the juices at the bottom of the bowl. I did that all the time as a child and my goodness, it’s delicious!
How Long Will It Last in the Fridge?
As both cucumber and tomatoes have high water content, this salad with cucumber and tomatoes can quickly go limp. For that reason, it’s best to enjoy it at soon as possible.
Though it can last 1-2 days in the fridge. If you want it to last as long as possible, only season the salad with dressing just before serving.
If you are using long English cucumber, you don’t have to peel it. Just wash it well. Also no need to peel skin of smaller cucumbers and Persian cucumbers. You only have to peel tough skin on field cucumbers and some homegrown cukes.
Make sure to use sharp knife. There is no need to de-seed tomatoes, just make sure to cut them into even bite-sized pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes in halves.
I do not recommend it. Dried dill tastes very different from fresh dill. Instead use any other fresh herbs you like and have on hand.
More Easy Salad Recipes to Try
You might also enjoy my list of 52 healthy salad recipes!
Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe
- In a large bowl, add cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, dill, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper.
- Stir gently from the bottom in the center of the bowl until well combined.
- Salad tastes best when served immediately.
- Store: Refrigerate salad for up to 24 hours.
- Make Ahead: Refrigerate all vegetables in a bowl covered. Then add oils, salt and pepper right before serving.
- Best tomatoes to use: In summer heirloom varieties, and tomatoes on the vine when it comes to store-bought.
- Don’t add the salt too early. As soon as you add the salt, the juices from the tomato and cucumber will start to release.
- Substitute for toasted sesame oil: Use more of olive oil.
- Add garlic: Tiny grated garlic clove will add a lot of flavor.