Cucumber and Tomato Salad

it's the salad of summer

This is my salad of summer. Every weekend, and most weekdays, cucumber and tomato salad is on the dinner table. If tomatoes are in season, I am eating them. As many as I can. And I can eat a lot of tomatoes. I love this salad for how simple it is, peak season produce tossed with some oil and vinegar.

I’ll do endless variations of this salad depending on what I have on hand, don’t have, or need to use up. I’ll switch up the herbs, go no onions, and occasionally I’ll use balsamic vinegar if I don’t have red wine available. Nothing is set in stone. But the recipe here is my classic version. The ideal version, I guess. I’m usually eating this alongside some type of grilled fish and rice, but it’s also great spooned over a thin, grilled chicken cutlet or my favorite if I’m eating alone: a can of oil cured tuna flaked on top. And lots of crusty bread to go alongside. Turns into a kinda tuna panzanella salad. Delicious. But I’m getting off topic. I do insist on the excess dressing, it’s a must. You’ll notice there seems to be a lot of oil and vinegar when you make this. It gets mixed with the juices from the tomatoes and cucumbers, then drizzled over any rice you’re having with dinner, used for dipping in chunks of bread or fresh pitas. You want this salad juicy. Don’t skimp. Generously dress this salad.

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Cucumber and Tomato Salad Cucumber and Tomato Salad
This is my salad of summer. Every weekend, and most weekdays, this salad is on the dinner table. If tomatoes are in season, I am eating them. As many as I can. And I can eat a lot of tomatoes.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad

What is cucumber and tomato salad?

A cucumber and tomato salad, or a tomato cucumber salad, is pretty self explanatory, it’s cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s a simple salad I like to make in the summer that gets dressed with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. It’s a refreshing and light salad that is a the perfect quick side to any meal. Some additional ingredients such as onions, herbs (like parsley or basil) are all nice additions.

What ingredients do I need to make a cucumber and tomato salad?


Cucumbers are half of the staring role in this salad, so make sure you get the best ones you can find. You can either use one large English, or seedless cucumber, a few smaller Persian ones, or even a homegrown one if you’ve got it. I also typically don’t peel my cucumbers unless they happen to be a variety with really tough or waxy skin. So, like most recipes on this site, use your best judgement and adjust accordingly.

What is a Persian cucumber?

Persian cucumbers, also known as mini cucumbers or baby cucumbers, are small, seedless cucumbers with thin, tender skin. They’re super crisp, refreshing, and I would say a little sweeter than most traditional cucumbers. I typically get them whenever I see them especially since they tend to be available all year.

What is an English cucumber?

English cucumbers, also known as seedless or hothouse cucumbers, are those long, slender cucumbers with thin, tender skin and very few seeds. There is no need to peel them, and usually you don’t need to remove any seeds. They’re a great option to use here.


For this version I used a few larger tomatoes that were locally grown since it was peak tomato season. But, you can certainly use some really good cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato or another favorite, sungold tomatoes. Any good tomato would work here. Get the best ones you can find and make sure they’re ripe. Its one of the main ingredients for this salad so you want a good tomato!


I tend to like using red onions in my cucumber and tomato salad. I think their sharp flavor pairs really well with the salad plus the pretty purple color looks nice too. You can use a sweet onion like a Maui onion or Vidalia onion if you can get them. Really any onion works here. I’ve also used shallots too. They’re nice and mild, and since they’re smaller you can use the whole thing.

One note about raw onions: if they are too much for you, just too strong, you can mellow them out by thinly slicing and soaking them in ice water. It will draw out some of the sulphur compounds in the onion, making them more palatable. And it also gives them a nice bit of extra crunch. They should only need to soak for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is my first choice for this salad. It’s sharp and doesn’t have an overpowering flavor. But, you can also use apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar. And even balsamic vinegar goes really well. It makes it a slightly different salad since the balsamic has a more pronounced taste, but will be totally delicious!

Olive oil

I’ve said it a million times before, get the best one you can for this. The recipe has only a handful of ingredients so you want each one to really shine. Use an extra virgin olive oil here.

Fresh Basil

Fresh basil is one of my summer obsessions. I cannot get enough of it and generally will use this cucumber and tomato salad as an excuse to eat more basil. You want fresh basil for this, usually a classic Genovese basil. But, I have used Thai basil, purple basil, cinnamon basil and even mini Greek basil in the past and all are delicious. The combo of the fresh vegetables, dressing and then the licorice hit of the basil is perfect.

With all that being said, if you don’t have any fresh basil, or just don’t like it, you can certainly not use it and just leave it out of the recipe. Or, add in some fresh dill, a handful of chopped parsley or even a pinch of dried oregano. All very good alternatives.

How to make cucumber and tomato salad

This is an incredibly simple salad to make.

  1. Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Finish the salad by dressing with olive oil, your vinegar or choice and lots of fresh basil. Toss and serve.

What are some variations to cucumber and tomato salad?

This is a great salad to use as a base and adjust and add to it however you like. A few variations are below:

Greek Tomato Cucumber Salad

Add in some crumbled feta cheese, a pinch of dried oregano, some Kalamata olives and you have one of the best salads ever!

Tuna Tomato Cucumber Salad

Some oil packed tuna over top this cucumber tomato salad, makes it a bit more filling with the added protein and more of a full meal. Totally delicious.

Chic Pea Cucumber Tomato Salad

A drained canned of chic peas is great. Add in a little pinch of oregano and lots of fresh parsley. So good! It’s filling with the added chic peas and it’s a great vegan option.

Mozzarella Tomato and Cucumber Salad

A classic version is a tomato cucumber and mozzarella salad. Toss in some torn up fresh mozzarella and substitute some balsamic vinegar for an Italian version.

Dill Tomato Cucumber Salad

A generous handful of chopped dill added to this salad is delicious. Fresh dill adds an herby hit to the salad and a whole different vibe than using the fresh basil. So, so good!

How long can I store cucumber and tomato salad?

At most I would say you can store this in the fridge for a day. It’s not the best salad option for storage, it tends to get watery and the tomatoes don’t taste great when they’re refrigerated. I would recommend only making what you would expect to eat.

Some other variations of cucumber salads to try:

Cucumber and Peach Salad

Grilled Chicken Paillard with Cucumber, Fennel and Citrus


The Recipe

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
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Cucumber and Tomato Salad

A classic cucumber and tomato salad with sliced onions, oil, vinegar and lots of fresh basil.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: tomato cucumber salad
Servings: 2
Calories: 280kcal
Author: Rachel Lerro


  • 1 large cucumber chopped in rough irregular shapes
  • 1 large tomato chopped in rough irregular shapes
  • 1/4 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/ 4 c red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves


  • Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  • Finish salad by dressing with oil, vinegar and lots of basil. Toss and serve.


Calories: 280kcal

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