tomato & cucumber salad {with lemon-caper dressing}

This salad screams summertime!  Though it’s only April, we’re getting summertime vibes over here and I am (somewhat) ready.  I’m ready to walk away from the stove and fire up the grill.  I’m ready to simply toss some veggies together to accompany our meal and call it day.  I’m envisioning sitting with my husband on our back patio at dusk under the twinkling pergola lights, listening to our wind chime dance in the breeze.  While sipping on an ice-cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, I am wholeheartedly enjoying this salad on a perfect summer evening.

Lately I have been craving a salad with some heft and texture that didn’t rely on lettuce for the crunch.  So instead of lettuce, we turn to tomatoes and cucumber- a match made in heaven if you ask me.  Though tomatoes aren’t fully in season yet, I still typically have a stash of them sitting on my counter for emergency salad situations such as this.

Now we have to discuss this dressing.  I was on the hunt for a tart and brine-y dressing to counter the freshness of the veggies and found my hero in the recipe you see below.  Though you do have to spend a few minutes actually segmenting the lemons, they make a huge difference in flavor because you’re using those segments as well as the juice!  Minced capers, tangy Dijon mustard, flaky salt, shallots, a touch of sugar and olive oil round out the dressing and definitely pack a one-two punch of flavor.

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It’s recommended to use on salads with fatty meats, cheeses or avocado so in an effort to do just that, I really suggest including avocado and goat cheese if it’s available.  Their creaminess balance the twang of the dressing which adds depth to the tomato-cucumber mixture.  Basically a win-win-win!

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Summer is coming.

tomato & cucumber salad {with lemon-caper dressing}

A light and fresh salad that works perfectly as a side or hearty snack.  The dressing is a winner and I suggest taking the time to actually make it as it makes a huge difference in flavor.  A whole grain such as quinoa, farro or freekeh might make a nice addition as well. This salad is crunchy; it’s creamy; it’s tart and fresh!  Can be made vegan by simply omitting the cheese.

for the salad

  • ∼1 lb grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • goat or feta cheese, optional

Chop each end off the cucumber and slice in half, lengthwise.  Slice those halves into thirds, lengthwise again.  Keeping those long slices together, slice horizontally to make evenly sized cubes.  Toss into a serving bowl with the halved tomatoes.  Top with the parsley and toss to combine.  I added the avocado right before serving so it wouldn’t brown.

The dressing was added to our individual bowls, just based upon preference.  I think it will keep longer this way so any remaining dressing can be kept covered in the refrigerator.

lemon-caper dressing

makes about 1 cup

  • 2 medium lemons
  • 3 tbs finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs capers, drained and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp flakey sea salt
  • ½ superfine sugar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • (I actually used 2 tbs hemp oil and 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil)

Segment the lemons over a bowl to catch the juices. Set the segments aside.

Squeeze the juice from the remaining membranes into a separate bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Whisk until everything is completely incorporated.

Add the lemon segments and toss gently to coat, making sure not to break them up.  Use the dressing immediately or let chill in the fridge, covered, for an hour.

(from Food52)

*Note:  I had leftover minced shallot from the dressing, which I just mixed in with the salad.  I have also added hemp seeds, which don’t change the flavor at all but give the salad a little nutrition boost.

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