This simple salad is my hands down favorite. Spring, summer, fall, winter – we eat this salad all year ’round. Of course, there’s no better way than with fresh herbs and vegetables fresh from my garden topped with a homemade vinaigrette. With the winters being pretty mild in South Carolina, I’m already looking forward to planting my seedlings to get my garden going early this year. I’ve got my seed stock ready to go. Just another thing to add to my husband’s “Honey do” list for the next beautiful weekend we have coming up – get the planters ready for spring seedlings.
This salad uses just a few simple ingredients which also makes it quick and easy to prepare – a trait that’s at the top of my list for any recipe. Beautiful red and orange (or yellow) cherry tomatoes, cool, crunchy cucumbers, fresh basil, and red onions combine with tangy goat cheese to create the perfect balance. I personally love the flavor of goat cheese but if you do not you could substitute a feta crumble if you prefer that instead. The fresh herbs are so important to this dish and really heighten the flavors. Tossed together with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and this tangy salad is ready in under 15 minutes. YUM!
I serve this often as a side dish with our main course but in summer when our vegetables are in season, we eat this as our main course with a hunk of crusty french bread and some fresh fruit. It’s the perfect lunch on a sweltering hot day. Cool, crispy and refreshing.
For my vinaigrette, I do not add any sugar. If you prefer, you may add some sugar to sweeten it up and take the edge off the sharpness of the balsamic vinegar. I like that sharp flavor – so yummy and cuts through the creaminess of the cheese.
Tomato Basil Cucumber Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Yield 2 servings
Tomato, basil, cucumber salad is a quick and easy side salad or main course.
For the Salad:
- 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, any variety
- 2 English cucumbers - peeled and diced
- 4 oz goat cheese - sliced or crumbled
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- 9 leaves of basil, sliced thinly (julienned)
For the Balsamic Dressing:
- 9 sprigs parsley - minced
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey, optional
- ground black pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- Prepare the Salad Base: For grape or cherry tomatoes, slice tomatoes in half. For full-sized slicing tomatoes, seed and chop tomatoes into a medium- sized dice. Add to a bowl and set aside.
- Peel the English cucumbers and dice. If using regular garden cucumbers, peel and seed first. Then slice and dice and add into the bowl with the tomatoes and set aside.
- Cut red onion into a small dice. Add to the bowl and set aside.
- Take the clean, dry basil leaves and remove the stems. Place one leaf on top of the next forming a pile. Next, roll the leaves from stem end to point end forming a tube and the slice thinly across the section creating a nice julienne of basil. [See Notes].
- Prepare the dressing: In a bowl or mason jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes (optional), garlic powder, honey (optional), and black pepper. Whisk or cover and shake well to combine - pour lightly over salad reserving extra for tableside additions.
- Toss salad gently. Top with cut or crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.
Basil turns brown on the edges after it is cut. If you plan to prepare the salad ahead of your meal, julienne the basil just before serving. Also, leave the dressing on the side until you are ready to serve.
Are you a fan of goat cheese, too? You may also enjoy these recipes: