Tomato Cucumber Salad with a combination tzatziki-raita dressing is just the type of dish I resolved to include with our daily meals this year. I decided we would take common ingredients such as tomato and cucumber and give them an international flare. Why stick with our balsamic vinegar and olive oil? Why not make it Mediterranean and use yogurt as a base and then give it a kick by adding a touch of ginger, garlic, and hot pepper?
Mediterranean Tomato Cucumber Salad and Yogurt Dressing is our start on this New Year's resolution.
Anno nuovo, vita nuova (new year, new life)
That saying was one of my mamma's favorites. We start with a clean slate, a new beginning, a new life.
Did you make a New Year's resolution? I hate to admit this, but usually, I make one and forget about it, continuing with old habits. Now, my habits aren't all bad. I admit, one or two could stand improvement, especially when it comes to being organized. 😉 Oh, and remembering lists. I make lists, and then when I leave, I forget them on the kitchen counter. Do you do that? It frustrates Honey to no end!
Do you make lists? One of my favorite sayings is: fail to prepare; prepare to fail. Not that I follow that advice. 🙁 So this will be the year of lists and preparation. Preparing menus ahead of time and making sure I have all the ingredients for a dish such as the one for the tomato cucumber salad.
Ingredients for the tomato cucumber salad
The main ingredients are simple: English-style cucumbers, grape or cherry tomatoes, and red onion. It sounds almost too easy, doesn't it? Are you wondering why I would start a year with something that appears quite, well, ordinary?
It's the sauce. Thick. Creamy. Spicy. A satisfying combination of tzatziki and raita sauce, using the unique ingredients of each. Why didn't we just stick with either a Greek version, tzatziki, or Indian version, raita?
Well, it began with me saying, "Honey I think I'm going to make a tzatziki sauce for our tomato cucumber salad."
"I'm in the mood for something spicier," said Honey.
"Oh, I don't know. How about dicing up a hot pepper in it? Then finish it off with the fresh ginger and cilantro we got for the spicy thighs recipe?"
A tomato cucumber salad dressing combo
"Why can't we just make the base as a tzatziki and then just add the other spices?" he asked.
"Because! I want to make it Mediterranean. Adding those other ingredients will make it Indian. Our smart readers will know right away that the dish is not Greek."
He looked at me as if I were a little slow on the uptake. "Then tell them ahead of time we wanted to make it spicier with the ginger, cilantro, and chili pepper. Besides, we don't want those ingredients in the fridge going to waste." He gave me "the look" and started to walk off but not before reminding me, "Don't forget the Kalamata olives."
Like I could ever forget the olives in his salad. Honey did have a point, though. I've been known to forget about a few things in the veggie drawer, and that is one of his pet peeves -- wasting food. It was also my mamma and papà's and mine too, but when I'm in the veggie aisle, I see so much potential.
A happy compromise
The result was delicious. The sauce was outstanding, and the additional spicy ingredients in the yogurt dressing made the Mediterranean Tomato Cucumber Salad excellent. This recipe is a keeper.
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Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
Mediterranean Tomato Cucumber Salad & Yogurt Dressing
- 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt
- 1 garlic clove peeled grated
- 1- inch piece off fresh ginger peeled and grated
- ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- Juice of half a lemon about 2 Tablespoons
- 2 Tablespoons minced poblano pepper use a mild or hot fresh pepper we like poblanos
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 Tablespoons chopped mint leaves divided
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves divided
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 long English-style cucumber 1 pound thoroughly washed
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- ½ medium red onion cut into slivers
- ¾ cup Kalamata olives
- 1 head Butter Bibb, or Boston lettuce washed and patted dry with paper towels.
- Make the dressing by scooping the yogurt into a medium bowl and using a fine grater, grate the garlic and ginger over the yogurt. Stir in the sugar, lemon, poblano, cumin seeds, half the mint and cilantro. Season to taste. Set aside until ready to serve the salad.
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then each half three more times into long wedged-shaped pieces -- 8 long pieces. Cut them into 1 to 1 ½ inch lengths on a diagonal and add them to a big bowl. Pile the tomatoes, onions, and kalamata olives on top. When you're ready to eat, mix some of the dressing with the salad. Sprinkle with remaining mint and cilantro.
- Make lettuce cups with your choice of green and spoon a healthy portion into the center of the lettuce cup. Serve with the extra yogurt dressing on the side.
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