Summer produce newsflash: there’s a massive difference between an okay tomato and one that’s truly ripe, grown nearby, and hasn’t had to travel across the country on a refrigerated food truck. We’re talking such a major difference that they could almost be considered two totally different foods.
If you’ve never been a big tomato fan in the past, I challenge you to go to the farmer’s market this weekend (or look for a locally-grown crop at your grocery store), buy a perfectly ripe one (it should be firm with a little give when you squeeze), go home and slice it up.
Top with lots of sea salt and a little olive oil, then eat it over the sink to catch the falling juices. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
One of the most exciting things to happen in our family recently is that my dad decided to get serious about his backyard tomato garden. He’s been toying with growing tomatoes for the past couple years, but most of his crops were being eaten by mysterious animals. This year he built a wood-framed “cage” to protect them, and the end result is 10 beautiful tomato plants of varying sizes, types and colors that are heavy with fruit. Thankfully, I get to bring some beauties home with me when I visit, so I’ve been inspired to make all types of tomato salads, slow-roasting them to have on hand for this, and of course, slicing and eating them ’til my heart’s content. A little fresh mozzarella and basil never hurts, either.
THIS tomato, avocado, and cucumber salad is the one we can’t stop eating. Adam and I chopped up all the ingredients and threw them together one night when we had zero dinner inspiration and only a few ingredients on hand, and neither of us could stop talking about how amazing it was. It’s infinitely adaptable, too – here are a few substitution ideas that I’ve either tried, or totally would in a pinch:
- Any fresh herbs can stand in for the basil and mint I used here — think cilantro, parsley, or dill.
- The honey-lime dressing is pretty perfect, but you could always just drizzle with a little olive oil and squeeze a lime over it all to make things easy.
- Swap the feta for crumbled goat cheese — or omit altogether for a vegan option.
- Feel free to throw in some chickpeas or quinoa to add plant-based protein.
This Tomato, Avocado, & Cucumber Salad makes a perfect vegetarian lunch, summery first-course for a dinner party (if we ever get to have those again), or a delicious side to grilled meat, tacos, or a burgers-on-the-grill dinner. In fact, I think it’s going to be my official barbecue side dish of summer 2020.
I’d love to hear if you guys give this one a try! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #LikeYouMeanIt on Instagram. Scroll on for the recipe.
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use yellow or orange)
- 1 large or 2 small avocados, cut into large chunks
- 2 persian cucumbers, sliced (or 1/2 seedless large cucumber, sliced)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup pickled red onions (or thinly sliced raw red onion)
- ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint)
- 1/2 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
- flaky salt & pepper
for the honey lime vinaigrette:
- 1 tbsp honey
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp balsamic
- 1 minced garlic clove
- Olive oil
- In a large serving bowl, layer the tomato wedges, halved cherry tomatoes, avocado chunks, and cucumber. Drizzle with vinaigrette, then carefully toss with a serving spoon so as not to crush the avocado.
- Top with feta, red onion, herbs, and jalapeno (if using). Give it one gently stir, then drizzle it all with a little more dressing, and add a big pinch of flaky salt and pepper. Eat!