This salad is what happens when you have just a small bit of grains leftover from dinner the night before. Cool, crisp cucumbers are paired with bulgur and an easy chili-oil. Easily multiply this recipe to feed more. I love it served with some corn fritters and hummus.
I love a good cucumber salad and side dish during the summer. It’s crisp, it’s refreshing, and it’s usually easy enough to through together in a few minutes. This cucumber salad is true to all of that. I love keeping the cucumber fresh but I’ve noticed quite a few options for grilling cucumbers as well.
Want to switch it up? Try using fresh tomatoes with or in place of the cucumber (think cherry tomatoes!)
I’m notorious for cooking just a few too many grains to where I only have ¼ to ½ cup leftover (usually from dinner the night before!) This salad uses the scraps of bulgur. However, bulgur cooks quickly so if you needed to make it with the salad- it only adds about 15 minutes.
Other grains that would work well include quinoa or millet. This would help keep the overall dish gluten-free too!
Add some cheese
I left it out but this salad would be delightful with a salty cheese like feta. I’d even go as far to say look for a sheep or goat feta- I find they balance the spice from the chili flakes nicely while keeping a prominent flavor.
I know spice isn’t everyone’s game, so swap out the chili flakes for a bit of ground smoked paprika (about 1/2 teaspoon). I feel like the chili flakes really bring everything together so I wouldn’t recommend just leaving them out completely.
1 large cucumber
¼ cup cooked bulgur
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons basil, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons minced preserved lemon (or zest from ½ lemon)
Salt, to taste
Cut the cucumber into bite-sized slices or cubes (doesn’t really matter the shape- whatever you find appealing!) Place in a bowl with the bulgur, sesame seeds, and basil.
Heat a small skillet and add olive oil. Once it’s hot, turn off the heat and add the chili flakes. Let cool then stir in the lemon and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the cucumber mixture and toss until combined. Taste and adjust the salt levels if needed.
+ I like to usually use Armenian cucumbers for this type of dish but any type of cucumbers will work well.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.