If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, but when you add in some feta cheese and Kalamata olives, that really gives this salad a special zing! The “dressing” in this salad is very simple…just some lemon juice and olive oil. So there are lots of healthy ingredients in this. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can chop up larger tomatoes into chunks and that should work fine. If you have a garden, it’s a great way to use all those cucumbers and tomatoes you’re growing this summer!
TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD WITH FETA by NancyC
Makes about 5 servings
1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 1/4 lb.)
2 small to medium cucumbers, diced into 1/2″ chunks (about 2 cups diced)
2 green onions, thinly sliced (slice both the white onion part and green stems)
1 cup pitted and sliced or halved Kalamata olives
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
In large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the thyme, salt, pepper, and feta cheese.
Add in the cucumber, green onions, and olives; toss with the tomato/feta cheese mixture, tossing everything together well (you can let this mixture sit at room temperature up to 1 hour before serving). Just before serving, add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss everything together well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
I love using fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market in summer recipes! Are you growing any veggies this summer?
If you’re in a “salad rut” and wanting to try something new, try this Italian Panzanella! When I saw this recipe and photo over at MarthaStewart.com, it looked and sounded so good and healthy! As I looked over the ingredients, I discovered that I liked everything that was in it. So I tried it out the other day…I thought it was really good. I had never made anything like it before, but it was very easy to put together. Martha’s website mentions that the cannellini beans and provolone cheese, mixed with the veggies, make this a “well-balanced vegetarian meal.” I’m not a vegetarian, but I do like to eat healthy, so I give this recipe a “thumbs up!” This makes 4 servings.
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups large cubes of Italian country bread* (or your favorite bread)
1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into small chunks
1 cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
4 ounces provolone cheese, diced (buy the cheese unsliced)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Whisk together vinegar and oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add beans, cubed bread, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and cheese. Toss these ingredients with the vinegar and oil mixture; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours. Stir in the basil just before serving.
*Italian country bread has a chewy, coarse texture that holds moisture well without becoming soggy. Also known as pan bigio, it is typically made with whole wheat flour or a mixture of white and whole wheat flour.
I found out some pretty interesting things about cucumbers from a blog called Stir, Laugh, Repeat. For instance, did you know that cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day? One cuke contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc!
It’s amazing how good cucumbers are for you and all the different things you can use them for–and now when cucumbers are in such abundance, it’s a great time to try these tips:
FOR PERSONAL USE:
If you’re feeling tired in the afternoon, snack on a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide a quick pick-me-up. They’re also a good snack if you are having the “munchies”–a cucumber will help curb your appetite until mealtime.
To help reduce stress, cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber react with the boiling water and are released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma.
For reducing the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite, rub a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes–the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite and wrinkles.
If you’ve had a spicy meal and are out of mints, take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath–the phytochemcials in the cucmber kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause it.
USES FOR YOUR HOME:
To keep your bathroom mirror from fogging up after a shower, rub a cucumber slice along the mirror to eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
Use cucumbers to polish your shoes! Rub a freshly–cut cucumber over your shoes; you’ll have a quick and durable shine that also repels water.
If grubs and slugs are ruining your planting beds, place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans, but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
If you’re out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge, just take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge–the squeak will be gone!
Here’s a “green” way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel: take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. It will remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
If you’re using a pen and make a mistake, take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. You can also use this on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls. 🙂
Hope you find these tips helpful! I’ll need to add a few more cucumbers to my shopping list!