Jazzed-Up Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers

What’s my favorite summer salad? Simply tomatoes and cucumbers marinated in red wine or balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I could eat this salad every day. The combination can easily be jazzed up, too, with a few other ingredients. Tomato and Cucumber Salad - 2 - IMG_7276_1

Do cucumbers grow in Louisiana?

I plant lots of cucumbers in my garden each spring in March and enjoy them until the weather becomes hot and the plants wilt. (It’s 100 degrees here now and humid–feels like an oven!) I usually plant some cucumbers close to my fence so the vines will trellis up the fence making beautiful cucumbers.Cucumbers growing on Fence - IMG_3176

This year I planted another crop in July. The small plants are flowering, we’ll see if watering can keep them growing for a fall crop.

Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be very tricky to grow in Louisiana. My garden tomatoes succumbed to tomato Fusarium Wilt. I have cherry tomatoes growing in pots in sterile soil — these are doing well. There’s a farmer’s market close by, so on Tuesdays I visit it and get all the local Creole tomatoes I can eat.Tomatoes at Farmers Market - IMG_3914

Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers — Jazzed up — Nutritional Value

No recipe is really needed for marinated tomatoes and cucumbers. Slice a cucumber, add chopped tomato or cherry tomatoes, green onions and marinate in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasonings–salt and pepper. So many variations are possible–just use a little imagination.

Cucumbers are low in calories, tomatoes are full of nutrition–especially Vitamin C and phytochemical compounds. This salad, with a light sprinkling of olive oil, fits into heart healthy diets such as the Mediterranean Diet and Dash Diet. It’s a good way to get vegetables in meals.

Taste of Home Recipe

I like to purchase the “Taste of Home” recipe magazines that are found close to the cashier in grocery stores. While waiting in line to check out, I often find something that tempts me. (The strategy of placing magazines at the check out counter works on me!) The “Taste of Home” recipes are outstanding ones– submitted by home cooks who are showing off their recipe successes. Once such recipe is Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad.Ingredients for Tomato Cucumber Mozzarella Salad - 2 - IMG_3222The recipe is a jazzed-up variation of marinated tomatoes and cucumbers. It makes a large salad — using three tomatoes. The salad includes an English cucumber (great for no seeds), bell pepper, Greek olives and fresh mozzarella. The dressing includes basil, parsley, oregano and a little sugar. The sweetness works well in this salad.The recipe includes both red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar–not sure why–but okay.

The fresh mozzarella makes an interesting addition–I use small balls and cut these in half or quarters. Four ounces is alot of cheese–often I’ll cut back on this quantity.Tomato Cucumber Mozzarella Cheese Salad on Plate - IMG_3263

I made my own variation using cherry tomatoes and salad olives. Had to take a photo quickly; as this salad is all gone in a hurry.Salad Ingredients mixed up with dressing - IMG_4132I find that a half of a large cucumber and a cup of tomatoes makes about the right proportion for a meal for our family. I like to add green onions and then whatever ingredients are on hand such as bell pepper or avocado. For vinegar, I like to use either red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. For oil, I often use a combination of olive oil and canola oil. It is a little lighter in flavor. And this salad makes only a few minutes to mix up! Enjoy!

Here’s the original recipe from “Taste of Homes” used with permission from the publisher.

[“recipe title=Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad” “servings=8″ time=”15 minutes plus time to chill” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 12 pitted Greek olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

Instructions and Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onions, olives and basil.
  2. For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegars, sugar, salt, oregano and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in cheese. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Recipes provided courtesy of Taste of Home magazine. Find more great recipes at www.tasteofhome.com.

[/recipe]

Here is my version of the recipe.Tomato and Cucumber Salad - 1 - IMG_7285_1

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