Simple, healthy, and refreshing, this recipe for Tomato-Cucumber-Blueberry Salad goes together in a flash. Perfect for a hot summer evening.
The making of Tomato-Cucumber-Blueberry Salad
The first time I had a Tomato-Cucumber salad was about 2 years ago in North Carolina. I was visiting a friend who had recently purchased a lake-side property and built a new home on it. She invited a bunch of us "ladies" to come to enjoy the lake, her home, and her hospitality. One night she made a very simple salad of fresh tomato and diced cucumber. She added a bit of salt to it, which of course, released the juices of both tomato and cucumber, and that was it. Toss and serve.
It was light and refreshing. Perfect for a lakeside BBQ on a hot, North Carolina evening.
My house is currently under construction. We are transforming a smallish bedroom right off the master bedroom into a master closet. This simple idea, of course, has become a rather major remodel; the tearing down of walls, making new doors frames, moving the bathtub from left to right in the guest bath, and well, then doing a complete remodel of the guest bath.
It's going to be beautiful.
Once it's done.
But it ain't done yet.
So in the meantime, I have the noise and mess of construction going on. Dust and dust, and of course, my house is a mess. Not the whole house, but the whole of upstairs. And even though it's not in my kitchen, per se, it is disruptive to my normal routines. Combine that with our higher than normal summertime temperatures, and that because there is so much in and out it makes NO SENSE at all to use the AC, well, cooking is not first on my agenda. It does make simple salads with grilled proteins sound much more appealing.
The flavors of summer in your mouth
I started playing around with the Tomato-Cucumber salad idea. It so screams summer when both are growing in the garden. There is nothing better than to go out and pick some fresh, ripe tomatoes from the garden and eating them. I like to eat them just like you would an apple, but of course with a tomato twist. Taking a bite, sprinkling a bit of salt and pepper and sucking out the seeds, but maybe that's just me. So one of the first things I added to the salad was pepper.
My friend didn't add pepper. When I asked why she never used pepper on anything, she explained that her mother used to put pepper on her tongue whenever she was sassy; and to know Lauren, that was probably a lot, and she simply hated pepper. Understandable. I personally think it's a terrible idea to use food as a punishment - or a reward - so please - don't.
Anyway, to my addition of pepper, the next logical step was some herbs. Basil was a no-brainer in that department. Thinly sliced (chiffonade) of basil. The easiest way to chiffonade basil is to take all the leaves and stack them on top of each other, roll this into a tight cylinder, and then slice thinly across.
But I wanted a bit more.
So a splash (that's a technical cooking term for a dash or a small amount. I say it's to turn the bottle over and then right back upright again, (or about a teaspoon) of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil was added to the mix. I liked it. Added just a bit of flavor and texture.
Blueberries add earthiness
And then one day, after a visit to the farmer's market, I came home with some fresh seasonal blueberries.
Well, why not? They are after all another power food.
Why not indeed. So I added them. This added a whole new fresh, earthy, element to the dish. I really really liked it.
So this is how my recipe for Tomato-Cucumber-Blueberry Salad came to be. I still make the tomato-cucumber salad without blueberries when I don't have them. It's all good. And refreshing. And low-fat. And goes with any grilled protein. So simple to make and yet, so good for you being high in potassium (647mg) and rich in vitamins A and C. A summertime win-win.
This salad is perfect alongside:
- 4 - 5 large vine ripened tomatoes diced
- 1 - 2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and cut into quarters then sliced
- 1 cup fresh summer blueberries
- 6 - 8 large leaves basil cut into a chiffonade
- Splash each balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil use the best quality you can
- Pinch salt and grind of black or white pepper
- In a large bowl combine the tomato, cucumber, and blueberries; toss to mix. Add the basil along with the balsamic and oil; gently mix. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Best served at room temperature.
- LindySez: So this is one of those, it's a recipe, but it's not a recipe. I mean, I tell you what to use, but you can really adjust to your preference and how many people will be there eating it. This is a great dish to take to a pot-luck as it's great cold, but best at room temperature. Room temperature allows all the flavors to just shine through.