A very easy and fresh lemon cucumber salad with tomatoes and a sweet bell pepper. This light salad makes a perfect side dish to just about any dinner!
Growing up, my mom would make a cucumber and tomato salad pretty much every single Sunday night. She would slice the cucumbers, chop up tomatoes, add in some lemon juice, salt + pepper, and that was it!
My family loves the salad so much that it’s still a Sunday night tradition.
I wanted to keep this salad as close to my mom’s recipe because it’s delicious. Sometimes (I’m finding a lot of times actually) less is more. Less ingredients and simplicity sometimes make for the best and freshest tasting food.
This salad is the definition of that — it’s incredibly simple and low on the ingredients. While my mom’s salad calls for five ingredients (cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, salt and pepper), this has a few more, but not too much more.
One of the ingredients I added in is a yellow sweet bell pepper. I love the color pop it adds to the salad and it adds a nice additional crunch and sweet flavor. Another ingredient is fresh parsley. The addition of fresh parsley is absolutely delicious and evens out the sweet tang of the lemon juice and peel. (If you don’t LOVE parsley, fresh dill or even fresh basil would both be great alternatives.)
Speaking of lemons I also decided to add in some lemon rind. Although the lemon juice gives this salad a nice lemon flavor, the lemon rind adds another lemon pop of flavor. There is only 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of lemon rind in this recipe because I didn’t want a too over-powering lemon flavor. However, it’s an easy adjustment to personal preference – you can be a little heavier or even lighter on the lemon flavor.
When my mom makes this salad she never measures lemon juice into it. One of my favorite “jobs” for her growing up was tasting the cucumbers as she added the lemon. I’d tell her if it needed more and then I’d get to taste it again. I think I always said it needed more because I loved the extra taste-testing before dinner. 🙂 Moral of the story – start with the recipe and add more to your own preference!
There are a few notes that will ensure this salad is the best that it can be. The first is make sure the vegetables have previously been chilled. Especially if you are using garden vegetables (the BEST!) it’s important that they spend some time in the fridge prior to being made into this salad.
Second, if the vegetables have previously been chilled I think this salad is best eaten right after being made. Don’t add the dressing until it is ready to eat right away. Unfortunately this isn’t a great salad to make in advance and chill for long periods of time. If you must make it beforehand, don’t add in the dressing until it’s eating time.
And finally, don’t be afraid to go heavy on the salt and pepper. But of course, all to taste. I generally use about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (I love pepper though!), taste, and then sometimes add even a bit more. I didn’t put these measurements into the recipe because people are definitely sensitive to too much or too little of salt + pepper, so I’m leaving that up to you and your taste-buds. But I do like this salad heavily seasoned with both salt and pepper! For an interesting change-up, lemon pepper is also a fun addition to this salad.
- 2 (~6 and 1/2 cups) large cucumbers I used English
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup yellow sweet bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Peel the cucumber if desired. I like to leave the peels on as I believe it adds flavor and texture plus good nutrients. 🙂
Thinly slice the cucumbers. (I use a box grater with a vegetable slicing surface and it takes a few minutes).
Chop the cherry tomatoes into small pieces. Measure the cherry tomatoes once chopped to make one cup. Finely chop the yellow sweet bell pepper.
Add the tomato and yellow pepper in with the cucumbers.
Finely chop the parsley and add it in. If you aren't eating this right away, place the mixture in the fridge to chill.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and salt + pepper.
Right before serving, add the dressing to the cucumbers and adjust to taste. (Add more lemon, salt, or pepper, if desired.)
This salad is best eaten right after being made and doesn't store very well. It's also best when the vegetables have previously been chilled.
More delicious salad and side dish recipes: