This Middle Eastern salad features chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs on a bed of whipped tahini for a refreshing summer salad filled with crunch and color.
Every summer about this time I come to the realization that I’ve largely been subsisting off of salads like this Middle Eastern salad. Not that I don’t eat them during the rest of the year (a hearty cold weather salad is always welcome at my table during the fall and winter months), but summer days are salad days for me. The sweltering heat means less time at the stove or oven and more time chopping and tossing.
Now when I say salad, I usually mean one that’s heavy on the vegetables and light on the greens (if I even use any at all). I like my salads to have heft and substance, to be something that will satisfy my hunger which a bowl full of lettuce leaves rarely does.
This chopped salad is just the kind you’ll find me making on one of those days when I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven. It’s light, colorful and filled with fresh summer produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers and zucchini.
What is a Middle Eastern Salad?
You can find a version of a tomato and cucumber salad like this one on tables throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Most include fresh herbs such as mint and parsley and a simple lemon and olive oil based dressing. The secret to these kinds of salads is in the chop; a fine chop really marries and melds all the individual flavors transforming each bite into a perfect assortment of tastes and textures. A generous pinch of salt also helps.
After you’re done chopping you’ll end up with a salad that looks more like salsa but that’s exactly what you want. In fact I like to serve mine with some of my grain-free pita chips (or even coconut tortilla chips) on the side to scoop it up with. Everything gets loaded on a bed of whipped tahini and sprinkled with a pinch of sumac to finish before serving.
It’s vibrant, filled with fresh produce and herbs and works well as an appetizer, salad or side to any meal. It also happened to be especially cooling on a hot summer day.
More summer salads to try:
- Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad with Sautéed Zucchini and Asparagus (Paleo, Vegan)
- Berry Watermelon Fruit Salad with Ruby Syrup (Paleo, Vegan)
- Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil Parsley Oil
This refreshing chopped tomato cucumber salad features a handful of fresh vegetables and herbs with a light dressing served on a bed of whipped tahini for a delightful summer meal filled with crunch and color.
For the salad:
- 3 small vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
- 2 small Persian cucumbers, seeded and finely diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 medium zucchini, seeded and finely diced
- 1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- Pinch of sumac to top
- grain-free pita chips or tortilla chips to serve (optional)
For the dressing:
- 1 Tablespoon/15ml fresh lemon juice (plus more for whipped tahini)
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the whipped tahini:
- ½ cup/120ml tahini
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛th teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ cup/60ml filtered water
Make the salad:
- Place chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper and zucchini in a large bowl and gently toss with chopped herbs.
Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, oil and salt. Drizzle over chopped salad and gently toss to combine.
Make the whipped tahini:
- Place the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, coriander and water into the bowl of a small food processor and process until smooth, whipped and creamy adding more water if necessary.
- To serve, spread whipped tahini on serving plate and spoon the salad on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of sumac and serve with chips if desired.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.