A fresh salad like this is a sure sign that winter is ending. But! I just woke up to 6-inches of snow this morning so it clearly hasn’t left quite yet. Sure, you can probably find tomatoes year round in the grocery store these days, but they are infinitely better in-season, and such a treat when they are picked straight off the plant. I am feeling the urge to get my garden started, but know that I really need to wait another few weeks. Those occasional 60-70 degree days are such a tease!
I love a garlicky, vinegar-heavy dressing like this as it compliments the tomatoes and cucumber so well. This makes a great appetizer when served with pita chips. It is also a great side salad on top of cous cous or mixed into pasta. Bulk it up with any of the listed optional ingredients listed below as well for a more substantial side. I especially love it with feta, some of which breaks down and makes the dressing creamy.
zest and juice of 1/4- 1/2 lemon (depending on lemon size, personal preference)
1 garlic clove, grated with microplane
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
fresh ground pepper
salt to taste (I find it is salty enough with just the olives)
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1 small cucumber (I use seedless Persian cucumbers here), cut into 1/2 moon pieces
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Optional: crumbled feta, diced avocado, arugula or spinach, cooked french lentils
Combine dressing ingredients in large bowl. Add chopped veggies, basil, and any other optional ingredients and toss to combine. Let all ingredients marinate together for at least 30 minutes for best flavor. Taste and adjust to your liking, this is a very adaptable template.