Sunday, March 22, 2009

Middle Eastern-Style Salad

This is a variation on a classic salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. It's one of my favorites, and every year when I bust it out again in the spring, I'm reminded all over again of why I like it: the strong flavors of the onions, tomatoes and basil are balanced nicely by the milder flavors of the cucumbers and cheese. Since I do better on more protein, I add turkey or chicken strips to this salad, but you could serve it just as easily without the meat.

The Recipe:
Serves 4-6 as a meal

2 large English cucumbers
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
16 oz cherry tomatoes (or other small tomatoes), halved
OR 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped*
3 oz basil (one large grocery store package)
11 oz goat cheese**
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbs red wine vinegar

Optional: .75 oz mint (one small grocery store package)
Optional: 1 pound turkey or chicken strips, cooked

Chop or shred the basil and mint. Break the goat cheese into small, bite-size chunks.

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, basil, goat cheese, olive oil, vinegar and HALF the mint (it’s a strong taste, and you can always add more – it’s harder to take it out!). Toss to combine, and check for taste. Add more mint if you like.

Serve the salad in bowls, with the turkey/chicken strips on top.

SO GOOD. Like summer in a bowl.

*I use cherry tomatoes, and only halve the big ones. That way the tomato juice doesn’t leak all through the salad, which is helpful if you want to have it for leftovers later. If you’re serving the whole thing right away, either kind of tomato will work.

**Salads like this one usually call for feta cheese, which is a little harder than regular goat cheese. I like the softer goat cheese though, because it’s a milder flavor, and because it’s so soft that as you toss the salad, some of the cheese breaks down into the olive oil and vinegar dressing, giving it a slightly creamy consistency.


  1. This one looks yummy. I'd eat it. With or without turkey.

  2. POD, I actually usually eat it without any meat. I've been trying to eat more protein though, and this way I get it. :) But it's good either way.


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