Looking for a refreshing and delicious salad recipe to try this summer? Look no further than this mouthwatering cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella salad.
Bursting with vibrant colors and flavors, this salad is a true winner. It’s so good that Natasha, the creator of this recipe, couldn’t resist sharing it with us. The best part? It requires just a handful of ingredients, and the dressing is incredibly simple yet incredibly tasty.
Let’s dive into the details and learn how to create this culinary masterpiece.
How to Make Cucumber, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
Prepare the Tomatoes
To start, you’ll need to cut your cherry tomatoes in half. A serrated knife works wonders for this task, making it easier to slice through the tomatoes without squishing them. Here’s a clever trick to make the slicing process faster: grab two plastic lids. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the first lid, ensuring a snug fit, then cover them with the second lid. Hold the top lid steady with your hand and slice through the cherry tomatoes using the serrated knife. Voila! Perfectly halved tomatoes ready to be used in the salad. Transfer them to a mixing bowl.
Add Cucumber and Avocado
Next up, you’ll need either half of a large English cucumber or three small garden cucumbers. If using the large English cucumber, cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Add the cucumber to the mixing bowl with the tomatoes. Now, let’s move on to the star ingredient: the avocado. Cut the avocado in half, twist it to open it up, and remove the pit safely. Cut the avocado into quarters, and the pit should pop right out. Peel the skin off the ripe avocado and dice it up. Add the diced avocado to the mixing bowl.
Incorporate Mozzarella and Basil
For the cheese component, gather eight ounces or one cup of fresh mozzarella pearls. If you prefer, you can also use larger mozzarella balls and cut them in half, or dice up a block of fresh mozzarella. However, using mozzarella pearls saves you an extra step. Simply pop them right into the salad. Now, let’s add a burst of freshness with some fresh basil leaves. Basil is a delicate herb, so it’s important to cut it properly. Stack your clean basil leaves and roll them up tightly into a log. Use a sharp knife to slice the basil into thin strips, also known as a chiffonade cut. Avoid going back over the basil with the knife after it’s chopped. Add the basil to the salad bowl.
Prepare the Dressing
The dressing for this tomato, cucumber, and mozzarella salad is a game-changer. In a small dish, combine three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, half a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and one finely chopped or crushed garlic clove. Crushing the garlic with a press or grating it ensures that you don’t end up with large bits of garlic in your dressing. It also enhances the flavor. Add all of the dressing to the salad, then toss until well combined. The garlic in the dressing adds a delightful kick, so don’t skip it.
Tips and Variations
- For an extra crunch, you can add some toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds to the salad.
- Experiment with different types of tomatoes, such as heirloom or grape tomatoes, for a unique flavor and visual appeal.
- Add a tangy twist to the dressing by incorporating a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Crumbled feta cheese can be used as an alternative to mozzarella for a Mediterranean twist.
- If you’re a fan of spice, sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes over the salad for a kick of heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I make this salad in advance?
A: While it’s best to enjoy this salad fresh, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and assemble them just before serving. However, keep in mind that the avocado may brown slightly if left for too long.
Q: What other herbs can I use instead of basil?
A: If you don’t have basil on hand, you can substitute it with parsley, chives, or even a combination of fresh herbs that you enjoy.
Q: Is it possible to make this salad dairy-free?
A: Absolutely! You can replace the mozzarella with dairy-free alternatives like vegan cheese or marinated tofu cubes for a delicious plant-based version.
Q: How long will the dressing stay fresh?
A: The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Give it a good shake before using it to ensure the ingredients are well-mixed.
Kitchen Tools/Equipment Needed
To make this cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella salad, you’ll need the following kitchen tools or equipment:
- Serrated knife
- Plastic lids (two)
- Mixing bowl
- Bench scraper (optional)
- Sharp knife for slicing basil
- Small dish for dressing
- Garlic press or grater
- Salad tongs or serving utensils
Fresh and flavorful cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella salad with a simple yet delicious dressing. This salad is bursting with vibrant colors and the perfect combination of textures, making it an ideal choice for summer gatherings or a quick and healthy meal.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large English cucumber or 3 small garden cucumbers, quartered and sliced
1 large avocado, diced
8 ounces (1 cup) fresh mozzarella pearls
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half using a serrated knife. Place them in a mixing bowl.
- Add the sliced cucumbers to the bowl.
- Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and dice the flesh. Add the diced avocado to the bowl.
- Incorporate the mozzarella pearls into the salad.
- Slice the basil leaves into thin strips and add them to the bowl.
- In a small dish, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic clove to make the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined.
- Serve immediately and enjoy the fresh and flavorful goodness!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 4 people
- Calories: 250
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 400mg
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 9g
- Cholesterol: 15mg