Happy Middle Eastern Mother’s Day! In honor of this special day and the first day of Spring, let me introduce you to my favorite salad and salad dressing. It’s so easy to make and so refreshingly delicious. This salad is such an important part of our culture. There are so many different variations and names for this salad. Some may add parsley, mint, onions, sweet bell peppers, chili peppers, or even avocados. Middle Easterners eat a variation of this salad as much as they eat rice and bread, so that’s a lot. It is also a great side for so many delicious Middle Eastern dishes, my favorite is the Palestinian dish, maklube.This salad is great on top of this Paleo rice stuffing with plain yogurt (laban), if you can tolerate dairy.
I learned how to make this salad when I was a very young girl. It’s funny but Middle Eastern mothers trust their daughters with sharp knives in the kitchen very early on. When mama says go make a salata, this is what she means; a finely diced combination of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
When I was pregnant, I made this salad multiple times a day every day for months. I would make a huge bowl during my lunch break and take an extra bowl to eat later. It’s that good!
My three year old loves this salad so much, it’s about the only salad she’ll eat. Whenever she sees me chopping tomatoes or cucumbers she asks if I’m making salata. She has loved tomatoes ever since I introduced her to them and she loves to snack on those mini cucumbers.
Toddler approved and loved. Let’s jump right in!
- 3 medium sized tomatoes (I use vine-ripened tomatoes)
- 3 mini cucumbers (Persian cucumbers- about 4 inches long)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or 1.5 tablespoons if you’re measuring
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (you can always add more)
- Wash and dry your produce.
- Finely dice your cucumbers and tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
- When ready to serve, mix all of your ingredients together.
- Sprinkle some chopped fresh or dried mint for added freshness. (optional)
*Arabic word for tomato: bandora