Tomato cucumber salad is the quintessential summer side dish. Using the best produce of the season, it crunches with freshness & garlicky bite. It’s great as a side dish for barbecues and picnics. Vegan and gluten-free.
Ever since I started making my own vegan feta cheese a few weeks back, I’ve been dreaming of crumbling it on top of a tomato cucumber salad.
Crisp sliced cucumbers.
Onions for bite.
Crumbles of vegan feta.
Herbed lemon dressing tying it all together.
It just tastes like August.
Vegan feta cheese
The vegan feta used in this recipe is made with blanched almonds. You can buy them blanched, or skin the almonds yourself.
(It isn’t hard to do! Here are the instructions on how to blanch almonds.)
Then you blend the almonds with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, olive brine, garlic, and water.
Pop it into the oven to bake until firm. After cooling in the refrigerator, it’s great crumbled onto salads like this one or spinach salad with strawberries, added to mezze platters, or used like a garnish on olive hummus.
For this salad, I recommend keeping the crumbles on the large side. That way you can snag big bites of it with your fork, along with the cucumbers & tomatoes. Plus, you can taste the way the lemon vinaigrette really penetrates it.
What kind of cucumbers should I use?
For this salad, I recommend Persian cucumbers.
Persian cucumbers or mini cucumbers are on the small side (about five or six inches in length). Their thin skin isn’t bitter. And they don’t have large, tough seeds inside. They are almost seedless, crisp, and not watery.
That makes them a great choice for this salad, because you don’t have to worry about seeding or peeling. You can simply chop & go.
Persian cucumbers usually come in packages of 5 or 6. So you could easily make a double batch of this recipe, or save the rest for Israeli couscous salad.
If you don’t have Persian cucumbers, you can replace 2 Persian cucumbers with 1 English cucumber.
How to make it
Put sliced cucumbers, onion, diced tomatoes, and vegan feta in a mixing bowl. (Set some of the feta aside to finish the completed salad.)
In another small bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
Tip on the minced garlic: A microplane zester works especially well here. It gets the garlic to an almost paste-like consistency, which helps with even combining. It also means you won’t be surprised by any big chunks of raw garlic.
Pour the dressing over vegetables in the mixing bowl. Use a spoon to get everything evenly covered. Finish with the remaining vegan feta.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Cucumbers and tomatoes both get juicy and soften over time. So I recommend making this salad the day you’re going to eat it, if possible.
Store the vegan feta cheese and dressing separately from the tomatoes and cucumbers. Then use a sieve to drain the tomatoes and cucumbers before mixing with the dressing.
When you’re ready to eat, if there’s excess liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl, use a slotted spoon for serving.
Make it your own
This is similar to a Greek salad, which usually comes with red onions & sliced olives. Yellow onions are milder in flavor. But if you prefer some bite, go with red instead. Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives would not go amiss here.
If tomatoes are out of season, use cherry tomatoes instead! They tend to hold onto their sweetness, even in non-summer months.
If you don’t have time to make your own vegan feta cheese, use store-bought or replace it with diced avocado. My favorite store-bought non-dairy feta is Herbivorous Butcher or Violife.
This salad would also be nice with a handful of fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley. Add vegan croutons for a panzanella vibe!
What to serve with it
Or lean into the seasonal produce availability, and serve it with a bowl of corn chowder.
Tomato cucumber salad with vegan feta
- 2 Persian cucumbers or mini cucumbers, sliced
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes about 1 medium tomato
- 3 Tablespoons chopped yellow onion
- 5 Tablespoons vegan feta cheese
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- Pinch salt
- Dash pepper
- Put sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, onions, and 1/4 cup vegan feta in mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small separate bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, a pinch of salt, and dash of pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the tomato cucumber salad in the mixing bowl. Combine gently with a spoon until everything is evenly coated. Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Finish with the remaining Tablespoon of vegan feta on top.