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Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad

This Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad is one of those recipes that’s so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing. And it’s incredibly tasty, too.

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The dish reminds me of the Italian panzanella, but the flavors are slightly different. It has the same concept with bread soaked in vegetables and a light dressing.

Closeup of a bowl of Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad.

It’s incredibly easy to make and throw together at the last minute, and the bright flavors of the fresh vegetables and herbs shine through.

This one is one of my favorites. Even my husband who only likes tomatoes if they’re cooked (he’s weird; what can I say?) enjoys this one.

This is a perfect salad for a potluck or dinner party. Need more ideas?

What other veggies can I add to my cucumber tomato salad?

Part of the fun of cooking is creating flavors you love and playing with a base recipe. This one uses tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, and green onion, but you can have fun with your favorites.

If you love green bell peppers, add them! The same holds true for pepperoncini, kalamata olives, and more.

This would taste great with chickpeas (rinse them first if you use canned) to add more protein to make this into more of a main dish than a side. In fact, to make this gluten free, you could sub chickpeas for the pita completely.

Figure out what tastes good to you, and play with this base recipe to make it work for you.

Photo of a wooden salad bowl with cucumber tomato salad inside.

Is this cucumber tomato salad recipe vegan?

It is!

While many Greek and Mediterranean salad recipes add feta cheese, this salad tastes fantastic without it. It contains simply vegetables and herbs, fresh lemon juice for a bright flavor, a bit of olive oil, and the toasted pitas.

What kind of tomatoes should I use?

Depending on what looks best in the store, I use a variety of tomatoes in my Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad. The key is to getting a lot of tomato and not a lot of juice or seeds.

Needless to say, roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes) are my favorite to use. They are easy to seed and contain a lot of tomato flesh relative to seeds and juice.

Grape tomatoes also work well, as do cherry tomatoes. I also sometimes use larger beefsteak tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, but they contain more juice and seeds, so draining becomes even more important.

Whatever you choose, pick fresh tomatoes that tastes good!

Does it matter what kind of cucumber I use?

I love to use an English cucumber because it’s easiest. They tend to be seedless, so you just need to chop it.

However, a “regular” medium cucumber works well, and I often use them. However, make sure you seed them first.

Slice them in half, lengthwise, and run a spoon down the middle to pull out the seeds. It’s easy to do, and then you just chop them.

Do not use a Persian cucumber, however. Those are pickling cucumbers, not for this vegetable salad.

Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh herbs?

Fresh herbs by far taste the best in this Mediterranean cucumber salad. The mint and parsley are not only bright flavors, but they add gorgeous color and texture to the salad.

If you absolutely cannot find fresh mint, you can use dried mint. However, make sure you use only one-third the amount listed in the recipe, just eight teaspoons.

Dried herbs are far more concentrated than their fresh counterparts. Don’t skip the fresh parsley, however.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

While you want to make the salad and let it rest for at least an hour before you serve it – except for the pita – don’t make it more than a day in advance.

The fresh, crisp vegetables get soggy once you dress them. While this will hold for a day without the pita, I don’t recommend keeping it longer than that.

I definitely recommend making and eating this the same day, and be sure to wait to add the toasted pita until just before you serve this refreshing salad.

Overhead shot of a wooden bowl of Greek panzanella salad sitting on concrete.

How to Make Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad with Toasted Pita

If you have time, let your cucumbers and tomatoes drain before you assemble this salad. They contain so much water, and if you skip this step, you end up with soggy pita quicker.

Use a tomato shark to core your tomatoes, then slice them in half lengthwise. Slice them into quarters, which exposes all the seeds and allows you to more easily remove them.

Why remove the seeds? That’s where so much of the liquid comes in, so removing them makes for a better salad.

Once you seed the tomatoes, cut them in half again, then large chop them. Place the tomatoes into a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid as it drains from the veggies.

Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. If you use English cucumbers, you can generally skip this step, as they don’t have seeds the same way.

Slice the cucumbers in half again lengthwise, then chop into bite size pieces, about the same size as what you did for the tomatoes. Add them to the colander.

Sprinkle salt over the colander to help encourage the veggies to release their excess liquid. Most of the salt will go with the liquid, so you don’t end up with super salty veggies.

Let the tomatoes and cucumbers for your Mediterranean toasted pita salad drain for a half hour or more.

Mince your garlic, and place it into a bowl. I place it straight into the bowl I plan to serve this salad in rather than a mixing bowl and dirtying another bowl.

Chop your fresh parsley and mint, and add them to the bowl, as well. Slice the green onion on the bias, and add those, as well. Go ahead and use the white and green part of the onion.

Toast your pita in the oven directly on the racks at 350 degrees or on the grill. This generally takes 5-7 minutes for them to get nice and crispy.

Place the pitas on a cutting board, and chop into bite size pieces. You want these a bit bigger than your cucumber and tomato pieces, but the exact size isn’t critical.

Once the veggies drain, gently shake the colander to release and more liquid. Add them to your bowl with the garlic and herbs.

Stir gently, then add lemon juice and olive oil. Stir again, and do a flavor check.

Add salt and pepper as needed, and stir again. Just before serving, add the pita mix them into the salad.

Serve it immediately, as this is best within 2-3 hours. If you make it in advance, chill the rest of the salad, and just add the pita at the very end.

What will you serve this Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad with?

Closeup of a bowl of Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad.

Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad with Toasted Pita

This Middle Eastern version of a panzanella salad is full of fresh flavors from the fresh veggies and herbs and more. It's a perfect side dish for just about any meal.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Drain Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 3 green onions
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pitas

Instructions

  • Core tomatoes, and slice in half lengthwise. Slice again into quarters, then remove seeds. Slice into eighths, then large chop.
  • Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out all seeds. Slice in half again lengthwise, then chop into bite size pieces.
  • Add tomatoes and cucumber to a colander over a bowl and lightly salt. Shake gently to distribute, then let drain for 30 minutes.
    8 plum tomatoes, 2 cucumbers
  • Mince garlic cloves, and add to a clean bowl. Chop parsley and mint leaves, and add them. Slice green onion thinly on the bias, then add that to the bowl.
    4 cloves garlic, 1 cup fresh parsley, 1/2 cup fresh mint, 3 green onions
  • Place pitas on a grill or on racks in a 350 degree oven, and toast 5-7 minutes until crispy. Cut into large bite size pieces, and set aside to cool.
  • Once veggies drain, shake the colander carefully again to remove as much liquid as possible. Add veggies to the bowl with garlic and herbs, then gently stir.
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil, then stir again. Check for flavor, and add salt and pepper to taste.
    6 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Just before serving, add cooled pita pieces and stir again. This is best eaten within 2-3 hours of adding pita to avoid them getting too soggy.
    3 pitas

Notes

  • This tastes delicious even without the pita, which would then make this naturally gluten free.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Mediterranean salad sitting near a concrete block wall with text simple Mediterranean salad.

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  1. septembermom says:

    Great salad for this time of year! Thanks again Michelle for these recipes. Like that it’s easy.

  2. Brenda says:

    That looks wonderful! All that parsley and mint probably help it to go down easy..

  3. Roxane says:

    Now that sounds like a refreshing salad! I might have to try it this weekend. Mr.H and I are tying to be more healthy 🙂

  4. Tim, Allyson, Emahry, and Jonathan says:

    This salad sound delicious. We’d love to add it to our A Slew of Summer Salads Carnival and have you link to the carnival. Just leave us a comment if you are interested.
    Thanks!

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