Lebanese Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Mint

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One of the best things about cucumber and tomato salad with mint is the juice that waits in the bottom of the bowl, ready to be sopped up with thin pita or flatbread. Make the salad an hour or so in advance to let the flavors meld.

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There are many great Lebanese recipes for salads, and I am not one to play favorites typically. But then there are moments like yesterday, when my Uncle Dick commented on my post about Lebanese cucumbers, remembering the tomato, cucumber and sweet onion salads his father, my Jido, used to make.

Good morning sweetheart, the small, fuzzy cuke you refer to is called “mintha.” That was also grown by your Jido Sam Abood. His tomato, cucumber and onion salads were too delicious to describe adequately. Of course, fresh mint (na na) and lots of smashed garlic (thume) were mixed in as well as olive oil, salt, pepper and topped off with fresh lemon. I’m still getting in as many of these in as I can before the season here ends for these fresh ingredients. I’m sending all of you and yours all my love and wishes for continued good health. Uncle Dick

Leave it to one of the Abood brothers, sons of Sam, to make your mouth water and send you straight to the kitchen. Of course this is the very favorite Lebanese salad!

I just wish we could all have a bushel of the mintha, the fuzzy Lebanese cukes that hardly anyone seems to grow anymore. The seeds are elusive, which makes me want to open an online store for all seeds and cuttings that we need for our Lebanese gardens: the mintha, the coosa, the wild grape leaf vines.

Collect (or rather, hoard) your ingredients immediately. There is no time to waste with the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, at least not here in Michigan.

And know that, like my Uncle Dick, I’m sending all of you and yours all my love and wishes for continued good health!


Cucumber Tomato Salad with mint in a round dish with hands holding it
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5 from 3 votes

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Mint

One of the best things about this salad is the juice that waits in the bottom of the bowl, ready to be sopped up with thin pita or flatbread. Make the salad an hour or so in advance to let the flavors meld.
Prep: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 6 5-inch cucumbers, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 beefsteak or a variety of tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, green center sprout removed, minced
  • 15 leaves fresh mint, torn or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crushed dried mint
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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Instructions 

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and onion. Top with the garlic, fresh and dried mint, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, stirring well to coat the vegetables evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Eat the salad up and then make another, soon.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
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28 Comments

  1. TRACY says:

    Up until today, I have never come across a true Lebanese cooking blog. And I have never seen someone write the name Jido, EVER! My heart is so warmed right now….

    A small history of my family…

    In 1910, my Sito and Jido journeyed from Lebanon to the United States with 10 children in tow…they went through Ellis Island and settled in the tenements of Lawrence, Mass. It was a two bedroom apartment on the third floor and every morning before my Uncle Jack went to work opening bridges for boats to pass through, he would go down into the basement to gather coal and bring it back up to the third floor and put it into this HUGE oven/stove and restoke the coals from the day before. My Dad was the last to be born but not in Lebanon, here in the USA. As with large families, my Auntie Alice practically raised my Dad along with my Uncle Jack…the two oldest children of the family.

    My Dad in his adult years was the very first person to open a delicatessen in Honolulu, HI, in 1975 where he introduced true Lebanese and Middle Eastern food to the islands – his deli was called The Middle East Delicatessen & Bakery and he baked Pita Bread right on site! Those were the best years of my life…learning from him how to make such wonderful foods and educating all of the customers on the fine herbs, spices, condiments, dishes, salads, treats that no one ever knew the explosion of joy their mouths awaited. Even before Stacey’s Pita Chips was ever before on the market, my Dad was selling them by the bags in his deli.

    Since then, my Dad has passed but was always called Jido by my three children and they absolutely adored him! It was because of Jido my eldest son is now a professional, successful executive chef – he learned the art of flavors and cooking from his Jido.

    I am so happy to have found your site and look forward to being on here for a long, long time!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Well this is just so dear and special. Thank you for sharing, Tracy, and I send warmest regards to your wonderful family. Please keep in touch!

  2. Kimber says:

    Just wondering if leftovers can be refrigerated.
    Seems like it might ruin the taste though.
    Beautiful salad, I can’t eat it all myself though !!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Kimber–thanks for asking–tomatoes don’t really like to be refrigerated in general, and especially after they’ve been sliced and dressed. So it won’t taste as good as the first round but certainly worth saving if you have lots left. You could make a smaller version as well if this is too much.

  3. Marjann says:

    Thanks, but it’s not Lebanese! It’s called Shirazi salad, and it’s originally Iranian.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      We all love it so much we want to claim it as our own, don’t we!

  4. Aida says:

    Can you eat their flower?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Which flower are you referring to here?!

  5. Jeanniejev says:

    Hi Maureen ….The best Lebenese salad I have eaten is in a small restaurant in The Gambia….The owner of the restaurant is Lebonese…He said it was his Mothers recipe….He (ALI) said, he was going to give me the recipe to take back to England… He never got round to it and unfortunatly I won’t be going back to The Gambia…. I will try yours with happy memories…..In case anyone reads this and does go to The Gambia…(Kololi area ) The restaurant is ‘The Paradiso’…wonderful…………I think the secret in a Lebonese salad are the lemons and olive oil………(not exactly growing in abundance in England but available in the supermarkets!!! )…..

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Agree, lemon is the key! Along with fresh, clean produce and MINT! Thank you—

  6. plasterer bristol says:

    This sounds really delicious and something new to try. Thank you for sharing this.

    Simon

  7. Ali says:

    Hi Maureen!

    I’ve read your blog voraciously for years, but don’t think I’ve ever commented before, and now I need your knowledge . . .

    Super Bowl Sunday has always been Lebanese Dinner Day in our family. Now that I’m on my own, I’ve got the kibby footballs warming in the oven, olives in our prettiest little bowls, and friends on the way over, but a pita emergency has caused me to pull fattoush off the menu. “I’ll just turn it into a shepherd salad,” I reassured my roommate, who immediately took issue with the name. (I don’t ask . . . she’s an otherwise spectacular roomie.)

    My family lost the language two generations ago–all we have left are a few names here and there. What would the Lebanese word or phrase for “shepherd salad” be?

    Thank you for your beautiful images, your mouth-watering recipes, and your wonderful writing!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Ali, and thank you! I’m intrigued about your “shepherd salad” title and don’t have the Arabic for that offhand. I will ask around the family and see if anyone knows of this but it’s not something we have called the cucumber tomato salad here. Your party sounds wonderful!

  8. Richard Abood says:

    Sweetheart, I’m so happy you’ve been so effective in spreading your infectious message regarding our Lebanese Summer Salad. Of course there are many variations of it. Neverthrless, prepared with loving care, it will always hit the spot.
    We’re still enjoying the memory of your beautiful wedding ceromony and celebration with Danny. It would be an understatement to repeat that all of us who love you so much continue to wish you long years of good health, happiness and Blessings.
    Jennifer and I send you and Danny our love and best wishes. Uncle Dick

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Many, many thanks Uncle Dick. We love you!

  9. Nadia says:

    This salad was delicious!! I am so happy that I have discovered your site. So far, I have made the hummus with the yogurt and this salad, and both have been absolutely delicious and have received rave reviews from my picky Lebanese husband! Looking forward to trying many many more of these recipes. Thank you so much Maureen!!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      How great Nadia! I’m so proud and pleased to hear that!

  10. Ghassan Chehab says:

    Green salad is my favorite plate, sometimes with Italian or French dressing !
    though my best choice is with some Balsamic grape vinegar & Grenadine Molasses.
    Good?

  11. Michelle Deiter says:

    Great picture of you ! am going to make this salad this week …

  12. Ginny Abood Baldini says:

    If you ever find anywhere where I could buy wild grape vines, please let me know or post on your blog. What I wouldn’t give to plant them in my yard. Love your recipes!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thanks Ginny–I will shout it from the rooftops!

  13. Scotia says:

    That salad is on the menu for Saturday. It looks really good. I have some cherry tomatoes (Sungold and Sweet 1,000) maturing and some Littl’ Munchers (which is the closest I can get to Persian cuks) in the garden that will make this salad Saturday night. It really looks lovely.

  14. Roger Toomey says:

    I’m all for the Lebanese/Syrian/East Mediterranean seed store or exchange. Wish I could locate some of those things that I didn’t even think about as a child but were lost when my generation left home thinking our parents would live and garden forever. Without that older generation carefully putting seeds on paper towels on the window sill to dry and then putting them in a recycled envelope (whatever bill had just been paid) and then in a mouse proof can (ours was an old cream can that was too small for the cream our cows produced each week). all of that tradition vanished in just a few years.

    Having a hobby in genealogy I often imagine those who packet their bags and got on a ship. Their mothers or Aunts handing them an envelope with seeds and saying “Take these and when you eat you will remember me and your homeland.”

    I am reminded of so much when Maureen and the posters to her blog write of their memories. So many times I’m hit with, Yea, we did that too, or Yea that’s my Grandmother or Aunt too.

  15. Elizabeth Asher says:

    When Fred was dating Pat he use to walk over from Kearney college and come through our back yard where my Mother had her garden. One day he picked a little cucumber and started eating it. My Mother happened to see him out the window. She went running out to tell him to stop. She grew up believing you had to peel cucumbers and soak them in salted water before them could be eaten or you would get really sick. We learned a new way of eating cucumbers although my Mother always peeled them ever after that..

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      What a great story Betty! Thank you!

  16. Diane Nassir says:

    Lebanese salad-the best!

  17. Judy says:

    When you say spearmint leaves are you talking about nana? It’s called that here too. If you’re going to stir everything in why do you put the veggies in separately. It’s funny. An arab salad is big pieces and an israeli salad is tiny little pieces. Strange don’t you think?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Judy–I put the veggies in first because I like them to catch all of the dressing ingredients as I add them! Yes, that’s na’na!