This Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing is delicious but takes only minutes to make. Bonus: it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
A few years ago, my family got stuck in Chicago overnight after missing our connection when we were flying to Mexico for vacation.
Since we didn't have our winter jackets with us, and it was winter in Chicago, we were confined to our hotel. This meant ordering food to our hotel for dinner.
We ordered from a Shawarma place, and our meals came with something called Jerusalem salad. We had never heard of Jerusalem salad before, and the app we ordered from didn't provide a description.
When it arrived, Mr. Dreamboat and I looked at each other skeptically. The salad was chopped tomatoes and cucumber swimming in what initially appeared to be mayonnaise, which neither of us loves in a salad.
When we tried the salad, we were both pleasantly surprised. In fact, we both loved it! It turned out that the dressing was a garlicky tahini dressing, and it was delicious.
Since that first time trying the salad, I have seen it on restaurant menus only once or twice in the Chicago area only. However, I recently learned that it may also be called Israeli salad, but some versions don't include a tahini dressing.
Although I don't remember exactly what was in that salad I had in the hotel 5 years ago, I created my own version. I think it's similar, but the original version may also have included onions. I decided to leave them out as I'm not a huge fan of raw onions. If you decide to add onions to your own version, opt for red onions.
How to make Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing:
This mouthwatering salad is exceptionally easy to make. It involves chopping only 3 different vegetables, and the ingredient list to make the dressing is short.
While the vegetables can be chopped in advance of mixing up the salad if needed, it's best to mix the dressing in just before serving as the salad can get a little watery if it's dressed too early.
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing Ingredients:
- Lemon juice: fresh is ideal, but bottled lemon juice works just fine as well.
- Olive oil
- Tahini: available in the International aisle of well-stocked grocery stores, in Middle Eastern markets, or online.
- kosher salt
- Cayenne: You just need a pinch, and it's optional to add a little heat if you like. Don't buy it just for this recipe if you don't already have some.
- Tomatoes: make sure to remove the cores and seeds before chopping to avoid a watery salad.
- English cucumber: if you have garden cucumbers instead, peel them if the peel is tough, and remove the seeds before chopping.
- Sumac: used mostly as an optional garnish, but it does add a nice lemony flavor. Don't go out of your way to buy it just for this recipe if you don't already have it.
Want more recipes with Tahini?
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing Nutrition Notes:
Serve this delicious salad with grilled meat or fish and pita bread, roasted potatoes, or cooked rice or grains to make a complete meal.
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan as written.
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Whisk together ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup tahini, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, minced garlic, and pinch cayenne, (if using) in a large bowl. Note that it will be thin at first, then quickly become very thick with continued whisking. Also note that it will taste very salty - it will be be just the right amount of seasoning for the unseasoned vegetables.
- Add the diced tomatoes, cucumber, and ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley to the bowl with the dressing and toss until well mixed. Garnish with sumac and/or additional parsley if desired. Best if eaten immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Note that the salad will become more watery over time, but it will still taste great.