Food + Wine

Summer Garden Salad

Making a quick raw vegetable salad in the summertime with whatever was picked from the garden that day is a very common occurrence in my family.  It’s generally tomatoes, cucumbers, sometimes peppers, herbs (usually basil), and then lightly dressed with lemon (sometimes lime), olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sometimes I add some canned tuna to it, sometimes leftover chicken, sometimes it’s a light lunch/snack, sometimes it’s a side to our steak for dinner.  And when we’re garden sitting for my mama, we find ourselves making it even more.

We’re garden sitting for my mama this week.

I’ve turned into a tomato.

Yesterday as I was fixing myself one for a late afternoon snack… tomatoes, cucumber, basil, lime, olive oil, salt pepper… I glanced over to the colander with the fig harvest… I took a bite of my salad, then added a fig to my mouth, and really, really liked it.

I’ve also turned into a fig.

The bright sweetness of the fresh fig, and the texture difference it brought to the bowl was just really lovely.  I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the top and I think that added a nice depth to it all.

(This would also be nice with cheese, but I can’t tolerate the dairy unless I’m guarded with medicine these days, so I try to stay away as much as I can.  But I would go with either a fresh mozzarella (burrata would be amazing), or a chèvre, even something hard and salty like a good parm or pecorino would work!)

After eating, I vowed to make it again today so I could document it and share.  Then as I was gathering my ingredients, I thought I’d add onto it even more and see what happened.

So I added some avocado, and some tarragon.

And it was delightful.


makes 1 extra large salad, or 2 small as a side.  I was ravenous today

In a bowl, add the following…

  • 1 medium yellow tomato, sliced in wedges
  • 1 medium red tomato, sliced in wedges
  • handful sweet 100’s (tiny cherry tomatoes) (note- you can use whatever kind of tomato you have… this is what I had, and just love the color/size combo 😉 )
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chunked (I only peel if the variety has a bitter skin)
  • 6 large fresh figs, halved
  • 1/2 ripe but firm hass avocado, sliced (eh, I may have added the other half after this picture.  I may be incredibly full now and regretting such decision)
  • few leaves of fresh basil, thinly sliced or torn
  • few leaves of fresh tarragon, thinly sliced or torn

Toss together.


  • the juice of 1 juicy lemon or lime (both work great!)
  • lots of pinches of flaky sea salt or kosher, can taste to adjust later.
  • lots of fresh cracked black pepper


  • a couple splashes of extra virgin olive oil

Toss again.

Finish with…

  • a splash of good aged balsamic vinegar

Eat, smile, make again tomorrow.

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