Tomato Cucumber Salad (Saratov)

My mom has made this salad for us in the summer for as long as I can remember.   My German Grandpa Alex, who came home each day from work (he walked!) and headed straight to tend his back-yard garden, called this salad “Saratuv”. And instead of making it with cucumbers, he made it with fresh dill pickles, chunked and tossed into the salad.  You may think that’s odd, but I challenge you to try it sometime instead of cucumbers.  It’s wonderful.  It also makes me remember sitting down to dinner at our cabin in Northern Michigan for “dinner”.

Dinner to my Grandpa was at lunchtime. Often we had our big meal for lunch.  But for our evening meal or what most people call dinner, we had cold cuts, and a variety of cheeses sliced up on a platter along with summer fruits of melon and berries.  Grandpa Alex was also responsible for my horrible habit of eating fresh-from-the-garden green onions dipped in a little pile of salt, which made my breath smell for days.

He also served this salad.

I crave this salad during the hot summer now.  While, I don’t have it with my Grandpa or my Mom’s pickles, it’s especially wonderful with home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers and so refreshing on a hot summer day.

Start by making the dressing in the bottom of a medium serving bowl.

As the basis for this dressing, I used white balsamic vinegar, which is a sweet lighter version of red balsamic vinegar.  If you can’t find it, you can certainly substitute apple cider, plain ol’ white, or even white wine vinegar, but you may need to add a little more sugar, as balsamic is known for its sweetness.

Add 1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Whisk this together and then start drizzling in about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Most people like to use a ratio of more olive oil to their vinegar, but I don’t.  If you want your salad less-vinegary, then add a bit more.  It’s all about personal taste.

Because my herb garden is overflowing, I also chopped up a tablespoon each of fresh chives and basil, because to me, tomatoes beg for the bold and wonderful partner of basil in the summer.

Now chop up 2 good-size ripe tomatoes and also 2 cucumbers.  Also mince finely 1/4 of a white onion.  I used Vidalia, and I urge you to find one right now as they’re in season.  You can substitute red onion or even some chopped green onion if necessary.  This is really a versatile salad.

Dump your veggies right on top of your dressing.  Take a large spoon and mix it all up, making sure to coat all your veggies with the yummy dressing.


Let it rest in the refrigerator, if you can stand to wait (I usually can’t) for thirty minutes or so to let the dressing marry with the vegetables.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in the summer.  I don’t care about anything warm, like meat or potatoes.

Just give me this salad, and I’ll be cool and happy and content.

Katie’s Printable Recipe – Tomato Cucumber Salad


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2 Comments

Filed under Soups and Salads

2 responses to “Tomato Cucumber Salad (Saratov)

  1. YUMMY!!! Right up my diet alley….

  2. Nanny

    Wow, that looks good! Now you’ll have to get a gallon glass jar and make a gallon of those yummy dill pickles. They are so easy to make — takes maybe 15 minutes! Love you — Mom

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