Got extra tomatoes lying around? Make this Clean Keto Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad!
I grew up in a Ukrainian household, and we would eat this salad a lot. The cucumber tomato salad was such a classic dish that my mom would make it repeatedly.
To be frank, I got sick of it. It became a “not that again” type of thing. I would see it at every single party, wedding, holiday; you name it. For that reason, I got to the point where I didn’t even eat it anymore because it was so dull.
I know, I am not up selling this clean keto salad to you now but bear with me. I grew up, started cooking, and made a few tweaks to it to make a version that I enjoy.
Exploring the Delights of Ukrainian Cuisine: Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad
Ukrainian cuisine, rich in history and diversity, is filled with hearty, wholesome dishes that are deeply rooted in local ingredients and traditions. Today, we are focusing on a staple Ukrainian summer salad that features three key ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
Known for its freshness, simplicity, and vibrant flavors, this salad perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Ukrainian summer meals. Let’s dive into this refreshing dish and discover why it has been a favorite for generations.
A Glimpse into Ukrainian Salad Culture
Salads in Ukraine are typically served as an accompaniment to main dishes, often providing a refreshing counterbalance to heavier, heartier foods. The tomato, cucumber, and onion salad, in particular, is a classic dish that graces tables across the country, especially during the warm summer months when these vegetables are at their peak.
The Key Ingredients: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Onions
As the name suggests, the star ingredients of this salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
- Tomatoes: Choose ripe, juicy tomatoes for this salad. They provide a sweet, slightly tangy flavor and a beautiful red color that makes the salad visually appealing.
- Cucumbers: Crisp and refreshing, cucumbers add a delightful crunch to the salad. In Ukraine, small, firm cucumbers are often preferred for their superior taste and texture.
- Onions: Onions, typically red or white, add a punch of flavor to the salad. They’re often thinly sliced or chopped and can be soaked in cold water before adding to the salad to reduce their pungency.
The Dressing: Simple yet Flavorful
The dressing for this salad is usually a simple mixture of sunflower oil (a staple in Ukrainian kitchens), vinegar, salt, and pepper. Some variations may include lemon juice, fresh herbs like dill or parsley, or a touch of sugar to balance the acidity. The key is to keep it simple and let the fresh, natural flavors of the vegetables shine through.
The Recipe: Ukrainian Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad
Here is a basic recipe for this delightful salad:
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh dill or parsley for garnish (optional)
- Start by washing the tomatoes and cucumber. Cut the tomatoes into wedges or slices, and slice the cucumber thinly.
- Peel and thinly slice the onion. If desired, soak the slices in cold water for about 10 minutes to reduce their bite, then drain.
- In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables, then gently toss to combine.
- If desired, garnish with fresh dill or parsley before serving.
This salad is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be refrigerated for a few hours before serving if needed.
The Ukrainian tomato, cucumber, and onion salad is a testament to the beauty of simplicity. With just a few fresh ingredients and a straightforward dressing, this dish offers a burst of refreshing flavors, making it the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal. Enjoy the taste of Ukrainian tradition with this delightful salad!
is this salad keto?
Yes, this Ukrainian Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad can easily be incorporated into a ketogenic or low-carb diet. The main ingredients — tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions — are all low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and suitable for a keto diet.
However, as with all things related to specific dietary needs, portions, and specific ingredient amounts matter. While these vegetables are low in carbs, they do contain some level of carbs.
Here’s a brief look at the carb content of the salad’s key ingredients:
- Tomatoes: A medium tomato (about 123 grams) has about 4.8 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fiber, resulting in a net carb count of 3.3 grams.
- Cucumbers: Half a cup of sliced cucumber (about 52 grams) contains around 2 grams of carbs and 0.3 grams of fiber, yielding a net carb count of 1.7 grams.
- Onions: Onions are slightly higher in carbs. A half-cup of chopped onions (about 80 grams) has about 8 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fiber, resulting in a net carb count of 6.5 grams.
Remember that the dressing’s ingredients also count toward the total carb content. Sunflower oil and vinegar contain negligible or zero carbs, but if you add any sugar or sweeteners to the dressing, remember to account for that in your carb count.
In conclusion, while this salad can fit into a keto diet, the exact carb count will depend on portion sizes and the specific quantities of each ingredient used. As always, it’s important to tailor your food choices to your individual dietary needs and goals.
Most importantly, this version is more keto-friendly because of the oil I use and the added benefit of Vitamin b12 from the nutritional yeast.
Adding Apple cider vinegar to the dressing has a long list of health benefits all of which I will discuss in a later post on my daily routine of drinking it.
Another advantage of this salad is that it is budget-friendly, especially during the summer when the tomato harvest comes in and you don’t know what to do with all those tomatoes.
Even more, this easy dish is gluten-free, vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, and nut-free! That sounds like a win-win to me.
Some people like to add garlic in their version which is fine, but I think the onion is good enough. You don’t want to kill too many people with your breath after eating this.
How you slice the tomatoes and cucumber is a personal preference. I like more substantial pieces of vegetables because it tends to get less mushy.
Furthermore, you can adjust the amount of vinegar you use. I love vinegar, so I always add more in the end anyway. Salt is also crucial to making the flavors balanced. Don’t skimp out on the salt; no one likes their food bland and tasteless.
Finally, using chopped scallion is an optional garnish. Yay, more onion!
Pair this with some Tequila Lime Chicken and you have a party!!
Tips and Tricks for Keto Tomato, Cucumber Onion Salad
Making a keto-friendly Ukrainian Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad can be an easy and delightful experience.
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure that you get the most out of this refreshing dish while maintaining your low-carb lifestyle:
- Choose Fresh Ingredients: This salad shines with the freshness of its ingredients. Choose ripe but firm tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and fresh onions for the best taste and texture.
- Watch Your Portions: While tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions are low in carbs, they do contain some. Keep an eye on your portions, especially with onions, which have a slightly higher carb content.
- Soak Your Onions: If you find the flavor of raw onions too strong, try soaking the sliced onions in cold water for about 10 minutes before adding them to the salad. This helps to mellow their bite.
- Use Keto-Friendly Dressing: Stick to a simple dressing of oil and vinegar, which are virtually carb-free. Avoid adding sugar. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, consider using a keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or erythritol, but remember to count these in your daily carb intake.
- Add Herbs for Extra Flavor: Fresh herbs like dill or parsley not only add a pop of color but also give an additional flavor boost to the salad. They’re also a great way to enjoy more variety on a keto diet.
- Include Fats: The keto diet is high in healthy fats. Consider adding some sliced avocado or a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese to the salad to increase its fat content.
- Enjoy Fresh: This salad is best enjoyed fresh. However, if you need to store it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and consume it within a day to ensure the vegetables remain crisp.
Remember, the key to a successful keto diet is personalization. Feel free to adjust the ingredients and portions in this salad to meet your taste preference and dietary needs. Enjoy this refreshing Ukrainian salad as part of your keto journey!
what should I serve with this salad?
Pairing your Ukrainian Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad with a protein-rich dish is a great way to create a balanced and satisfying meal. Here are some keto-friendly protein dishes that would complement this salad beautifully:
- Grilled Chicken: A simply grilled chicken breast, thigh, or drumstick seasoned with herbs and spices can be a lean, protein-packed option. The smoky flavor of the grilled chicken pairs wonderfully with the freshness of the salad.
- Pan-Seared Salmon: Rich in healthy fats and protein, salmon can be quickly seared on the stovetop with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. The richness of the salmon will be a nice contrast to the light, crisp salad.
- Steak: A nicely grilled or pan-seared steak can be an indulgent pairing. Choose fattier cuts like rib-eye or sirloin for a keto-friendly option.
- Shrimp Skewers: Shrimp are low in carbs and high in protein, making them a great choice for a keto diet. Thread them onto skewers for grilling or sautéing. Their slightly sweet flavor will complement the tangy salad.
- Pork Chops: Grilled, baked, or pan-fried, pork chops can be a filling and tasty addition to your meal. Marinate them for added flavor, and aim for a good balance of lean meat and fat.
- Egg Salad: For a lighter protein option, consider an egg salad made with hard-boiled eggs and a keto-friendly mayo dressing.
- Tofu or Tempeh: For those following a plant-based diet, grilled or sautéed tofu or tempeh can provide a good source of protein. Marinate them for extra flavor.
- Roasted Turkey: Slices of roasted turkey can be a lean and flavorful protein option.
Remember, the key to a satisfying keto meal is balancing your macros. Pairing your salad with a protein source and possibly an extra source of healthy fats (like avocado or a drizzle of olive oil) can help keep you satiated and on track with your keto lifestyle. Enjoy mixing and matching these protein options with your salad for a variety of tasty meals!
How many carbs are in this Keto Tomato, Cucumber Onion salad?
The carb count in a keto-friendly Ukrainian Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad will depend on the specific quantities of the ingredients used. However, as a general guide, here’s a rough estimate based on the recipe provided earlier:
- Tomatoes: Two large tomatoes (about 246 grams) have about 9.6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, resulting in a net carb count of 6.6 grams.
- Cucumber: One medium cucumber (about 200 grams) contains around 7.6 grams of carbs and 2.8 grams of fiber, yielding a net carb count of 4.8 grams.
- Onion: One small onion (about 70 grams) has about 9 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fiber, resulting in a net carb count of 7.5 grams.
So, for the entire salad (without considering any additional ingredients like herbs or dressing), you’re looking at approximately 18.9 grams of net carbs.
Assuming this salad yields about 4 servings, you’d have about 4.7 grams of net carbs per serving. This fits well within the daily carb limit of a typical keto diet, which is usually around 20-50 grams of net carbs per day.
Remember, though, that these numbers are approximate and can vary based on the exact size and variety of your produce.
Additionally, any changes to the recipe or additional ingredients should be accounted for in the total carb count. Always tailor your meals to suit your individual dietary needs and goals.
So next time you have a bunch of tomatoes you don’t know what to do with, make this salad and tag me in your photos! @lesyaholzapfel Enjoy!
More Keto Recipe to try: