Lettuce, Tomato and Cucumber Salad Makes Its Own Dressing

Go ahead and tear up all that nice, crisp lettuce straight from the garden or farmer’s market or produce section of the grocery store. Piles of it, perhaps a mix of green and red lettuces and other greens if you like them like arugula, sprouts, spinach, baby kale. We are in lettuce heaven right now with Buttercrunch, Deer Tongue, and Olga Romaine heading up beautifully. Soon Flashy Green Lettuce, Merlot, and Red Carpet Mix and more, all our favorite varieties to grow.

With luck, the lettuce will continue right on with our Penobscot-Bay-cooled nights so that even when the tomatoes do ripen, usually in August, we will still have lettuce to go with them. Meanwhile, I buy my tomatoes where I can find them. With cucumber plants fruiting like crazy, there are plenty of those, too.

Dice the tomato and cucumber and put them in a small bowl all by themselves. Lightly salt them, put about a spoon-sized blob of mayonnaise in the bowl, give a quick stir, and set aside.

Meanwhile prepare your lettuce. The tomato and cucumber yield up their juices and make a flavorful dressing. For a salad for eight of us I used one tomato and half a slicing cucumber. When you are ready to serve, dump the tomato and cucumber mixture into the lettuce and toss the salad. That’s it.

So suppose you don’t want to use mayo, though with this method you need hardly any. Add a mere shake or two of red wine vinegar and a scant tablespoon of olive oil to the tomatoes and cucumbers which have been salted and peppered.

I didn’t add any member of the onion family to my salad though of course a little red onion is good, or mild white onion, or chopped scallions.

If someone asks you about where you got the terrific salad dressing, just smile beatifically, and tell them the salad made its own dressing.

Lettuce with Tomato and Cucumber Dressing
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ slicing cucumber
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small spoonful mayonnaise
  • 1 head of lettuce
  1. Dice the tomato and cucumber both into small cubes, a put into a small bowl.
  2. Add sprinkle of salt and pepper, stir, then add the mayonnaise and stir again. Set aside.
  3. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and put into salad bowl.
  4. At serving time, distribute the tomato and cucumber with their juices over the lettuce and toss.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.