Have you ever had a perfect salad? I’ve had dozens upon dozens of excellent salads, but I can honestly say that I’ve only ever had two or three salads that I would call perfect. Each one of those instances had the same two things in common as well. In order to make a perfect salad, you need both an excellent mix of fresh veggies and an out of this world good salad dressing as well.
Today I’m going to be sharing what will surely go down as a hall-of-fame worthy salad recipe. It makes a cucumber tomato salad with a 3-ingredient avocado salad dressing that will absolutely blow your mind. It offers up a winning combination of essential vitamins and minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants, heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, and so much more.
The salad itself is made with a fantastic mix of fresh vegetables and herbs including quite a few greens to support optimal health. (1) You’ll be using avocado, tomato, cucumber, fresh dill, and fresh parsley for this particular salad recipe. As you can probably guess from quickly glancing at the list of ingredients, the salad tastes amazing.
More importantly though, each and every one of the ingredients used in the salad offers up some great health benefits as well.
Not only is avocado an excellent source of high quality healthy fats, but it also provides a fair amount of dietary fiber and antioxidants as well, with evidence suggesting that daily avocado consumption may help to reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases. (2) Speaking of antioxidants, you’ll also be getting plenty more thanks to the tomato (3), cucumber (4), and fresh herbs (5) used.
All on its own, the salad would be one enjoyable meal indeed. But when you add in the homemade salad dressing as well? Now we’re entering perfection territory. It’s super easy to make as well, requiring only a single ripe avocado, a bit of lemon juice, garlic powder, and olive oil (as always, aim for extra virgin olive oil).
The avocado blends unbelievably well with the other ingredients to make a thick and creamy dressing that could very well become your ‘go to’ salad dressing after just one bite. On the other hand, if you’re not totally sold on the dressing, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve tried out quite a few incredible homemade salad dressing recipes that I’ve found all over the web. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Classic Creamy Italian Salad Dressing (The Busy Baker)
- Healthy Honey Mustard Dressing (Cookie + Kate)
- Lemon Juice Salad Recipe (Healthy Seasonal Recipes)
- Low Carb Keto Ranch Dressing (Wholesome Yum)
- Cobb Salad Dressing Recipe (Low Carb Maven)
As far as making this particular cucumber tomato salad and homemade dressing recipe goes, it couldn’t be any easier. All you have to do for the dressing is mash your avocado flesh with a fork, and then mix in the remaining ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all of your veggies and herbs to make the salad. Finally, pour your dressing over the top and toss to coat.
On a final note, before we wrap things up with this recipe, I thought it might be helpful to answer a few of the most common questions that I’ve seen pop up in regards to making your own salads and homemade dressings. So without further ado, let’s dive right in:
The Best Vegetables to Use When Making a Homemade Salad
Like I mentioned before, there are two key components required to make the perfect salad: your choice of salad ingredients and the type of dressing that you use. While this particular recipe uses a terrific blend of veggies and herbs, I get quite a few questions from people who are curious about mixing and matching different types of vegetables to make their own custom salad recipes.
With that in mind, I always offer the same recommendations every time I get this question:
- Dark Leafy Greens – You’re definitely going to want to make sure you’re using plenty of dark leafy greens (think kale, spinach, arugula, etc). Not only do they provide you with a ton of essential vitamins and minerals, but they’re jam packed full of antioxidants as well.
- Cruciferous Vegetables – Aside from leafy greens, it’s also a good idea to include a cruciferous veggie or two when making your salad. Good examples to use are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower.
- Carrots – Not only can carrots add a ton of flavor to your salads, but they’re another excellent source of essential nutrients, offering plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, and essential minerals like potassium, sodium, iron, and magnesium.
- Beets – Whenever I’m looking to add a bit of color to my salads, carrots and beets are my two go-to choices. In addition to their excellent nutrient profile, beets are also fantastic for improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and increasing stamina and endurance during exercise. (6)
If you stick with the above guidelines (while maybe adding in a serving or two of fresh fruit and/or culinary herbs), you’ll have more than covered all of your nutritional bases for your salads.
What’s the Deal With the Different Types of Dietary Fats?
It still amazes me how much confusion there is surrounding dietary fats. Quite a lot of people still aren’t sure about the differences between monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.
The short version is that there are definitely both ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats. Once upon a time, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids were considered the ‘good’ fats, while saturated and trans fats were widely regarded as the ‘bad’ fats. Not much has changed except for the fact that saturated fats aren’t as demonized as they once were (although there are still tons of outdated and bad information surrounding them).
Here’s a brief breakdown for each type of dietary fat:
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids – Typically found in nuts, oils, and avocado. This type of fatty acid has quite a few benefits for your heart health such as lowering blood pressure and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids – Typically found in plant-based foods and oils. Studies have found that this type of fat can also help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by improving your overall blood cholesterol levels.
- Saturated Fatty Acids – Typically found in animal meats and dairy products. At one point considered to be bad for human health, recent advancements in nutritional science have indicated that both saturated fats and dietary cholesterol are both essential building blocks for testosterone.
- Trans Fatty Acids – Typically produced from oils through a process known as partial hydrogenation. This type of fatty acid has a variety of harmful effects on human health, such as increasing total blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
In general, a balanced diet that includes a good mix of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats will be optimal for most people. It’s recommended for everyone to avoid trans fats as much as you reasonably can.
Add Protein to Your Salads
Salads are generally a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants thanks to their leafy green content. They’re quite often a good source of healthy fats as well, especially when you use ingredients like avocado in the salad itself or olive oil for your dressing. This cucumber tomato salad recipe is a perfect example of that.
However, this recipe is admittedly lacking in protein. If you’re interested in adding more protein to your salads, here are my usual go to recommendations for quality protein:
- Grilled chicken breast slices, seafood, or beef
- Nuts like walnuts, almonds, or cashews
- Beans, chickpeas, or other types of legumes
More Healthy Avocado Recipe Substitutes:
How to Make the Best Avocado Egg Salad (Without Mayo!)
Easy Avocado Ice Cream Recipe (No Eggs, Dairy or Added Sugar)
The Best Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe
Heart-Healthy Homemade Avocado Oil Mayo
Avocado Alfredo Zucchini Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Bacon
Cucumber Tomato Salad with 3-Ingredient Avocado Salad Dressing
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
For the salad:
1 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and chopped
1 ½ pound ripe tomato, cut into wedges
1 pound cucumber, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
For the salad dressing:
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, black pepper to taste
- To make the salad dressing, mash the avocado flesh with a fork.
- Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, olive oil and salt and black pepper to taste and mix to combine.
- In a large bowl combine the tomato, cucumber, chopped avocado, dill and parsley.
- Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately.