Eat Well Jul. 5. 2013

Cucumber Salad with Citrus Dill Dressing

Jul. 5. 2013
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A refreshingly light salad with cucumber, tomato, and red onion that makes a great side or a meal.

Cucumber salad was a classic summer salad we’d always have prepared in our home growing up, filled with cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. It’s a perfect display of eating local and seasonally when eating from your own garden or from your neighbors (farmers, CSA’s, etc.). Both cucumbers and tomatoes are at their prime  in the summer months generally starting around June. So let’s take full advantage of their flavor and more importantly their nutrient content at this time with one of my favorites!

When I was younger, we’d normally eat this Cucumber Salad with Italian dressing either store bought or made with the dried seasoning packets and olive oil. I wanted to recreate this summer comfort food of mine with a healthier twist (sans processed/prepared salad dressings from the store). This Citrus Dill Dressing is a perfect counterpart to the crisp cool cucumbers, juicy sweet tomatoes, and zesty red onion. This dressing can also be used with regular salads, a potato salad (German style, vinegar and oil based), or as a dip for your favorite vegetables.

Simple salad to make (check), delicious to eat (check), fantastic health benefits (check!). The combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and garlic combined contain anti-cancer benefits (and herehere, and here), anti-inflammatory (and here), immune health, antimicrobial propertiesbone health (and here), and cardiovascular health benefits (and here).


Nutrient breakdown of Cucumber Salad

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B1, B3, B5, B6, folate
  • Molybdenum
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Choline
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients from tomatoes} flavonones, flavonols, glycosides, hydroxycinnamic acids, and carotenoids.
    • Carotenoids } lycopene (from the tomatoes), beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
  • Phytonutrients from cucumbers} triterpenes, lignans, and flavonoids.


  • Cheese// feta, goat cheese, blue cheese, etc.
  • Nuts// walnuts, sliced almond, cashews
  • Seeds// sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pine nuts
  • Proteins// beans, tempeh, chicken, fish, etc.


  • Both tomatoes and cucumbers are on the “Dirty Dozen” list, which means these may have high pesticide residue (which should be avoided!), therefore buying these organic is the way to go!
  • This dish gets better with time. As it marinates in the refrigerator the flavors become more intense.

Check this great visual chart of when produce is in season. What is your favorite summer vegetable salad? Do you like the combination of cucumbers and tomatoes? Share below, I love hearing!

xo McKel


The Recipe




2 cups organic cucumber, cubed into bite size

1 cup organic cherry tomato, sliced in half

1/4 cup red onion, diced

For the citrus dill dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil, extra virgin

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I prefer Bragg’s)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon zest

Juice of 1 orange + 1 tablespoon zest

1 tablespoon dill, fresh (if using dried, to taste)

2 teaspoon sea salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Simply combine all chopped/cubed/diced vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
  2. After making the Citrus Dill Dressing, pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well until coated.
  3. Keep in the refrigerator until serving (I like mine to be a little more at room temperature just before serving).
  4. Enjoy!

For the dressing:

  1. Simply whisk all ingredients together until well mixed.
  2. Store in air tight container when not in use.
  3. Dress with any salads, especially Cucumber Salad.
  4. Enjoy!

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