Appalachia Appalachian Food

The Easiest Salad

easy summer salad

Come summer, you can count on Granny having a simple salad of cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes in her frig or on the table if you’re sitting down to eat.

A few years back I asked Granny who taught her to make the summertime salad.

There were eleven children in Granny’s family and nine lived to adulthood. Granny was the third youngest of the family. By the time she came along some of her older siblings had moved out, married, and had children of their own.

Granny used to spend the summer with her sister Dorothy in Gastonia. She babysat her nephews and helped out around the house.

Dorothy served the simple salad for supper almost every day. Granny said she just loved it-so she asked her sister where she learned to make it? Dorothy surprised her by saying “Why mother made that for us all the time when we were little. Don’t she make it for you and the rest of the bunch at home?”

For whatever reason, their mother Gazzie had quit making the salad by the time Granny came along, but thanks to Dorothy the simple recipe survived and was passed along so that I might enjoy it my whole entire life. And since Chitter made the salad for our supper the other night the recipe will go on to another generation of this family.

To make Granny’s Easy Summer Salad:

  • dice up an onion-some cucumbers-and tomatoes
  • toss them all in a bowl
  • salt to taste and put it in the frig for a couple of hours.

A few years back when I mentioned Granny’s simple salad here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn more than a few readers had their own versions of the salad.

Sandy: I thought I was the only one who ate this. I chop it fine and eat it in the middle of the night on ciabatta bread grilled in olive oil. I put a bit of garlic in mine too or rub the bread with a clove of it. Oh yum.

Mrs. K: This is my favorite salad, but like everyone else, I have my own adjustments. I chop up the tomato and cucumber, salt them and let the whole mess sit until it gets juicy, then add a bit of oregano, some olive oil and wine vinegar along with some crusty bread chopped up. Yummy. Growing up, everyone had gardens in our neighborhood and we kids used to go picking to make tomato and cucumber salad. I just love it!

Wanda: I love this–usually put a little olive oil & lemon juice on it too. It’s one of my favorite nighttime snacks with the leftover cornbread from supper.

Bill Burnett: My Mom made a similar salad in the summer since we always raised a large garden and ate whatever was in season. She often added a little sugar & vinegar adding a great sweet/sour kick to the great flavor of the fresh veggies.


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  • Reply
    May 10, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    I grew up with this salad just as you described it. My great grandmother and her people are from Breathitt County KY. We call it All Sorts Salad.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    That’s a favorite of mine too, with vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Our Dad loved it with heavy cream, vinegar and sugar, and that was good too if one had the cream.
    Nowadays though, Bro Tom is allergic to cukes, I’m allergic to onions. To substitute for the cukes, I use zucchini, and for the onions, I use a bit of chives (not too much). It’s also great with toasted bread cubes tossed up inside like a Greek salad called fatoush. Yum!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    July 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

    My Aunt Jean’s mom in Waynesville taught me this salad. Instead of chopping the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, she sliced them very thin. We then put them into a big bowl added either apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar and topped with ice cubes. After refrigerating for a couple of hours, we’d serve it up in small bowls. My favorite meal of all time was a spontaneous meal of cornbread, green beans, corn on the cob, and this salad at her house. Now, my mouth’s watering and I’m wanting some of this right now. Sadly, the tomatoes up here are still a couple of weeks out.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Guess what I had for supper last night. Tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. But, I don’t mix them together in a bowl. I seed the tomatoes and cucumbers, if necessary, cut them in bite sized pieces and put them on paper towels to dry just a little. I peel and cut the onion in half and soak it in cold water for a while beforehand. That seems to take out some of the sting.
    I ring the veggies around a paper plate and put a little puddle of ranch dressing in the middle in case anyone wants to go for a swim before they go in for the night. Everyone gets a sprinkle of salt. The tomatoes are the only ones who like black pepper.
    These three are the main ingredients but sometimes they might have friends over. Radishes, bell pepper and cheese might want to sit around the pool too. Crackers and cornbread are often there too but they don’t get in the pool. They might help clean up if anyone splashes too much.
    I like to relax after supper so I prepare the party early and put it everything in the refrigerator so it will be crisp and crunchy when I eat. I use the paper plate and a plastic fork so that when I am done I don’t have dishes to worry with.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I enjoyed seeing and reading about others comments on what they used to enhance their salad. When I was a boy, me and Harold use to go to the Tommy toe fields with a shaker of salt and eat till we was almost sick. We’d bring back a lot for mama to wash, cut in half, salt, pepper, and sugar. Boy, those were good. …Ken

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    July 24, 2017 at 9:14 am

    We had this every summer once the lettuce bolted. Ma always dressed it with oil and vinegar. I use olive oil now, but it was too expensive so Ma used vegetable oil. My grandmother nixed vegetable oil with olive oil to help with the cost.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Add olive oil, feta and olives and you have the traditional country salad as it is made in Greece.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Oooo, I like all those variations. Mine is salt, pepper, dash of Italian seasoning, OO, and Cider vinegar.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 24, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Cucumber, tomato, onion, green pepper and some basil is my favorite salad. By the time these ingredients are ready in the garden the lettuce is gone anyway. My favorite dressing with it is Italian, either creamy or regular.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 24, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I just made this mixture the other night, however I prefer to use fresh mild garden onions or Vidalia’s. I don’t like a strong onion in this salad…When the garden is coming in with big old ‘maters, sweet cucumbers and mild onions this is for supper every night…Lots of times we have it with a sandwich for lunch…I also make a garden slaw in the summer…putting chopped young yellow and zucchini, tomatoes, tender onion, cucumber, carrots and new cabbage…a simple dressing or mayo…not much…we love it…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 24, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I add olive oil and basalmic vinegar always use red onions too

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 24, 2017 at 7:07 am

    This was a salad my dad made often in the summer when the fresh ingredients were available. He sometimes added a little vinegar and a few ice cubes to make it crisp! I recall that the secret to making this salad good was the fresh garden ingredients, the grocery store tomato and cucumber just didn’t get the same flavor.

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