Lebanese Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Mint

There are many great Lebanese recipes for salads, and I am not one to play favorites typically. But then there are moments like yesterday, when my Uncle Dick commented on my post about Lebanese cucumbers, remembering the tomato, cucumber and sweet onion salads his father, my Jido, used to make.

Good morning sweetheart, the small, fuzzy cuke you refer to is called “mintha.” That was also grown by your Jido Sam Abood. His tomato, cucumber and onion salads were too delicious to describe adequately. Of course, fresh mint (na na) and lots of smashed garlic (thume) were mixed in as well as olive oil, salt, pepper and topped off with fresh lemon. I’m still getting in as many of these in as I can before the season here ends for these fresh ingredients. I’m sending all of you and yours all my love and wishes for continued good health. Uncle Dick

Leave it to one of the Abood brothers, sons of Sam, to make your mouth water and send you straight to the kitchen. Of course this is the very favorite Lebanese salad!

I just wish we could all have a bushel of the mintha, the fuzzy Lebanese cukes that hardly anyone seems to grow anymore. The seeds are elusive, which makes me want to open an online store for all seeds and cuttings that we need for our Lebanese gardens: the mintha, the coosa, the wild grape leaf vines.

Collect (or rather, hoard) your ingredients immediately. There is no time to waste with the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, at least not here in Michigan.

And know that, like my Uncle Dick, I’m sending all of you and yours all my love and wishes for continued good health!

Lebanese Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Mint
One of the best things about this salad is the juice that waits in the bottom of the bowl, ready to be sopped up with thin pita or flatbread. Make the salad an hour or so in advance to let the flavors meld. Serves 4.

6 5-inch cucumbers, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 beefsteak or a variety of tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 sweet onion, sliced into thin half-moons
2 cloves garlic, green center sprout removed, minced
15 leaves spearmint, or na’na, torn or sliced chiffonade
2 tablespoons crushed dried mint
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt and pepper

In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and onion. Top with the garlic, fresh and dried mint, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, stirring well to coat the vegetables evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Eat the salad up and then make another, soon.

Print this recipe here.

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10 Responses to Lebanese Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Mint

  1. Judy says:

    When you say spearmint leaves are you talking about nana? It’s called that here too. If you’re going to stir everything in why do you put the veggies in separately. It’s funny. An arab salad is big pieces and an israeli salad is tiny little pieces. Strange don’t you think?

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Judy–I put the veggies in first because I like them to catch all of the dressing ingredients as I add them! Yes, that’s na’na!

  2. Diane Nassir says:

    Lebanese salad-the best!

  3. Elizabeth Asher says:

    When Fred was dating Pat he use to walk over from Kearney college and come through our back yard where my Mother had her garden. One day he picked a little cucumber and started eating it. My Mother happened to see him out the window. She went running out to tell him to stop. She grew up believing you had to peel cucumbers and soak them in salted water before them could be eaten or you would get really sick. We learned a new way of eating cucumbers although my Mother always peeled them ever after that..

  4. Roger Toomey says:

    I’m all for the Lebanese/Syrian/East Mediterranean seed store or exchange. Wish I could locate some of those things that I didn’t even think about as a child but were lost when my generation left home thinking our parents would live and garden forever. Without that older generation carefully putting seeds on paper towels on the window sill to dry and then putting them in a recycled envelope (whatever bill had just been paid) and then in a mouse proof can (ours was an old cream can that was too small for the cream our cows produced each week). all of that tradition vanished in just a few years.

    Having a hobby in genealogy I often imagine those who packet their bags and got on a ship. Their mothers or Aunts handing them an envelope with seeds and saying “Take these and when you eat you will remember me and your homeland.”

    I am reminded of so much when Maureen and the posters to her blog write of their memories. So many times I’m hit with, Yea, we did that too, or Yea that’s my Grandmother or Aunt too.

  5. Scotia says:

    That salad is on the menu for Saturday. It looks really good. I have some cherry tomatoes (Sungold and Sweet 1,000) maturing and some Littl’ Munchers (which is the closest I can get to Persian cuks) in the garden that will make this salad Saturday night. It really looks lovely.

  6. Ginny Abood Baldini says:

    If you ever find anywhere where I could buy wild grape vines, please let me know or post on your blog. What I wouldn’t give to plant them in my yard. Love your recipes!

  7. Great picture of you ! am going to make this salad this week …

 

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