Ohhhh my word. Friends. Bid your usual cucumber and tomato salad adieu, because this bad boy is off the charts.
Think crisp and refreshing cucumbers tossed in a homemade balsamic dressing with soft mozzarella balls, juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers, black olives, and toasted walnuts.
Did I mention the soft mozzarella balls?
This Crunchy Cucumber Salad With Mozzarella and Walnuts has become a go-to at home throughout the summer months. Not only is it substantial, but it’s cooling, rejuvenating, and you don’t have to cook a damn thing. It’s also incredibly versatile; it makes for a fabulous light lunch, healthy snack, and dinner side.
Not big into olives? Read on for alterations.
I get that not everyone digs gargantuan olives, or olives in general, the way that I do. If that’s the case, you can omit them and increase the amount of the other veggies to make up for it. You can also have fun with the nuts! (Er, phrasing?) I love love love the toasted walnuts. They make the dish — along with the soft and pillowy mozza clumps, of course. Albeit pricey, toasted pine nuts are a great option if you’re up for it, and toasted sunflower seeds are another easy win. You could toast some slivered almond, but they just don’t offer the same deep and nutty flavor that the aforementioned nuts do.
(Have I become a nut snob?)
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Crunchy Cucumber and Mozzarella Salad With Walnuts
- 12 oz (approx. 2 large) cucumber, thinly sliced and halved I like to peel stripes into my cucumbers prior to slicing, because it looks pretty! But that's optional.
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella balls (Bocconcini) If you purchase the pearl-sized balls, no need to halve them. If you buy the larger ones, you can halve them.
- 4 oz grape tomatoes halved
- 4 oz jumbo pitted black olives, halved
- 4 oz roasted red peppers (from jar), thinly sliced and cut into bit-sized chunks
- 1/4 cup red onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- Cracked black pepper,
- Freshly chopped parsley
Sweet and Tangy Balsamic Dressing
- 1.5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
- .5 tsp pure honey
- Pinch of salt, to taste
Toasting the walnuts
- Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the roughly chopped walnuts to the pan, and toast until fragrant/lightly golden. Keep a close eye on them and occasionally toss them around with a spoon. This should take between 5-7 minutes and may seem slow at first, but once they start to toast, they toast quickly. So it's important to watch them so they don't burn. Once nicely toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
Preparing the dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Give it a taste and adjust to your preference.
Preparing the salad
- Prepare/cut all the veggies and mozzarella, and place them into a serving bowl. Set aside.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Hit the salad with some cracked black pepper, add the walnuts, and give the salad another quick toss.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, or if you'd prefer, some ribboned basil.