A cucumber and tomato salad is a delicious and healthy meal option that is low in calories. But exactly how many calories are in this simple salad combination? The total calorie count will depend on the specific ingredients used and their quantities. By examining the calories in the main components of a basic cucumber tomato salad, we can estimate a reasonable calorie range for a typical serving.
Calories in cucumbers
Cucumbers are composed mainly of water and contain very few calories. An average 5-inch-long cucumber weighing about 4 ounces (113 grams) contains:
- Calories: 16
- Total fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Protein: 0.7 grams
So cucumbers provide very few calories per serving. Even eating a whole large cucumber only gives you about 45 calories.
Calories in tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes also have low calorie density. A medium whole tomato, which is about 123 grams or 4.3 ounces, contains:
- Calories: 22
- Total fat: 0.3 grams
- Carbs: 4.8 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
Cherry tomatoes contain a similar amount of calories per ounce. So tomatoes add minimal calories to a salad.
Calories in onion
Onions are often included in cucumber tomato salads as well. One medium onion weighing about 110 grams or 3.9 ounces contains:
- Calories: 44
- Total fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1.1 grams
So including some onion in a salad adds a few more calories but still not very much.
Calories in salad dressing
The dressing on a salad can vary widely in calorie content based on the type and amount used. Some examples:
- 2 tablespoons reduced fat Italian dressing: 60 calories
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette: 73 calories
- 2 tablespoons regular ranch dressing: 140 calories
A simple olive oil and vinegar dressing contains about 50 calories for 2 tablespoons. Choosing a low-calorie dressing and using a moderate amount can help keep the salad light.
Putting it all together
For a simple cucumber and tomato salad with about 4 ounces each of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, 1/4 of a medium onion, and 2 tablespoons of a lower calorie dressing, you would get approximately:
- Cucumbers: 16 calories
- Tomatoes: 22 calories
- Onion: 11 calories
- Dressing: 50 calories
- Total: 99 calories
So a plain cucumber and tomato salad with light dressing provides under 100 calories per average serving. This makes it an excellent low calorie meal option.
You can further reduce the calorie count by:
- Using reduced fat dressing or smaller amounts of dressing
- Increasing the proportion of cucumber and tomato compared to onion
- Avoiding high calorie add-ons like cheese, croutons, and avocado
And you can slightly increase the calories by adding more onion, drizzling with olive oil, or using larger serving sizes.
Benefits of cucumber tomato salad
Along with being low in calories, a cucumber tomato salad has many other nutrition benefits. Some of these include:
- Hydration – Cucumbers and tomatoes have high water content to keep you hydrated.
- Vitamins – Fresh tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
- Antioxidants – Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which can lower inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Fiber – Cucumbers and tomatoes provide dietary fiber for digestive health.
- Bone health – The vitamin K in tomatoes benefits bone density.
- Skin health – Cucumbers contain silica which improves skin moisture and elasticity.
So adding this vegetable salad to your diet provides a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds.
A chilled cucumber and tomato salad makes for a refreshing side dish or light lunch. Here are some serving ideas:
- Pair it with grilled chicken or fish
- Top it with a few ounces of cooked shrimp or chickpeas for added protein
- Serve it alongside whole grain bread or crackers
- Top it with a few crumbled feta or goat cheese for extra flavor
- Add fresh herbs like dill, mint, or basil
- Include it in a salad sampler plate with assorted vegetables
Simple cucumber tomato salad recipe
This basic recipe provides a delicious way to enjoy the fresh flavors of cucumbers and tomatoes:
- 1 cucumber
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1/4 medium red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (white wine, champagne, or red wine vinegar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, dill, or mint (optional)
- Wash the cucumber and tomatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Thinly slice the red onion.
- In a large bowl, combine the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, and onion.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables.
- Add the fresh herbs if desired.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.
This easy salad comes together quickly. Experiment with additional vinegar types and fresh herbs to customize the flavor profile to your liking.
Storing cucumber tomato salad
Like most fresh produce, cucumber tomato salads are best eaten soon after preparation. To maximize freshness and flavor:
- Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Consume within 2-3 days for peak texture and taste.
- The vinegar from the dressing helps prevent oxidation but cucumbers tend to get watery as they sit.
- If storing longer than 2 days, consider adding tomatoes but keeping cucumbers separate until ready to eat.
Does tomato cucumber salad need to be refrigerated?
Yes, it is important to refrigerate a cucumber tomato salad. The vegetables and dressing should be chilled for food safety. Refrigeration also preserves texture and flavor.
How long does cucumber tomato salad last in the fridge?
Properly stored in an airtight container, cucumber tomato salad will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator. The flavors begin to deteriorate after that. Cucumbers in particular tend to get watery and mushy. For best results, aim to eat the salad within a couple days of making it.
Can you freeze cucumber tomato salad?
Freezing is not recommended for cucumber tomato salads. The high water content in the cucumbers and tomatoes would lead to a mushy thawed texture. It’s best to make a fresh batch when you want to enjoy this salad.
How can I add protein to my cucumber tomato salad?
Some healthy ways to boost the protein in a cucumber tomato salad include adding cooked chicken breast, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, feta cheese, boiled eggs, beans, or roasted nuts and seeds like almonds or sunflower seeds.
What dressing goes best with cucumber tomato salad?
Vinaigrettes are excellent choices for cucumber tomato salad dressing. Balsamic, red wine, champagne, apple cider, or lemon vinaigrette all pair fantastically with the fresh flavors. Olive oil and herb combinations also work very well.
The bottom line
A refreshing cucumber and tomato salad is the perfect low calorie dish. With around 100 calories per average serving, it provides bulk and nutrition without weighing you down. Feel free to enjoy this tasty salad as a side or light entree anytime you want a healthy and satisfying meal.