This marinated veggie salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, green pepper and red onion has bright, fresh flavors and tons of crunch. It's perfect as a side dish for spring and summer get togethers!
Today I'm bringing you a bright, fresh, colorful marinated veggie salad that's been in my family for years.
This sassy little salad is seriously delicious and perfect for spring and summertime! It’s a great light accompaniment to anything on the grill and it makes a perfect picnic or potluck take-along.
My mom has made this salad for years and it’s always a hit. I've been making it for years as well.
When I've served it to friends at parties, they always ask me, as they are shoveling forkfuls in their mouths, “Why is this so good?”
And I kinda mumble, “The sugar.”
“The dressing, it has sugar in it.” Then I look down and away, slightly embarrassed.
I’m not normally one to add sugar where sugar doesn’t really belong, and I don't usually mix sugar with my vegetables, though both of those are Southern things and I am from the South.
But that bit of sugar in the dressing seriously makes this salad shine.
The sweetness really enhances the veggies, and I promise the salad doesn’t taste sweet. Just really good.
Plus, look at ALL those veggies! 😍
Oh, and this salad is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and low carb, so it works for lots of different dietary needs.
OK, let's get to fixing.
Now, I’ve got a few notes and tips coming up below on how to make marinated veggie salad. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
- Cucumber: You can use two regular cucumbers, peeled and extra seeds removed, or you could substitute an English or hot house cucumber.
- Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are reliably available and delicious year round, but you could swap in some fresh summer tomatoes if they are in season.
- Green pepper: We always use a regular green pepper for this salad, but a yellow, orange or red bell pepper would be fine, too.
- Red onion: I personally love red onion, raw, cooked, pickled, however. But if you are sensitive to them or yours is especially pungent, chop the red onion and soak the pieces in cold water for about 5-10 minutes. Then drain the water off and use the pieces for your salad. (Also note though that the red onion will mellow a bit in the dressing while it marinates.)
Do plan ahead though and let this marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. It helps the veggies get good and coated in the dressing.
Making this veggie salad ahead of time is also great because it makes party prep a breeze when you can knock out a couple of things in advance. Less stress when you have guests over is always a good thing.
(Though honestly, I make this salad just for me to snack on in the summertime. It's that fresh and tasty!)
Plus, it's fine for this salad to sit out at a picnic or potluck for an hour or two. There's no dairy here so no spoilage concerns.
Last thing - how to store it and what to do with leftovers, if you have any.
Storing and Leftovers:
-This marinated vegetable salad should be kept, covered, in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3-4 days.
-Be sure to stir well before serving to get all the veggies well coated again.
-After a few days though, it starts to lose some of its crunch and the veggies begin to break down a bit.
If you're on team marinated salads like I am in the summer, check out this black-eyed pea salad for another Southern fave or try this black bean and mango salad that can be used as an appetizer with chips or a side salad with grilled chicken. So yummy!
Or make some baked BBQ chicken sliders for a finger food. Add some oven fries or tater tots to any of those, and you are set for dinner. 🙌
Wishing you all the fresh and delicious veggies this spring and summer and plenty of time with friends and family.
For the salad:
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Combine the chopped vegetables in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing (or shake them up in a small jar or container) until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour the dressing over the veggies and stir to combine.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the veggies to marinate in the dressing. Stir again before serving.
Cucumber: You can use two regular cucumbers, peeled and extra seeds removed, or you could substitute an English or hot house cucumber.
Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are reliably available and delicious year round, but you could swap in some fresh summer tomatoes if they are in season.
Green pepper: We always use a regular green pepper for this salad, but a yellow, orange or red bell pepper would be fine, too.
Red onion: I personally love red onion, raw, cooked, pickled, however. But if you are sensitive to them or yours is especially pungent, chop the red onion and soak the pieces in cold water for about 5-10 minutes. Then drain the water off and use the pieces for your salad. (Also note though that the red onion will mellow a bit in the dressing while it marinates.)
Plan ahead because this does taste best when the veggies have marinated in the dressing for a couple of hours.
Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Serving Size:½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g
This recipe was originally published in May 2015. It has been updated with new photos and tips, but the tried-and-true recipe remains the same.