Nostalgia Salad

Last summer, Shaun and I were lucky enough to work in the same state [Good ol’ VA], which meant we saw each other pretty often, despite being in separate cities. We spent a lot of time at his parents’ house in Chesapeake – hanging with the family, enjoying the beach, having lots of wine, and exploring Norfolk and Virginia Beach [two of my favorite cities after last summer]. Some of the best times were when the four of us would sit down to dinner together outside on the deck, eat slowly, chat, and have drinks [have I mentioned wine yet?].

One of my favorite dishes that my future mother-in-law made was one of the most simple things in the world, but it always hit the spot. I’ll admit, I often ate it for multiple meals and as a snack. I’ve called it the Nostalgia Salad because when I saw all of the ingredients in my fridge and thought of making it, it reminded me of the fun we had last summer! The F M-I-L gave me permission to share, and also offered up a tip for salad-making…

New napkins!*

I took the base recipe and added two more things: basil and chick peas, because they were in the fridge, but this salad is also perfectly delicious on its own. And have I mentioned how simple it is? We served it with one of our prizes from  TJ’s:


Unfortunately, it’s less of a “burger” and more of a “potato pancake,” but it sufficed. I think I’ll stick with soy or mushroom-based burgers from now on, although this had nice spices. And you can’t beat TJ’s prices…seriously.

Enjoy the recipe and the free advice. I know we did tonight at dinner.

Future Mother-In-Law’s secret salad tip [I didn’t even know this until today!]: If you’ve got the time, slice the cucumbers and onion earlier in the day, and place them in the fridge in a container with ice cubes and water. This makes them extra-crispy. Then, just drain and blend them with the tomatoes right before serving. Delicious.

Quick Summer Vegetable “Nostalgia” Salad (Vegetarian, Vegan)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Base Ingredients:

  • Any ripe tomatoes, sliced (I used heirloom today)
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Onion, sliced (I used red onion)
  • Italian Dressing (I used fat-free)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Ingredient Add-Ins (optional… here’s what I did):
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • Sliced basil, or other fresh herbs
1. Utilize the secret salad tip. Chill the sliced cucumber and onion so they’re super crisp.
2. Once you’re ready to serve, combine the chilled cucumber and onion with the tomatoes, dressing, salt and pepper (and other add-ins) and mix well.
3. Serve! Immediately. It’s perfect cold.
Notes: This salad keeps well in the fridge, too.
*Went nuts on Crate and Barrel’s website buying different napkins to try to add more color to the photos. If Shaun and I can agree on a particular one, we might buy a set. I enjoy these blue ones right now. More to come…

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Categories: Food


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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3 Comments on “Nostalgia Salad”

  1. Deb Murray
    September 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    LOVE anything from TJ!! Just wish we had one here! Salad by Jan sounds awesome!

    • September 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      We stop every time we’re heading back from Chesapeake. It’s really a great place! Although their produce is never the best 😦 I just like to stock up on dry foods though!


  1. Thursday Top Fives | Ryes and 'Shine - September 29, 2011

    […] Post navigation ← Nostalgia Salad […]

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