Awhile back, I put out a recipe for my new fave burger, Feta Stuffed Harissa Sliders. Those are such juicy, fun, zippy burgers; check them out if you didn’t see them when I posted them. Since I used Harissa in those burgers, a North African condiment of different peppers, I thought it would be fun to find something from Africa to go along with the burgers. So here it is, African Tomato & Onion Salad.
For some reason, when I posted those fat, little sliders, I didn’t post the African salad. But I had tossed some of this salad on our sliders rather than trying to deal with onions and tomatoes (that’s always a little awkward with sliders) and used the rest just as a salad on the side. It was really a nice fresh condiment on those burgers.
Around The House:
First of all, some personal business. I finally went in for my shoulder surgery. My shoulder has been a problem since December when I opened my door and there were five rabbits sitting there. Chance, my spazzy lab, lunged and pulled me down my stone steps. You can see below that pup is always just thrumming with energy!
The neighbors have stopped feeding the critters (thank you!) or at least are feeding them away from my house, and I’ve been waiting to have my surgery, my shoulder getting worse and worse, hoping some of the critters will disperse. It seems like they have somewhat. See, I was afraid one good lunge from Chance after an animal might undo everything the surgery was trying to repair.
I saw the surgeon, they called the next day and said they could get me in the day after! So I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. But I found if I’m really careful, I can type a bit. So this year, no cute pumpkin-y Halloween posts for you! Instead, I’ll be going through my backlog of “drafts” so my site might be a little random for a while. Thanks for bearing with me and many thanks to you and family, friends, and my neighbors for all the support!
About African Tomato & Onion Salad:
But back to this tomato salad. As it turns out, African Tomato & Onion Salad is a combination of tomatoes and red onions along with jalapeno or serrano. Ok, so it’s salsa, or very close to it. The proportions are slightly different. And I can’t say what kind of peppers are used in Africa.
Since I was already using my Pickled Red Onion those sliders, I went with a little white onion in the salad and since I wanted to step away from the salsa like taste, and I had it on hand, I added a little Za’atar, just to taste. It kind of rounded the flavors out a bit. That Za’atar is a blend of spices from the Middle East and surrounding areas that seem to be gaining in popularity here in the US lately. Mine’s homemade. The Za’atar isn’t traditional – I just tossed it in as a whim.
Making African Tomato & Onion Salad:
This is such an easy salad to make. I cut the tomatoes into wedges and ran my fingers over them, taking out the worst of the seeds, without being too overly fussy, then chopped them up. The onion I did soak in water for a few minutes, which takes away a bit of the bite. Ten minutes will do it.
If you have a chance to make this a bit ahead of when you need it, the time does give the flavors a chance to blend. Do add as much jalapeno as you’d like, one or two, and the same with the garlic. And of course, you can use cilantro or parsley for the green in the salad. Whatever does it for you.
In my searching, I’ve seen a lot of little variations on this salad. Many had a little cucumber and some had avocado. It seems like a basic salad that’s often riffed on.
Saving Money on African Tomato & Onion Salad:
I make most of my own spice blends, especially if they’re made from items I usually have in my spice cupboard. My rule of thumb is if the blend at the store is more than the most expensive ingredient in it, then you’re better off making it yourself. The Za’atar had only one ingredient that was somewhat “exotic” which is Sumac and that I picked up from a market. I’ve been using quite a bit recently, ever since I first made my Homestyle Chicken Shawarma.
Watch for tomatoes on sale; use whichever ones seem to be the best deal. When buying limes, don’t pay too much attention to color variations as long as they aren’t dry and browning; pick up several, weigh them in your hand and choose the heaviest. That’s going to be your juiciest lime. Put them in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then roll them with a good amount of pressure, across your countertop and you’ll coax a little more juice out of any lime.
Onions I generally buy in larger bags. Just store them away from potatoes, in a cool, dark place. If you do decide to use red onion in this salad, those Pickled Red Onions are a great way to use up any that’s leftover. If not, wrap the onion and place it in your refrigerator door where you’ll see it every time you open the door. You’ll be more likely to use it.Print
African Tomato & Onion Salad
- Prep Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: about 2 cups 1x
- Category: Condiments
- Cuisine: African
- 1/2 large red onion diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded & diced
- 1 to 2 jalapeños seeded, diced
- 1–2 garlic minced
- Juice from 1 lime
- Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- a little Za’atar to taste, optional
After dicing red onion, place in a bowl with water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain well. Combine with chopped tomaoes, as many jalpenos as you wish and the samewith the garlic. Squeeze in the lime juice. Add cilantro or parsley and season with salt and pepper. Sprinle with Za’atar to taste. Mix everything together, taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve as a topping for meast or burgers and/or a side salad.
Note: I added a few chives.