Thursday, June 9, 2011

Red Onion, Tomato and Mint Salad

Whenever I look at an Ethiopian sampler plate at a restaurant, I'm always initially amazed at the small servings of the dishes the restaurant provides. They look like little quarter-cup dollops on the injera plate. If you order meat dishes, they look even smaller. I immediately start to panic. Will there be enough food for everyone? 

And then, I remember that Ethiopian food fills you up quick. With each bite of food, you're getting legumes and other proteins. You're using injera to pick up each bite, which means you're eating even more.

It's times like this that I start to crave a nice cool salad. In the Ethiopian cooking class I took, instructor Myra Kornfeld provided us with a red onion, tomato and mint salad to break apart the meal. Even though it isn't technically Ethiopian, I'll definitely include it in every Ethiopian dinner I cook from now on. The flavors complement the cooked dishes perfectly, and they provided a perfect crunch that was missing from some of the other dishes.

See the gorgeous pop of color the salad provides on the plate!
I think this dish would also be delightful for a picnic in the park.

Red Onion, Tomato and Mint Salad
recipe from Myra Kornfeld

This salad serves 6. It is easy to assemble hours before a party, and it keeps well in the fridge. I kept mine refrigerated until I was ready to serve it.

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced into rings and halved
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the red onion in cold water for at least 15 minutes to take off the harsh edge. Drain the onions, and pat them dry.

In a medium bowl, gently mix together the onions, tomatoes, mint leaves, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Drizzle the salad with the oil, and then stir in the vinegar and lemon juice. Gently toss the ingredients to combine.

Let the salad sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.


  1. I'm often afraid of using mint as I'm not fond of it in sweet dishes. This looks like one I might try. Was the mint the dominant flavor in the salad? sue

  2. I don't cook with mint often either, but in this salad, it just gave it a more refreshing taste overall. The mint didn't seem overpowering. I think the tomatoes were the real star here.

  3. Okay, this is a winner as well...going to make this one today as I have the ingredients and it looks like a fine accompaniment to the FFwD spareribs I am making today. Thanks! So pretty!

  4. Thanks Kayte! I want to eat this salad every day. It's light, and it keeps really well in the fridge. I hope it matches well with the FFwD spareribs!