Kachumbari (Kenyan tomato and onion salad) is a light and refreshing East African salad that you can put together in about 15 minutes. It makes a fantastic side dish for your grilled meat, fish, or chicken dinners!
Kachumbari is a popular East African salad made with tomatoes, onions, and avocado. It is native to Kenya but eaten in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and other countries in that region.
This salad is so quick and easy to make and makes a great side dish at home or for a potluck. Sometimes I eat it between meals when I don't feel like cooking but need something quick and easy.
Kachumbari salad has a mild and pleasant taste and uses ingredients you probably already have at home!
What does Kachumbari mean?
Kachumbari is a Swahili word originating from the Indian word cachumber, which is an Indian salad that uses similar ingredients.
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, red onions, and avocado. An authentic Kenyan kachumbari salad uses just 4 main ingredients - tomatoes, onions, and a little salt and lemon juice. I like to add avocado for more healthy fats, and because salad just tastes better with avocado, am I right? Also, I use red onions for its color and relatively mild taste.
- Spices: Cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. You only need salt and black pepper, but I like to add cayenne pepper for a little spicy kick!
- Lemon: Lemon not only provides a bit of tartness to this African salad, but it also helps to preserve the color of the avocado. You can also substitute with lime.
- Cilantro : Cilantro is used as a garnish and is completely optional.
Onions can have a pretty strong taste and smell when used in salads. I find it hard to eat raw onions in a salad, but there is an easy way to reduce its harsh taste.
- First, cut the onions into small pieces. Then, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 2 cups of water, and soak the onions for about 10-15 minutes. This is the best way I've found to take the bite out of raw onions.
- While waiting for the onions, cut the tomatoes and avocado and chop the cilantro. Drain the onions and pat dry.
- Add the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Then add the salt and pepper, and juice from the lemon. Mix everything together.
- Garnish with cilantro if you wish. Your African tomato and onion salad is ready to eat!
This recipe serves 4 and contains 5 net carbs per serving.
Variations when making this salad
My version of this East African tomato and onion salad is quite basic, but there are a few additional ingredients you can add to take yours to the next level!
- Red cherry tomatoes
- Chili peppers
- A splash of olive oil
This African salad is best consumed the same day and is not a great candidate for leftovers. I don't make a whole bunch at a time because it is so quick and easy to make. And you can scale it up or down and make just 1-2 servings at a time.
Also, storing chopped avocado tends to make it turn dark, and your kachumbari salad might look quite soggy the next day due to the tomato juice.
But if you still need to store it, I will advise only storing it overnight. First, divide the salad into portions and don't mix the portion that will be stored in the fridge.
Then drain as much of the liquid out and squeeze in some more lemon or lime juice and store it in an airtight container.
What can I eat it with?
This East African salad goes perfectly well as a side dish to your meat or grilled bbq dishes! Some of my favorites are:
Check out these other low carb salads!
Kachumbari - Kenyan Tomato and Onion Salad
- Cut the onions into small pieces.
- Add 1 tsp of salt to 2 cups of water.
- Soak the onions for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes & avocado and chop the cilantro.
- Drain the onions & pat dry.
- Mix the vegetables together & season with the spices and juice from the lemon.
- Garnish with cilantro or any herb of choice.
- This salad is best eaten the same day. But to store it overnight, divide the salad into portions and don't mix the portion that will be stored in the fridge.
- Drain as much of the liquid out and squeeze in some more lemon or lime juice. Store it in an airtight container.