If you want a quick, fresh salad, this kachumbari recipe has you covered. It tastes exactly like how it looks: tangy, juicy, and fresh.
What Is Kachumbari?
This salad belongs to the African Great Lakes region and is built around chopped tomatoes, onions, and crisp veg like celery and cucumber. It’s often dressed in lime juice (or lemon) and salt, sometimes includes gin or vodka, and always contains spicy jalapeño peppers.
Depending on how it’s eaten, as a salad or condiment, the veg can be chopped or blended. Today’s Kachumbari recipe makes the salad version, giving you a fresh side to lighten up those heavy meals.
Is Kachumbari Healthy?
If your diet needs more fruit and vegetables, kachumbari is a good place to start. It will provide you with vital micronutrients from tons of fresh produce, and a small amount of fiber to keep your digestive system functioning well.
This salad naturally complies with our guidelines, but still, we suggest you follow our recipe strictly to meet the nutritional goals. Each of its servings yields 186 calories, 2.2 g saturated fat, and 239 mg sodium, leaving plenty of room for your other daily meals.
Besides the basics, we have given this salad a personal touch that we think you’ll love.
The Veg and Herbs
Our veg haul includes:
Tomatoes: as the dressing is quite tangy, sweet tomatoes are a better fit. Try to pick those that are a little heavy for their size and give a little when gently squeezed.
Onions: the salad is traditionally made with yellow onions, but we picked red for their stronger, more pungent flavor. Plus, their purple color provides an attractive aesthetic look.
Cucumbers: English cucumbers are more convenient to work with as you need to clean and cut just one. Taste-wise, most cucumbers aren’t so different from each other.
Celery: similar to cucumbers, larger stalks require less effort. Simply clean it, slice it in half, and chop away.
Avocado: not what’s originally called for, but we think this creamy fruit is a game changer — it complements the tangy dressing and mellows out the pungent veg.
Jalapeño: the final item on the list, for an appetizing spicy kick. You can add more or use any other type you fancy, like serranos.
Kachumbari wouldn’t be complete without herbs and nothing finishes it off better than earthy coriander.
Kachumbari is typically dressed in lime juice and salt, but we think you’ll like it better with these additions:
Balsamic vinegar: to give it a sharper tang.
Olive oil: to balance out the acidic components and give a glossy finish.
Dijon mustard: to add a hint of sweetness and bind the oil, lime juice, and vinegar together.
Once the ingredients are prepared, it’s time to assemble the salad.
How to Make Kachumbari
As with many salads:
Make the dressing.
Place the veg in a bowl.
Toss the two right before serving.
For the exact measurements of the ingredients, refer to our kachumbari recipe card at the bottom.
How to Store Kachumbari
With the various components stored separately and tightly sealed, this salad can keep for about 5 days. Once mixed, it’s best to consume within the day because it will become more watery the longer it sits — and less appetizing by the second.
Salads should by no means be stored in the freezer. When vegetables freeze, their cells’ water expands and breaks them open, leaving you a mushy mess when they thaw.
What to Serve Kachumbari With?
Fresh and tangy in nature, this salad best complements rice dishes like pilaf, biryani, or grilled meat. We recommend you try it with our roasted pork tenderloin, featuring everyone’s favorite pork cut and plenty of hearty veg.
In love with this recipe? You may find this Pico de Gallo helpful.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
Kachumbari was on repeat in my kitchen today - its vibrant colors are matched by its exotic tastes that will leave you wanting more each time you have it. Highly recommended dish!