Kachumbari (East African Tomato and Onion Salad)


Kachumbari is a tomato and onion based salad that is part of the cuisine of Kenya, Tanzania and other neighboring countries. Kachumbari can be eaten as a side dish or as an appetizer for a main meal. It’s also common for kachumbari to be used as a condiment for East African pilau rice.

Tomatoes and onions always serve as the base for kachumbari. However, cilantro, avocado, and cucumber are also commonly included in the dish. Seeded habanero or scotch bonnet peppers are added in some variations of the dish. A simple dressing of lime or lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and black pepper goes really well with this salad. You can finely chop the ingredients, as I’ve done here, or slice them thinly for this salad. The recipe is on the printable recipe card below. Enjoy!

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4 from 3 votes

Kachumbari (East African Tomato and Onion Salad)

Kachumbari is an East African fresh tomato and onion-based salad which is perfect as an appetizer for main meals. This salad is also great as a side dish for grilled meats.
Prep Time10 mins
Resting time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: African
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Mavis K.


  • 4 medium Fresh tomatoes (chopped finely)
  • 1 medium red onion (chopped finely)
  • ½ English cucumber (chopped finely)
  • 1 avocado (peeled, seeded, and chopped finely)
  • 6 stalks fresh cilantro (chopped finely)
  • 1 habanero pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt

For the dressing

  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


  • Put the chopped red onions in a small bowl, add salt, cover with water and let sit for 30 minutes to reduce the oniony taste.
  • When it’s time to make the salad, strain the water from the onions.
  • In a salad bowl, add the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, and habanero pepper. Mix the ingredients together.
  • In a small bowl, make the salad dressing by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, juice of 1 lime, honey, and salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly with a salad spoon.
  • Refrigerate the salad for at least 15 minutes to cool before serving.


This dish doesn't keep well overnight at all so my advice is to make it on the day that you intend to eat it. It's also a good idea to make just enough so that you don't have leftovers. The recipe can easily be modified to make less of the salad.


Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1260IU | Vitamin C: 33.8mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.9mg

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  • Reply
    Angela Wilson
    March 25, 2021 at 1:27 am

    5 stars

    • Reply
      Meals by Mavis
      March 25, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Glad you liked it, Angela.

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