Cucumber Salad

Simple fresh Cucumber Salad with rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh dill or basil.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

About this time of year we start having cucumber salads almost every night with dinner. The cucumbers are growing a bit out of control in the garden, climbing up the tomato cages and all over the zinnias that line the raised beds.

Every other day I bring in a handful, peel them and chop them up for a simple salad consisting of nothing more than the cucumbers, some rice vinegar, either dill or basil, and salt and pepper.

Cucumber Salad

You don’t even really need the herbs! Cucumbers are crunchy and cool with just some vinegar, salt and pepper. But added dill or chopped fresh basil will elevate this simple cucumber salad to something just a bit more interesting.

I like adding a mix of regular basil and Thai basil (the one that tastes somewhat licorice-y).

Cucumber Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4

Cucumbers can vary in their level of bitterness. Usually the older the more bitter, and the seeds are often more bitter than the flesh. Once you cut into a cucumber, taste it.

If bitter, scrape or cut away the seeds. You might also want to soak the chopped cucumber in salt water to help offset the bitterness. The cucumbers we get are usually fine as is, but I have had some bitter ones.

With regards to peeling, we almost always peel our cucumbers, but there are some varieties with thin, mild peels that you don't need to peel. Taste first if there is a question.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 large cucumbers (or 4-5 lemon cucumbers), peeled, quartered lengthwise, then sliced crosswise
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, basil, or Thai basil*
  • 2-3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*To chop the basil, chiffonade it by stacking the leaves on top of each other, rolling them up like a cigar, and taking thin slices from one end to the other.

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss to coat. Serve immediately, or make ahead (up to a couple of hours) and chill.

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Showing 4 of 35 Comments

  • Phoenix Amsterdam

    freeze cubed cucumber first, then defrost and apply the recipe; surprising difference

  • Brian

    I agree this needs a little sugar and a tablespoon of dill is too much. The picture shows hardly any. I will add some sugar and some sour cream. I think it would be better with the cucumbers sliced thin rather than in chunks as pictured and as I made the recipe.

    Actually there is sugar in the seasoned rice vinegar, so you do not need to add any if you are using that kind of vinegar. If you are using regular rice vinegar or a different kind of vinegar, a touch of sugar would be good to add. I like the thinly sliced cucumbers too, though I find they get soggy more easily. ~Elise

  • Carla

    When growing up, my mother used to make a couple of different cucumber salads. One was with the cucumbers slice fairly thickly, and dressed with a bit of sugar, salt, pepper, dill & white vinegar. My fave, though, was when she would shred (grate) the cucumbers, omit the dill, add a bit of celery seed and a touch of heavy cream (with less vinegar). She would chill this good before supper, and then serve it with whatever meat dish she maid that nite. So good!! Simple, basic tiny-town middle america food @ its best!

  • Rachelino

    This looks like the perfect use for the two armenian cucumbers I brought home from the farmers market today.
    Elise, I know you aren’t a gardening blog, but I am also in Northern California (but close to the coast in north Berkeley area) and I planted crystal apple cucumber and cornichons, and the plants looks awful, with a white bloom on them, and yellowish leaves. The cornichons are still producing fruit. A friend who heard my descriptions think they have a virus/blight, and also told me not to ever water the leaves of the plant, only to water close to the ground at the bottom of the plant. Do you do this with your cukes? I want gangbuster cukes like you!

    Most of my watering is done with a soaker hose. I rarely water by spraying. A white bloom on your leaves sounds like some type of fungus or blight. I would check your local nursery to see if there is something you can do. ~Elise

  • don

    If space is a problem growing cukes, go vertical! That’s right cukes will happily grow upward with yields equal to ground growing! In our region(zone 1) one healthy plant should yield at least 6 good size cukes & probably more! Select a non-bush variety that shoots out tendrils(little grabber-like strings) and train the plant to a fence or any kind of miniature trellis, insure a few hours of sunlight, water excessively and feed occasionally with manure/compost soup! My cuke crop is far more important to me than tomatoes and this method has rewarded me a crop and a half for many years!

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