Cucumber Salad

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

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

  • 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.


  • 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.


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 / Reviews

  • Phoenix Amsterdam

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

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Cucumbers love rice vinegar. I like to slice my cukes very thin, on a mandoline, and toss them with a bit of red pepper flakes, salt and sugar, and the vinegar. I always need to make more than I’m planning to serve, because I can’t help but nibble on the cucumbers as soon as the vinegar hits them.

  • Mitchell

    We add a touch of sour cream and a bit of sugar to these ingredients for a little more oomph–and chopped parsley (curly) is nice too!

  • Amanda

    This method is equally delicious with tomatoes! When I lived at home we had tomato salad with rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper almost every night in the summer. Sometimes a splash of Italian dressing or a cucumber would find its way in there too. Now that I live in an apartment in a city and can’t grow my own tomatoes, I only have it about twice a week and it makes me sad. This salad is also the only way I will eat canned tuna fish. It is delicious mixed in with the tomatoes! Try it sometime for a quick lunch!

  • Natasa

    It helps to cut near the stem and then simply rub the cut off piece over the cut surface (sorry for the clumsy explanation :D). Some white bubbles appear during process, so I cut the nest piece like 3mm away from it and use the rest of the cucumber. I don’t exactly understand the chemistry of it, but it does extract the bitterness.
    Enjoy the summer :)

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