Cucumber Salad with Grapes and Almonds

Good morning summer and hello cucumbers! What’s your favorite cucumber? Lemon cucumber? English? Armenian? How about pickling? For many years I’ve grown lemon cucumbers, which are yellow and the size of a large lemon when ripe. They look sort of cool, but they can get seedy and they can be somewhat awkward to handle. This year I decided to plant Persian cucumbers instead, which are more delicate than the normal garden variety, and thin-skinned, perfect for salads. I hope you like cucumbers dear readers, because the summer has just begun and already my plant is taking over the sunny corner of the garden. It grows mad like zucchini, but with smaller leaves and a more vine-y approach to life.

Cucumber plant taking over the garden bed

For our first cucumber recipe of the season we decided to make a deconstructed white gazpacho minus the bread. Sounds fancy, but it’s basically cucumbers tossed with toasted blanched almonds, and sliced green grapes, with some vinegar and oil dressing. The almonds give it a lovely crunch, the grapes some sweetness, vinegar a touch of acidity. The ingredients just happen to be the core of a Spanish favorite cold soup. So, as weird as the combination may sound, it works. I even ran out of grapes at one point and made a batch with some golden raisins instead. That was good too!

We recommend a thin-skinned cucumber for this salad, so you can leave the skins on. But if you have regular thick-skinned cucumbers, those should work fine too, just peel them first.

Cucumber Salad with Grapes and Almonds Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

We are using thin-skinned persian cucumbers for this recipe. These cucumbers are mild and the skins are not bitter so we can leave them on. If you are using thick-skinned cucumbers, or cucumbers with a bitter peel, you'll want to peel them for this recipe.

Cucumbers have a lot of water in them. When you dress them, the salt in the dressing will leach out some of this moisture, resulting in a lot of excess liquid. One way to get around this is to salt the cucumbers first, let them sit for a while for the salt to work its magic, then rinse off the salt and drain the cucumbers. This is step one in this recipe. You can skip it if you don't have time, but the result will then be much more watery.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup slivered and blanched almonds
  • 1 pound cucumbers, peeled if the peel is bitter, unpeeled if not
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • About 20 green grapes, sliced in half
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced chives, for garnish

Method

cucumber-salad-grapes-almonds-1 cucumber-salad-grapes-almonds-2

1 Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle, discard the seeds. If using rather large cucumbers, slice them again lengthwise.  Then cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch to 1/2 inch slices.  Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Toss to distribute the salt evenly around the cucumber pieces.  Let sit for 20 to 25 minutes while the salt helps pull excess moisture out of the cucumbers. Then rinse off the salt, drain the cucumbers, and squeeze out more excess moisture with paper towels.

cucumber-salad-grapes-almonds-3

Toast the slivered almonds in a small pan over medium-high heat, tossing them often, until they start to brown and smell good. Move to a bowl to cool.

3 Mix the cucumbers, almonds, garlic, grapes, olive oil, and vinegar together in a large bowl and add more salt to taste. Garnish with chives and serve.

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Links:

Portuguese White Gazpacho with Crab Salad, from Leite's Culinaria

Tuna Salad with Cucumbers, Grapes, Tomatoes and Corn, from Seattle Bon Vivant

Broccoli, Grape and Cucumber Salad, from Natasha's Kitchen

Cucumber Salad with Grapes and Almonds on Simply Recipes

 

22 Comments

  1. Diana

    My family loves cucumbers and persian are our favorite!
    They are expensive but oh sooo worth it!!!

  2. Dipti Joshi

    Love your garden! Persian cucumbers are my favorite. We don’t get lemon cucumbers in Mumbai. :(

    • Diane

      If you could get your hands on some seeds, I’m sure they would grow.

  3. Beth Sullivan

    This sounds delicious! Might be good with watermelon too….

  4. randi

    Made this with dinner tonight and it was thumbs up all the way around. A really nice change.

  5. Karrie

    This dish looks crisp and cool, perfect for a hot summer day. I’m going to try this out this weekend.
    I love your cobalt blue serving dish. Is it Moroccan?

    • Elise

      Hi Karrie, it sort of looks Moroccan, but I think it’s more likely Chinese. I bought it at Uncommon Objects, a quirky and fun antique/vintage store in Austin, Texas.

  6. Susie

    This looks nothing but refreshing on a hot summer day. My family is a huge fan of cucumbers and I’m always looking for a new recipe.

  7. Nellie Yong

    I hardly buy chives. What is a good substitute for chives? Or should I just omit it altogether?

  8. heidi

    Here’s a silly question – can I make a gazpacho using these ingredients? :-)

  9. Roberta David

    I have to add my thumbs-up on this recipe, too, Elise! It sounds divine!! Can’t wait to try it. My husband is Lebanese so we do many things with cucumbers…I’m thinking that our family will definitely love it! And I have to agree with Karrie…the bright cobalt blue serving dish is just beautiful! It sets of the color of the cukes and grapes wonderfully! Hope I can find one similar if not exact! Thanks for sharing this great recipe with us! Love your blog!!

  10. Nessa

    This looks really yummy!

  11. Karen

    Made it tonight, and it was lovely — fresh, lively, and just a little sweet from the grapes, which I’ll use more of next time because I’m quite fond of grapes. A double recipe completely disappeared into four people, so round up if you’re not sure how much to make!

  12. Addison

    this is just the thing. thanks for the idea! our cucumbers aren’t on yet but soon and then I will make this, definitely.

  13. Sydney

    This is LITERALLY one of the best side salads I’ve ever had. So delicious and a crowd pleaser; it was all I could do from smacking peoples fingers away, picking at it until I served it!

  14. diane

    Can you use English cucumbers for this recipe? They usually have skins that are thinner and don’t require peeling.

  15. Evelyn

    Made this tonight with English cucumber. My husband (not normally much of a vegetable guy) and I both liked it. It’s easy, tasty and nutritious – everything I look for in a side dish.

  16. Roger

    I just made this (almost) for an impromptu lunch for 3 today. I didn’t have almonds so substituted pistachios and walnuts, toasted per the directions. Used an English cuke and more grape halves than indicated as they were particularly good. Served on lettuce leaves and garnished with salted sunflower seeds. The wife and guest were equally complimentary. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Jayce Creed

    This sounds like absolute perfection. I currently have only the fresh garlic and vinegar at home, but I plan on making a quick run to the store tomorrow to get the other necessary ingredients in order to make this. Sounds and looks delicious!

  18. Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com

    Awww thanks so much for the reference. You’re an amazing cook and I’m honored. Now I’ll have to try your version! :)

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