Cucumber Salad

Quick and EasyGluten-FreeVeganCucumber

How to make cucumber salad that is simple and fresh with rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh dill or basil. Cucumber salad adds a fresh, crisp texture to your summer meal.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

How to Make Cucumber Salad

This easy cucumber salad consists of nothing more than the cucumbers, some rice vinegar, either dill or basil, and salt and pepper.

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).

Easy Cucumber Salad in white serving dish

Using Summer Cucumbers with Cucumber Salad

About this time of year, we start having an easy cucumber salad almost every night with dinner. If you are a gardener, you know how prolific cucumbers are, right? They can easily grow out of control, climbing up the tomato cages and all over other plants we may have in the garden bed.

Every other day I bring in a handful, peel them and chop them up for this simple, easy cucumber salad to serve as a side.

To seed or not to seed cucumbers

With cucumbers you can either seed them or not. Some varieties have thicker seeds that can be a little harder to digest or a little bitter if the cucumber is on the mature side.

There is a lot of flavor right around the seed, so if the cucumber’s seeds are still small and tender, you can easily leave them in.

To peel or not to peel cucumbers

Should you peel your cucumbers for cucumber salad? Again it depends on the variety and maturity of the cucumber. English or Persian cucumbers have thin skins which you do not need to peel.

Regular market cucumbers may have thicker peels that can be tough and bitter, so it’s best to peel those.

Updated July 12, 2018 : Introduction updated

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 (if using thick-skinned cucumbers), 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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35 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Phoenix Amsterdam

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

  • Penny

    Made this with basil from the garden and it ws so nice! Served with sesame noodles. Will have to try the honeydew combo mentioned above as well. Thanks Elise!

  • Sara

    In addition to being bitter, cucumber seeds can upset the digestion (causing gas). Many people who think cucumbers disagree with them find that with the seeds removed, they have no trouble. The easiest way to remove the seeds is to cut the cuke in half long-ways, and then scoop them out with a tablespoon.

  • Rand All

    I’m eating this salad right now, as I type. For something so simple, it’s surprisingly tasty.

  • Stash

    Toasted sesame seeds work well too in place of the basil.

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