I have a friend who often orders salads at restaurants but she almost always asks for the salad without lettuce. Inevitably, there’s always someone at the table who is befuddled by this. Julie always answers the same way: “iceberg lettuce is a waste of chewing time.” Now, I’m not as anti-lettuce as Julie, but I see her point.
There are very few vitamins and nutrients in iceberg lettuce (the kind of lettuce most restaurants use for salads) and why not focus on the good stuff in the salad? Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots… mmm.
So a while back, Julie got me thinking: why not make salads that really showcase a particular veggie? Or at least don’t make the lettuce the star. This cucumber salad was one of my first adventures into this veggie philosophy.
To be honest, there’s nothing really genius about this recipe. It’s essentially a veggie with a vinegar-herb dressing, and if you’re courageous, you could definitely try variations on this theme. I picked cucumbers because they have a light flavor and they tend to soak up the juices and flavors they are dressed in, so each bite is super flavorful. But I could totally see a version of this salad using peppers, carrots, and even celery.
And when I think “cucumber,” I immediately think “dill.” They just go so well together. I would use a different herb or spice flavor for a different vegetable. But dill is just perfect for cucumber. The spring onion (also known as green onion) and garlic add their flavor and almost spiciness to the mix, while honey gives it an almost imperceptible, but important, sweetness.
You might be thinking, “why can’t I just slice up some cucumbers and pop open a bottle of store-bought dressing?” I encourage you to read the ingredient list and nutritional info before you do that. Most store bought dressings have a lot of sugar, preservatives, and other processed ingredients. If that doesn’t stop you from using store-bought dressing, this will: homemade dressings like the one used in this recipe simply taste better! And you can always make extra and keep it in a screw-top mason jar in the fridge for a while to use on more cucumbers or other salads.
Now… here’s a little secret… in the recipe, it says “serve immediately.” And, for sure, it’s great as soon as it’s all mixed together. But if you’re a fan of the bright flavor of vinegar, put any leftover salad in a large baking dish so every cucumber is sitting in the vinegar mix. Cover and chill overnight and the cucumbers will really soak up that vinegar-dill flavor. You’ve basically taken the first step towards making dill pickles! But your cucumbers will still be crisp and the flavors will be nice and tangy and bright. Enjoy!
(Make this next: Simple Paleo Salad-in-a-Jar with Mustard Vinaigrette)
- 2 pounds cucumber
- 2 spring onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 2 tsp dried dill or 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- ½ tbsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp organic black pepper
- Peel and slice cucumber thinly.
- In a large bowl mix cucumber and green onion.
- In a small glass mix vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, black pepper and dill.
- Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber, toss to coat.
- Adjust taste with more salt and black pepper if needed and serve immediately.
I love cucumbers, usually soak them (sliced) in 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 water, sliced onions, just enough sour cream to make it slightly thickened up, pepper. Your recipe sounds good for a change-up, I am going to try this “Best cucumber salad” never thought about dill, sounds great.
Thanks Carmen! I hope you’ll like it:)
I have always loved cucumbers, and buy Kirbys. My salad is similar. I cut cucs into very small pieces, small pieces of tomatoes and onions. Of course, salt, and use olive oil and a tad of balsamic. Love it.
I do the same thing except that I love fresh garden tomatoes and Visalia onions in it. So fresh & cool tasting, best coolest summer dish.
I sometimes use iceberg lettuce cause one must remember the water content in it. I know I don’t drink enough water so, lettuce & cucumbers help fill that need
I like a Salad of cucumber, peppers of any Color and tiny tomatoes
Peppers and tiny tomatoes are a tasty and colorful addition.
Sounds like the perfect add! I live color in my food
The cukes should be sliced, sprinkled with salt and left to sit for 15 minutes or so, then drained of any liquid before dressing. That takes away any bitterness and helps keep them crispy.
I came across this recipe tonight! I made this along side dragons breath chicken.. Hands down the best cucumber salad I’ve ever had !! Thank you for this recipe, its a huge hit with my household right now
So glad you are enjoying this salad. But do tell…what is Dragons Breath Chicken?
I’ve always lightly salted the sliced cucumbers and let them sit in a colander for several hours or overnight to let the bitter liquid sweat out. They are nice and crisp. If you do not soak them the bitter liquid will leach out into your dressing. Have you tried this?
My mom and grandma used to always soak in salt water, then rinse & drain. This must be why. Thanks
I salt the cucumbers and set them between paper towels to leach out some liquid. Only takes 45 minutes, then squeeze gently. Still crisp. Will try this recipe.
I just made this tonight for our picnic by the river tomorrow. I put the dressing on it to let it meld overnight. I gave a sample to my hubby and he said “This is really good! Why can’t we have this more often?” Being of Hungarian heritage he used to eat cucumber salad as a kid and the one time I had it, they used a creamy dressing that was rather bland. I never thought I would ever make cucumber salad after having that.
I put about a tbs of freshly dried dill I grew on my balcony and it is really tasty! I cut back the salt just a tad because I tend to like less than most people. I will add this to my repertoire of regular recipes to make!
I use a similar dressing on my potato salad, which always has cucumber, boiled egg and a shredded carrot added. Yummiest ever.
My daughter has insisted on iceberg lettuce on her sandwich for years. “More Crunch”. While I understand lack of nutrients, the crunch factor still makes iceberg a good choice when balanced correcly.
I threw in a jalapeno just for giggles…
I know I’m in the minority but I hate dill. What would you suggest instead?
Dried mint. It’s a delicious combo but perhaps I’d eliminate the honey then.
AWESOME love this I also do a simple dressing with lime fresh lime juice which is a treat on cucumber
Sounds so good. Always loved cucumber sandwiches. Buttered bread. Sliced cukes. Salt and pepper and cukes drizzled with malt vinegar. Divine. But now a thing of the past so will try your salad as replacement. Get the feeling it will hit the spot. ?
I use rice wine vinegar (no sugar added ) with tomato quarters, small bits of cauliflower, sliced red onion, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (sometimes hearts of palm). The rice wine vinegar, low acidity and flavorful, is bought in a large size bottle at an Asian grocery store. I don’t prepare cucumbers other than rinse and slice them. When the veggies are gone, I refill the used vinegar solution in my storage dish with more veggies and add some fresh vinegar to it. Always have this cucumber salad in the fridge in the summer time. I start a fresh batch after the third refill. And it is low calorie and low carbs!
I like to add finely sliced radishes and sweet onion to my cucumber salads, with Rice Wine Vinegar.
Do you recommend English or regular cucumbers? How many cups of sliced cucumber would you use? Thanks.
This was quite nice with dinner tonight, thanks!
Great recipe idea for Cucumber Salad! They look delicious! Can’t wait to try all of them! Cheers!!
Just made this. It’s tasty and I’ll make it again!
I read about iceberg lettuce being a waste of chewing time so I thought I would tell u about a friend who has prostate cancer and blood probs.. He can only eat iceberg lettuce..all the others affect him bcos of Vitamin K prob..
Choice of cucumbers is so important .
Large spongy cucumbers with rhino hide skin are a no no.
Chose a crisp cucumber which will have small tight seeds and preferably a thin skim.
Cucumbers which are generally not quite ready to plant are the way to go!!
The dressing sounds good but fresh dill is far more fragrant,and less is required.
I have just begun to make the sauces from Paleo they are so delicious I can’t believe I ate the bought stuff ?I made the terryaki sauce delicious ?Thank you for all the wonderful recipes ?I always look forward to the next meal am making and so is my husband ?
Love this salad. I also add tomatoes, red peppers, and yellow peppers
I’ve been making cucumber salad for years, with a no measuring method, with cucumbers I’ve grown. Slice the cukes thinly, add thinly sliced onion, regular or sweet, equaling 1/4 to 1/3 the cucumbers, by volume. Toss with enough olive oil to thinly coat, add red wine vinegar, dill and fresh ground pepper to taste. I usually let mine marinate before serving.
TY! It was a hit and I was hit up for the recipe! Simple and tasty!!!
This very easy to afford & prepare salad is wonderfully refreshing and delicious! Just great if you don’t have a lot of time, but want you & family to eat healthy! Thanx for recipe..♥
Yum, yum. Yum!