Simple Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
This 15-minute cucumber salad recipe with shallots, radish, and fresh herbs is textbook Mediterranean diet. It is light, healthy, and you’ll love the bright and refreshing flavors. Vegan and gluten free, by the way. You can serve it next to almost anything like grilled chicken, beef kabobs, or fish. Or, even use it to jazz up these vegan wraps or these shawarma sandwiches. So many possibilities!
Be sure to check out my tips below for best results.
Mediterranean Cucumber Salad Recipe
So few ingredients make up this simple Mediterranean cucumber salad: cucumbers, radish, shallots, and fresh dill; of course, tossed in a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil and citrus.
I love how shallots, a milder onion, and peppery radishes compliment the cool cucumbers in this salad. Chopped fresh dill–or, if you prefer, mint or parsley–add a great fresh finish.
It literally takes 10 to 15 minutes to put this cucumber salad together, which makes it the perfect last-minute menu addition!
But, let’s talk about the star ingredient for a moment: Cucumber
Cucumber’s greatest strength is also its downfall. On the one side, watery cucumbers are refreshing and cool. On the other hand, when chopped or sliced, cucumbers can make things soggy and miserable (sometimes bitter, depending on which kind of cucumbers you used.) Not to fear, there are ways around this.
Cucumber Salad Tips for Best Results
Our goal with this cucumber salad is a gorgeous and refreshing dish. For best results, I have two tips for you:
1. Use English cucumbers, also known as seedless cucumbers or hothouse cucumbers. You’re probably thinking a cucumber is a cucumber, right? But there are so many varieties out there.
For this particular salad, I like to use English cucumbers. These are the long ones that are typically wrapped in plastic when you buy them. English cucumbers have thinner edible skin, so you don’t have to peel them. But, more importantly, they are seedless, which makes them sweeter and far less watery. While all parts of a cucumber are naturally full of water, it’s the seeds that contain the most liquid. So by choosing English cucumber, you’ve already lessened this problem.
2. Secondly, drain cucumbers if you’re not serving this salad immediately. This cucumber salad is best if served pretty quickly after you make it. But, let’s say you’re not serving it right away or in the next half hour or so, then it’s best to do the work of drawing as much of the water out of the cucumber. How?
To do this, simply place the cucumber slices in a large colander inside your sink. Sprinkle with a generous pinch or two of kosher salt (doesn’t matter how much, it’ll drain with the liquid anyway.) Leave it for 30 minutes or so to drain, then tap cucumbers dry and follow the recipe from there.
I’d still advice you to make this recipe on the day you plan to serve it and not too far in advance.
1. If fresh dill is not available, you can use dry dill weed. Start with 2 teaspoons of dry dill weed and add more to your liking. The general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of dill weed for 1 tablespoon of fresh dill. This recipe has about 4 tablespoons fresh dill, so technically, you can use up to 4 tsp dried dill weed…but again, I’d start small.
2. Prefer a different herb than dill? Fresh mint or parsley will work very well in this salad.
3. Need even more Mediterranean flavors? Sprinkle a little feta or add some kalamata olives.