This bright and healthy cucumber salad takes 4 fresh ingredients and a light citrus dressing! You can serve it next to almost anything like lemon garlic salmon, grilled chicken, beef kabobs. Or add it to your shawarma or gyro wraps! Be sure to check out my tips and video below.
I've been on a bit of a cucumber kick lately--lots of quick cucumber pickles, tzatziki sauce, cucumber sandwiches, not to mention all the Mediterranean salads that are never without cucumbers.
Four fresh ingredients make up this simple cucumber salad recipe: cucumbers, shallots, radish, and fresh dill. I toss them up in in a light dressing of Greek extra virgin olive oil and citrus.
I love how shallots, a milder onion, and peppery radish complement the cool cucumbers in this salad. And while I am all about dressing radish up with a good schmear of butter, this peppery vegetable is just as delicious alongside cucumbers as well. Chopped dill add a great fresh and bright finish (if you prefer, you can replace the dill with fresh mint, parsley, or basil)!
This cucumber salad literally takes 10 minutes (15 tops) and is the perfect last-minute side to anything you're making.
Which kind of cucumber should I use for cucumber salad?
You'll find different types of cucumbers at your local grocery store, so which kind is best for cucumber salad?
I personally prefer English cucumbers, which are also called hot-house cucumbers. They're large and thin with dark green skin. 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.
But if you can't find English cucumbers, your usual slicing cucumbers will work. You'll want to peel the waxy skin though.
How to cut cucumbers for salad?
There are many ways to cut cucumbers for salad. Whenever I make my cucumber and tomato salad, also referred to my lazy Mediterranean salad, I typically dice them into large cubes.
But for this recipe, I like to slice up my tall cucumbers into thin rounds. And, the more efficient, and maybe safer way to do this by using a mandolin slicer (affiliate link), if you have one.
Do I have to drain or "sweat" the cucumbers?
The process of "sweating" cucumbers, similar to what we do with eggplant, simply means to salt the cucumbers and set them aside (in a large colander placed in your sink) to drain out any excess water.
This step is completely optional, and I don't do it most of the time. But, if you don't plan to serve the cucumber salad right away, it is important to drain the cucumbers. And once they're done "sweating" give them a quick wipe to get rid of excess salt and proceed to make your salad.
Cucumber salad is best served fresh, though. It is not one I try to make ahead of time very often.
How to make cucumber salad?
This fresh and light salad is quick and simple. Check out my video below to see how I make it, but this is essentially how it goes:
- Slice up the vegetables. I slice the cucumbers into thin rings and try to slice the shallots and radish similarly for best presentation.
- Add the cucumbers, shallots, radish and a handful of fresh dill into one large bowl.
- Make the dressing. Combine about 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and juice of ½ lemon with 1 teaspoon dry oregano and Kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk well to combine.
- Pour the dressing over your salad and mix! Serve!
Like I mentioned earlier, serve this salad right away or as soon as you can, that way everything is nice and crunchy still.
If you need to work a little bit ahead, you can slice up all the ingredients, but hold on mixing them up with the dressing until you are ready to serve.
What can I use in place of dill?
If fresh dill is not available, you can use dry dill weed. Start with 1 to 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 teaspoon dried dill weed. But start small and go from there.
Don't like dill? Replace with with fresh mint, parsley, or even basil.
Need even more Mediterranean flavors? Add some pitted kalamata olives or a sprinkle of creamy feta!
More sides to try
Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozarella
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Simple Mediterranean Cucumber Salad Recipe
- 2 English cucumbers thinly sliced using mandoline or knife (see notes)
- 1 to 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 radishes thinly sliced
- About ¼ oz/9 g chopped fresh dill
- 3 to 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Place sliced cucumbers in a large mixing bowl. Add sliced shallots, radish, and fresh dill.
- In a small bowl (or mason jar), combine the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper.) Whisk (or cover and shake the mason jar) until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss again to combine, making sure the cucumber salad is well coated with the dressing. Enjoy!
- Not serving this salad immediately? Drain the cucumbers first. To do this, place cucumber slices in a colander, add a large pinch of kosher salt, toss (it does not matter how much salt you add, most of it will drain with the liquid.) Leave to drain for about 20 minutes to let osmosis do its thing. Pat dry, then continue with the recipe from here.
- How far in advance to make this salad? This is such a quick salad to make, it is best served on the day of, even if you follow the extra step of draining the cucumbers. If you need to, you can do some prep and store ingredients separately in the fridge, then toss them all together a few minutes before serving.
- Can I use dry dill weed instead? If fresh dill is not available, you can use dry dill weed. Start with 1 to 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 teaspoon dried dill weed...but again, I'd start small.
- Variations: If you dislike dill all together, you can use your favorite herb instead. Fresh mint or parsley would be great here. Also, if you're a fan of kalamata olives and feta cheese, you can sprinkle a bit in for more flavor!
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and all-natural and organic spices.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in spring of 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for your videos. Looking forward to try out your recipes. Do you have any full fresh fish recipe videos?
Hi, Esther. Yes! We have a few great ones with videos: Mediterranean Red Snapper and Greek-Style Roasted Branzino. Enjoy!
Made this last night for dinner. Super easy and super delicious. Beautiful as well. Will be making this often especially during the summer months
Awesome! Thanks, Sue!
I love this salad, so easy, tastes so fresh. I make it all the time now. Thanks so much for all your great recipes.
What kind Mandolin Slicer do you use!
I just use a basic OXO slicer. Here is the direct link from Amazon: https://amzn.to/30dxrFh (affiliate)
One of my favorites! So easy and delicious!
This is so delicious!! Such an amazing side dish!
Thank you so much, Jen!
This recipe was on the FB page and it sounded so good, I made it to go with dinner tonight. It's delicious - have to say I really love your recipes!!
Thanks so much, Leslie!