Cucumber salad is one of those “side salads” that I just can’t seem to live without—this slightly more substantial version sure hits the spot!
Cool as a Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is something that I grew up eating a lot of, and I thoroughly enjoy it to this day.
My parents are immigrants from Eastern Europe where cucumber salad is one of those very common staples that are enjoyed as a light, crisp, clean, and refreshing “side” salad with many different types of meals, lending that bit of cool crunch and a hint of tanginess that refreshes the palate.
A typical cucumber salad is usually pretty basic, and consists of cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon, some salt and a drizzle of olive oil; but it can very easily (and scrumptiously!) be jazzed up by adding in a few more ingredients, making it a bit more substantial and richly textured.
And that’s what this cool and clean cucumber salad recipe is all about!
It’s loaded with a bunch of fresh and tasty extras such as tomatoes, chickpeas, red onions, fresh herbs, and feta cheese, and dressed in a light and easy combination of lemon and olive oil—so good, so refreshing, and so healthy!
Simple Cucumber Salad Gets Jazzed Up
A basic cucumber salad is one of the easiest and most delicious salads I prepare. I love the convenience of adding all of the ingredients to one bowl, and then simply dressing everything with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, and some sea salt.
And this cool, crisp and “clean”, and slightly jazzed up version is no different!
I like to use fresh Persian cucumbers, as these do not contain the large seeds, and their skin is very thin so there’s no need to peel them.
I also love using sweet cherry tomatoes, along with a sprinkle of red onion, some feta cheese for salty-sharp creaminess, and some chickpeas for added texture and protein.
This hearty and healthy cucumber salad is delicious enjoyed on its own, straight out of the bowl, spoonful by spoonful; or as a fresh and flavorful side to your favorite main dish.
Tips and Tidbits for Cucumber Salad:
- Persian cucumbers work great: I’m a huge fan of Persian cucumbers, as they can be eaten whole—no seeding or peeling necessary, and absolutely delicious!
- Fresh herbs for extra flavor: I love the combination of fresh parsley, dill, and mint for this hearty salad—it creates a really fresh and cool flavor. But you can use any one of these as opposed to all three, or even substitute cilantro.
- Cherry tomatoes for sweetness: Bright little cherry tomatoes add a bit of juicy sweetness, but feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand, or that you prefer. Simply dice them up and toss ’em in!
- Substitution for fresh lemon juice: You can substitute red wine vinegar for the lemon juice if you prefer, as this is also adds a nice subtle and tasty tang!
- Make ahead: If you’d like to prep the salad ahead of time, simply add all of your chopped veggies, feta, chickpeas and herbs to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and keep cold. Then, when you are ready to serve the salad, drizzle in the olive oil and the lemon juice, sprinkle in the sea salt, and toss everything together.
- Leftovers: Any leftovers from this salad are just as delicious the next day—simply cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge!
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serve 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
• 8 Persian cucumbers, diced into chunks
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 cup chickpeas (rinsed)
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1/4 cup finely sliced red onion
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of about 1/2 medium lemon)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Sea salt, to taste
–Place the diced cucumbers, the cherry tomatoes, the chickpeas, the red onion, ¼ cup of the feta cheese, half of the dill, half of the parsley and half of the mint into a large bowl; add the lemon juice and the olive oil, along with a couple of good pinches of sea salt, and gently toss together to combine.
–Spoon the salad out onto a serving platter or into a salad bowl, and sprinkle over top the remaining 1/4 cup of feta cheese and the remaining herbs, and serve.