Sweet and tangy Cucumber Salad is a perfect side dish for your summer BBQ or potluck. Thinly sliced cucumbers and red onion are marinated in a sweetened vinegar with spices creating an intense delicious side dish. Quick and simple to prepare.
Kudos to my brother, Eric, for introducing me to Cucumber Salad. He bought some at the local BBQ joint along with some ribs. I tried a bite and it was refreshing and quite good. I knew exactly what the ingredients were and started creating a recipe in my head to recreate this salad at home. Sometimes the simplest things are the best and this was one of those things.
What are the ingredients? Cucumbers – either your basic garden cucumber or English cucumbers (my preference), thinly sliced red onion, dill – either fresh or dried, sugar, kosher salt, and crushed red pepper, and pepper. The crushed red pepper brings some spicy heat to offset the sweetness of the sugar. It’s a delicious marriage of flavors.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler. If you have a mandoline, this would be the time to use it to thinly and evenly slice the cucumbers and onion. Otherwise, use a sharp knife and thinly slice the cucumbers about ⅛” thick then do the same with the red onion. I used ½ red onion for 2 pounds of cucumbers. I used English cucumbers because I prefer lesser seeds although your basic garden cucumber found at every supermarket works very well.
As for the spices, you will need dill – either fresh or dried. If using fresh, chop about 2 tablespoons. You can use more if you like and it doesn’t have to be exact. If using dried, use 2 teaspoons. Kosher salt and the peppers to your taste or use my recommendations.
The vinegar I use is red wine vinegar which will darken the salad when marinating since the vinegar isn’t’ clear in comparison to plain white vinegar. You can use red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar. I’ve used all three and they are all good. Choose what you have available.
A note about the vinegar – if you don’t mind tart, then prepare this recipe as is. If it seems too tart for your taste, refrain from adding more sugar. Instead, add two tablespoons of water to mellow the tartness of the vinegar. The salt and marinade will draw out the moisture from the cucumbers creating more liquid. This liquid will also mellow the tartness of the vinegar.
The best way to marinate this is to prepare everything and put it in a zip top bag. Remove the air in the bag, zip it, squish it to get is all mixed together, and lay it flat to marinate in the fridge or at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry. Flip it over once or twice to make sure everything gets covered. You can marinate it overnight allowing you to make it ahead. The cucumbers will lose it’s crispness but the flavor is intense. It awakens the taste buds.
When you are ready to serve, transfer it to your favorite serving bowl and you’re done. Quick, simple, and delicious salad with little effort. Seriously, anyone can make this Cucumber Salad.
Thanks, Eric for introducing me to Cucumber Salad and motivating me to create and recreate in my kitchen.
- 2 pounds garden or English cucumbers
- ½ medium sized red onion
- ½ cup red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- Thinly and evenly slice the cucumbers ⅛” thick. If you would like the cucumbers to maintain a more of a crunch, slice ¼” thick and place in a zip top plastic bag.
- Thinly and evenly slice the red onion ⅛” thick. These you want as thin as possible. There is no exact measurement for the onion. Just use half of a medium sized or more if you prefer. Add onions to bag with cucumbers.
- Add remaining ingredients to the bag, squeeze out the air, zip it, squish it to get is all mixed together, and lay it flat to marinate in the fridge or at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry. Flip it over once or twice to make sure everything gets covered. You can marinate it overnight allowing you to make it ahead. The cucumbers will lose it’s crispness but the flavor is intense.
- Transfer cucumber salad to a bowl and serve cold.
- Recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
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