This Cucumber Salad Recipe is the perfect light and refreshing lunch or go-to side dish. Filled with crunchy cucumbers, quick-pickled red onions, and creamy avocado, it’s easy to enjoy this healthy cucumber salad year-round with your favorite chicken, fish, or shrimp recipes!
Easy Cucumber Salad
You guys, cucumbers need more love. Fresh, economical, and crazy low in calories, it’s somewhat surprising that cucumbers take the backseat in the fruit world.
Yes, the cucumber is a fruit! Super cool, right?
Although there are, yes, many cucumber recipes and cucumber salad recipes fluttering around the internet these days, I decided to make my very own version of the very best cucumber salad.
Zesty, crunchy, creamy, and FRESH, I can almost guarantee that you will love it too! And, if you’re anything like me, the cravings will soon follow.
Whether you enjoy a bowl of this cucumber salad for lunch or as a side with your favorite grilled veggies skewers, shrimp, chicken, or fish, this easy cucumber salad is a no-brainer and easy way to incorporate more cucumbers into your everyday meal plan.
Plus, it’s completely gluten-free, vegetarian, and easily customized to be vegan and dairy-free.
Ingredients & Frequently Asked Questions
The variety of cucumber salads out there is, well, a lot. We have creamy and light cucumber salads, German, Japanese, and Greek cucumber salads, Grandma’s cucumber salad, and many many more.
This version is my version. With elements of creaminess from the avocado and the cheese, the rest of this salad is completely refreshing, crunchy, and zesty. The perfect balance.
You will need the following ingredients:
- red onions
- rice vinegar
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- dried oregano
- English cucumber
- casero cheese (or feta)
Are cucumbers healthy?
Yes, cucumbers are a healthy, low-calorie, and nutrient-rich snack.
- Low in calories. If a low-calorie snack is what you’re after, then you’re in luck because the cucumber comes in at just 8 calories per half-cup!
- Promote hydration. The cucumber is made of 96% water.
- Loaded with nutrients. High in vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Just remember to leave that peel on there as it’s the healthiest part!
What type of cucumber should I use in salads?
Whenever I plan to make a salad- especially cucumber salads- I will always purchase English Cucumbers.
Long and narrow, English cucumbers are not waxed. Nearly always found wrapped in plastic, the skin of the English cucumber is much thinner, and thus more edible when compared to other cucumbers.
English cucumbers also have smaller seeds which make them easier to eat. As a result, most people see little need to de-seed (or peel) these cucumbers.
Most importantly, English cucumbers have the most favorable taste as they are less bitter, mild, and somewhat sweet.
Can I make this salad without cheese?
This salad is just as delicious without cheese. Omit the cheese and the result is a completely gluten-free and vegan cucumber salad. Perfect summer family get-togethers and BBQs!
What fresh herbs would taste good with this salad?
If I were to add any fresh herbs, I would add just a little of one of the following:
- Fresh dill
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Cucumber Salad
Fortunately, this salad is super easy to make and looks really pretty when put together.
Start to finish, it will take between 30-40 minutes to prepare. The total time is a little longer because I recommend that you pickle your own red onions. I promise it’s the easiest thing you will ever do in your whole life. It takes about 30 minutes and no fancy equipment.
Ok, so let’s get started.
1. Start pickling your onions
At least 30-40 minutes before you plan to assemble your cucumber salad, you want to get those onions going. While you wait for approximately 5 cups of water to come to a boil, use a mandoline slicer (if you have one) or a sharp knife to thinly slice your onions.
Once the water is boiling and the onions are sliced, transfer the onions to a wire mesh strainer and slowly pour the water over the onions. This kickstarts the softening, much like blanching would do. Next, mix the onions with the rice vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar in a medium-sized bowl or jar and let them soak for at least 20-30 minutes.
2. Make the vinaigrette
Fortunately, this particular vinaigrette is super easy and just requires that you dump all the ingredients in a jar or bowl and mix, whisk, or shake. Season well, to taste, keeping in mind that aside from the pickled onions, the salad will be made up of just three things- the cucumbers, avocado, and cheese (if using).
- Important notes: If you’re thinking, this is too much, I just want something that I can literally throw together as soon as I get home from work, I FEEL you. Fortunately, you can easily prepare the quick-pickled red onions and vinaigrette ahead of time. Yes, you can also slice the cucumber ahead of time (just keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy to prevent them from drying out). The only thing that should be sliced just before serving is the avocado.
3. Chop and Assemble
Some people like to slice their cucumbers on a mandoline, but I say avoid the risk and just use a good knife. Unless, of course, you’re really bad at slicing or you need or want super thin cucumber slices.
Transfer the sliced cucumber to a large bowl and toss with a couple of tablespoons of the prepared vinaigrette and then transfer to a large salad bowl (or simply leave it in the mixing bowl). Add some pickled red onions (shaking off as much excess vinegar as possible) and the avocado. Mix gently with the rest of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with as much or as little Casero cheese as you’d like.
Season with freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
That’s it. Easy, right?
This cucumber salad recipe is best enjoyed immediately, especially if mixed with avocado.
If, however, the avocado is served on the side or left off, your salad will stay fresh for up to 5 days when placed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
To make this recipe in advance, simply prepare the quick-pickled red onions, vinaigrette, and chop the cucumbers up to 4 days in advance. Keep everything stored separately and in the refrigerator. Toss everything together just before serving.
Popular Cucumber Salad Variations
The cucumber salad variations are countless. Here are a few popular favorites.
- Creamy cucumber salad. Here you’ll usually find thinly sliced cucumbers mixed with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Often times people will add thinly sliced red or white onions, fennel, and fresh dill.
- The super-simple cucumber salad. Perfect for picnics and potlucks, this barebones cucumber salad is made with thinly sliced cucumbers usually tossed in a light vinaigrette. Assuming you like cucumbers, even if just a little, you’ll probably love this refreshing bowl of summer sunshine.
- The Asian cucumber salad. Popular Asian elements are usually incorporated. This may include green onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, or rice vinegar. Try this miso cucumber salad.
- The fruity cucumber salad. Pile in the fresh fruit. Some of my favorite fruits include watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, and strawberries.
- Cucumber tomato salad. A match made in heaven. Summer garden cucumbers and tomatoes with or without a light a zesty vinaigrette. What’s better? Try this balsamic tomato basil salad.
What’s your favorite cucumber salad recipe?
More cucumber recipes,
If you try making this Cucumber Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Cucumber Salad Recipe
For the pickled onions (optional)
For the vinaigrette
For the salad
- 2 large English cucumbers - sliced into thin rounds
- 2 avocados - ripe, yet firm
- ½ cup casero cheese - (or feta), crumbled
For the pickled onions
- Bring approximately 5 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the red onion.
- Mix the rice vinegar with the sugar in a medium jar or bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sliced onions in a fine mesh strainer and slowly pour the boiled water over the onions. Allow the water to fully drain before transferring them to the container with the vinegar. Stir gently and allow onions to rest for at least 30 minutes to overnight. Keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For the vinaigrette
- Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a medium bowl until fully combined. Season with additional salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar, to taste.
For the Salad
- Add the cucumbers to a large bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of the prepared vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Transfer to a large salad bowl and top with the sliced avocado, pickled red onions, and additional vinaigrette. Gently toss to combine and top with crumbled Casero cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!
- Click here to learn more about pickling red onions.
- You may prepare the pickled red onions up to two weeks in advance and the vinaigrette up to two days in advance.
- Casero cheese is my favorite cheese for this recipe given its smooth, creamy taste, but feta cheese would make an excellent substitute.
- This recipe, as written, is gluten-free and vegetarian.
- Please refer to the post for answers to frequently asked questions.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)