Cucumber salad recipes for picnics and barbecues


Justin Lee’s Crushed Cucumber Salad | Photo courtesy of Fat Choy

Justin Lee’s Crushed Cucumber Salad | Photo courtesy of Fat Choy

Cucumbers are having a moment right now. TikTok, for its part, can’t get over the way Kendall Jenner slices them. Perhaps to compensate, users cook up the most innovative cucumber recipes, mash them up, turn them into caterpillar-like accordions, and even pickle them in Sprite.

It’s easy to see why this water-filled vegetable peaks during the warmer months. Cucumbers are hydrating, crunchy, and as absorbent as a sponge, making them excellent containers for marinades. Plus, they’re best when cold. So make these recipes, put them in Tupperware and enjoy them on your next summer outing.

Kari Heron, the blogger behind Chef and Steward, was introduced to this recipe when she moved to Dubai. “Over the many years I’ve lived there, I’ve developed a strong affinity for feta and mint, which feature heavily in Levantine cuisine,” she says. “The Western mind can’t easily grasp the combination, but trust me, your taste buds will thank you for it.”

For this recipe, you will need watermelon, cucumbers and feta cheese. The dressing is a simple lemon-olive oil combo, with some fresh dried mint for added depth of flavor. “Because watermelon is lower in carbs, it’s also a great way to satisfy a sweeter craving while keeping sugar intake in check,” says Heron. “Combining the fruit with protein-rich feta and good quality extra virgin olive oil slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream.”

On the presentation side, Heron likes to cut the watermelon into cubes and either make ribbons of cucumber with a mandolin, or slice them very thinly. Simply crumble the feta by hand and chop the mint on top or use the small leaves whole.

“It’s great as a meal or as a side to grilled meats or seafood, with a squeeze of lemon,” says Heron. “Grilled skewers are great for a picnic, and so is this salad. Simply separate the ingredients into separate containers and assemble them on the spot. »

Creamy cucumber salad
Katie Workman’s Creamy Cucumber Salad | Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

A creamy cucumber salad is a classic. Katie Workman, cookbook author and founder of The Mom 100, loves using this one to add some freshness to any menu. Slices of cucumber and red onion are tossed in sour cream, with fresh lemon juice, dill and chives.

“Feel free to play around with this recipe: under a cup of sliced ​​green onions, white and green parts, for red onions if you prefer,” Cookman says. “You might also consider adding a cup of cooked corn kernels to this for a summery twist. Feta or crumbled goat cheese at the end is optional – think about the rest of your menu, then decide if adding cheese is a good idea or exaggerated.

Workman likes to use mini cucumbers in her salads, “which are much more readily available now than they were even a few years ago,” she says. But you can also opt for regular cucumbers. Just cut them in half lengthwise, seed them and cut them into half moons. “If the skin on your cucumber is thin and tender enough, you don’t have to peel them,” she says. “Alternatively, peeling the cucumber results in a more delicate salad.” Workman likes to serve this recipe with a Greek turkey burger.

Crushed cucumber salad

The menu at Justin Lee’s “kind of Chinese, also vegan” restaurant in New York City, Fat Choy, wouldn’t be the same without his smashed cucumbers. Lee thinks of it wistfully as the Chinese version of Shake ‘n Bake. “Instead of shaking breadcrumbs with pork chops, we would mash cucumbers in plastic bags,” he says.

According to Lee, a good cucumber salad is one that plays on the refreshing nature of cucumber. “So ours is a little sweet, it’s a little creamy, it’s a little spicy,” he says. Lee prefers Persian cucumbers for this recipe because they are thin-skinned and often uniform in size. But English, or hot house, cucumbers will work just fine.

Fat Choy’s team uses the back of a cleaver to smash cucumbers — although you can also use the back of the knife — to achieve a hasselback shape and give the cucumbers more surface area to pick up the flavor. “We wanted this dressing to really sink in and sink in, and for the cucumber, which is moist, to actually pick up the dressing instead of just turning it over, which is pretty normal for a cucumber if you don’t marinate it. .”

Once the cucumbers are mashed, they’re tossed in salt and left in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, which “helps remove some of the liquid that’s in the cucumber, which kind of concentrates the flavor” , explains Lee. Then you’ll toss them in a mixture of tahini, lime juice, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and sesame oil.

Lee tops his smashed cucumbers with chili oil, balsamic vinegar, scallions and sesame seeds, but also suggests experimenting with crispy shallots, or anything else “on the wave of breadcrumbs or croutons – a textured sheet that can also absorb some of that dressing,” he says. “You can almost make a panzanella out of it if you have day-old bread.” The success of Lee’s take-out model proves that these cucumbers travel well, but you can always bring the sauces on the side to shake it all up at your outdoor party.

Fat Choy Crushed Cucumber Salad Recipe
Yield: 4 servings


  • 6 medium Persian cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of white miso
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilli oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, smash them with the back of a knife in a donkey pattern, then cut them diagonally into 2-3 inch pieces. Toss cucumbers with 1 tbsp. salt in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. The cucumbers will have released a little water, drain well before assembling the salad.

2. Whisk garlic, tahini, lime juice, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl and mix with cucumbers.

3. Plate the cucumber salad, garnish with chili oil, balsamic vinegar, green onions and sesame seeds.

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Jessica Sulima is a writer on Thrillist’s Food & Drink team. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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