This cucumber salad recipe with red onion and an easy dressing with olive oil and red wine vinegar is a healthy Greek side dish perfect for every occasion.
Cucumbers are some of my favorite vegetables because of their crunchy texture and their refreshing taste. If there’s a recipe that highlights their character more than any other, then in my humble opinion it’s this simple and easy Greek cucumber salad with just a few ingredients and minimum effort. All you need to have is cucumbers, one red onion and some capers (or black olives). For the dressing some olive oil and a bit of good quality red wine vinegar will do the job.
All these may be simple ingredients but something magical happens when they come together. Every flavor and every smell is accentuated in a way that makes me not to want for this salad to end. Seriously. If you give me an extra large bowl filled with this cucumber salad, I could eat it all in one sitting. Fortunately, cucumbers are over 90% water so I can eat as much as I want without worrying about the calories.
What can I make with lots of cucumbers?
If you find yourself in a situation where you have a lot of cucumbers in your pantry, then except for the obvious (and by this I mean this cucumber salad) you can also try this very refreshing cucumber and Gin cocktail or this Greek horiatiki salad which you can serve in two ways.
What kind of cucumbers you should use for this salad
- Persian cucumbers are very similar to English cucumbers but most of the times they’re shorter. Their length can vary though and their skin can have small bumps. They have a mild flavor and thin skin something that makes them great for salads (you’ll probably won’t need to peel them).
- English cucumbers are long and thin with dark green skin.In some cases, you may find them wrapped in plastic at supermarkets, but you can find unwrapped ones at farmers markets. They have a mild flavor, thin skin and minimal seeds.
- Garden cucumbers are relatively smooth-skinned and dark green in color. Because sometimes they’re waxed and their skin can be thick or bitter, it is best to peel them. If their seeds are too big you will also have to remove them with a small spoon before using them.
You can find more information about the different types of cucumbers in this article by The Spruce Eats
Should I peel cucumbers for salad?
Peeling or not the cucumbers will depend on the variety you will use. The best advice I can give you is to taste a slice and if the skin seems too hard or bitter, then it’s best to peel them. Also, if the cucumber is too thick and the seeds too big, then it is best to cut it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon. Then you can slice each half as you would with the whole cucumber.
Is it better to eat cucumbers with or without the skin?
Cucumbers are more than 90% water and like most of vegetables and fruits the majority of their nutrients can be found in their skin. To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals.
How do you cut cucumbers for salad?
For this recipe you can either use a sharp knife and a cutting board or a mandoline slicer. Greek grandmas still use to cut cucumbers by holding them over the bowl with the one hand and cutting them with the other using a sharp knife. But because this can be very dangerous, especially if the knife is very sharp and you’re not used to this method, I strongly recommend using the cutting board or the mandoline slicer. With the mandoline slicer you have the advantage that all the slices will be the same thickness.
Should I refrigerate cucumbers?
Cucumbers are best stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator because they are sensitive to low temperatures. However, since I mostly use them in salads and I want them to be cold, I like to keep them stored in my refrigerator inside a food-safe bag with one or two pieces of kitchen paper inside the bag. The kitchen paper absorbs the moisture and keeps them fresh longer. Without it the cucumbers will extract moisture inside the bag something that will cause them to rot very quickly.
- 4 persian cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1/4 – 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon good quallity red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt
Transfer all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt and the vinegar according to your taste.
Cover the bowl with cling film or a lid and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes for the flavors to develop.
Instead of capers you can use sliced and pitted Kalamata olives.
If your red wine vinegar is not very strong you may need to add more. Taste and adjust according to your preference.
If you want, you can add some feta cheese to make things more interesting.
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