Sweet & Spicy Cucumber Salad

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Have you ever seen the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead with Christina Applegate?  It was one of my sister and my favorites as pre-teens, and although at the time it wasn’t even close to being applicable to us, our favorite quote from the movie was Sue Ellen, every girl over 25 should have a cucumber in the house!  Now that this quote does apply to me, I admit to nearly always having cucumber on hand.  And yes, I snagged a couple of slices for my eyes when I made this salad.  ;)

I made this particular salad on a day that I felt like a wilted flower…it might as well have been 100 degrees in the shade with 90% humidity (no, I don’t live deep in the jungle, lol…quite the opposite, ironically).  Not long after eating this I felt rejuvenated and refreshed (cucumber really has this effect – it’s full of water and electrolytes).  And of course it was pretty tasty too.

So, a little bit about cucumber since it’s pretty interesting with quite a rich history.  Did you know it’s one of the oldest fruits?  (Yes fruit…scientifically, anyway, since it develops from a flower and has seeds.)  It has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years, and it was a favorite in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cuisine.  Its uses extend far beyond food though, as it has also been revered for its medicinal properties (such as diuretic, laxative, antioxidant, and detoxifying) and cosmetic purposes (there’s nothing like cucumber to reduce the puffiness around the eyes…and it’s also said to reduce freckles and wrinkles!).  (More info on cucumber can be found on Wikipedia, Leung’s Chinese Herb News, and Nutrition and You.) 

Sweet & Spicy Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 lb (about 6) Persian or Lebanese cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced*

1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl; add the cucumber and onion, and toss to combine.  Refrigerate 15 minutes before serving.

*If you can’t find Persian or Lebanese cucumbers, you can use 1 English cucumber; wash and halve it, then scrape out the seeds before thinly slicing.

Persian cucumber and red onion…pretty as a picture.  :)

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  1. says

    hi faith, how are you doing?
    cucumber salad is our traditional dish except that we add raw ripe pineapple slices to it and we dont use oil.
    must try your version with olive oil. cucumber sure is cooling for the body- thanks for that :)

  2. says

    I’ve been trying to like cucumbers and this dish looks like something I would really enjoy We’ll have to try it out!

    I haven’t seen that movie but I sure thought that quote applied to something else! :)

    • admin says

      BeadedTail, I’ve been laughing about that for the last 5 minutes! I didn’t think of it that way before, but now that you mention it, I guess that is a bit of a racy quote! :)

  3. says

    What a perfect summery salad, Faith. The colors are so lovely and cheering too. :-) How interesting that cucumber is so good for the skin!

  4. says

    I’m finally getting used to your blog’s new look, though I still prefer the old one. I can’t remember for sure, but it does seem like you’re better able to showcase your photographs on this one–does it allow for wider/larger photos? Anyway, I’m a fan of cucumber salad and adding some heat is a perfect idea! I liked that movie too, as a preteen. I think you’re younger than me, but I bet we’re pretty close in age.

  5. says

    I don’t like cucumbers but I do use them as an antidote to puffy eyes! I love Don’t tell mom the babysitter is dead. I think I’m going to watch it right now!

  6. says

    Such a wonderful fresh salad! I’m going to pick up some rice wine vinegar this week, a great choice with all your flavors. I’ve seen these cucumbers at Trader Joes in the past, I’ll check and see if they still carry them. Have a nice week Faith;-)

  7. says

    Your photos look so calm, cool, and refreshing – hard to believe that you\’re sweltering in 100+ degree heat, but I know you are :( I love Persian cucumbers, but the white cucumbers (peeled and seeded)from our garden will have to do for now. Lovely summer salad!

  8. says

    90% of our moms can whip up this salad without thinking about it … but it’s pretty easy to mess up the vinegar/oil mix. i’ve seen similar recipes with up to a cup of oil … no idea what they were thinking!

  9. says

    I love cucumber salads in the summer. I am growing my own for the first time this year. Not the Persian variety but I’m sure they will taste just as good in this tasty salad.

  10. says

    Hi! I just found your blog on foodgawker! Amazing! Beautiful! Inspiring! I totally love everything about it! I’m a huge fan of spicy cuke salad and enjoyed reading your version! I don’t know if you ever link up to foodie link-up parties, but I’ve got a good one going on the weekends and I feature 8 blogs each week. I’d love to feature any of your favorite recipes. You can share several recipes from any date. I’d love to have you over and join us!

  11. says

    I haven’t seen that movie before, but I know I want to eat this salad, ASAP! Thank you for sharing another inspired eat. I hope you had a good Friday…and are staying cool! I’m looking forward to a weekend of baking and relaxing. Much love!

  12. says

    I love that movie! I used to watch it every time it came on TV. Which was a lot!

    Persian cucumbers are delicious. This recipe reminds me of the only thing I like at PF Changs…their cucumber appetizer. And now I can make it myself! Thanks for the recipe.

    PS – I hope that Ramadan is going smoothly for you!

  13. says

    I adore cucumbers. Your salad looks wonderfully refreshing. My favorite use of cucumbers is with dill and Greek yogurt. I could have that on just about anything.

  14. says

    You know I made an almost identical cucumber salad today except instead of sugar I used mirin :) The sweet & spicy flavors are so nice, and perfectly refreshing. Loved reading the bit on history of the cucumber!

  15. says

    This looks amazing! I can imagine feeling good and refreshed after it too. This is so perfect for any type of meal or course. Beautiful photos, especially that cute cup!

  16. says

    I’ve been really struggling to find ways to enjoy all of the cucumbers my CSA has given me, but I think with this recipe my searching will be over!

  17. says

    Cucumbers are also a “must always have on hand” item for me! They’re seriously my favorite veg, and I could happily munch on them all summer long. They’re the perfect canvas for all sorts of flavors too- I like the sound of spicing things up a bit next time around!

  18. says

    i just recently made a cucumber salad as well. there is nothing so refreshing on a hot day. mine was more of a german-style version, with sweet vinegar and a dash of mustard, and i marinated my red onions in cloves and beet juice to add a little spice and color. but i like a good sweet and spicy combo and am looking forward to trying yours. you can find the recipe to mine on my site if your interested

  19. Suzan says

    I have made this 3 times in one week. My hubby who is an athlete loves it. Who am I kidding, so do I. Thanks …

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