This Lemon and Cucumber Salad is an easy and refreshing side dish, perfect for a hot day.
Hot days call for cool dishes, and what could be cooler and more refreshing than a crisp, cucumber salad? This version, featuring a pop of citrus flavor from freshly squeezed lemon juice, pairs especially well with lighter cookout mains like grilled chicken and seafood.
Why To “Sweat” The Cucumbers
Did you know that cucumbers are approximately 95% water? While that makes cucumbers a great food to help keep you hydrated, when it comes to cooking with them, things can get… well… watery.
That’s why you want to “sweat” the cucumbers before using them in this salad, salting them and allowing them to release their excess water. This way, when you mix the sweated cucumbers into the salad, your flavorful dressing won’t become diluted.
Do I Need To Slice The Cucumbers With A Mandoline?
If you own a mandoline, by all means go ahead and use it to slice these cucumbers quickly and thinly. I have two mandolines and a food processor sitting in my kitchen cabinets, but, honestly, I prefer to just use a sharp knife for this job. It’s less for me to clean, and the cucumbers don’t need to be that thin. I usually aim for between 1/16” and ⅛” — totally doable with no special equipment required.
If you’re making a double or triple batch, you may want to break out the mandoline though for speed and convenience.
What To Serve With Lemon And Cucumber Salad
Any main dish you might serve on a hot summer day would likely pair well with this cooling side dish. Think lighter grilled proteins like chicken and seafood, or even other salads, like these recipes.
- How to Grill Chicken Wings
- BBQ Salmon and Zucchini Skewers
- Grilled Salmon
- Lentil Salad
- Chinese Chicken Salad
Can I Make This Salad Ahead Of Time?
Not only can you make this salad ahead of time, you really should do so. I’ve tasted it both immediately after tossing the cucumbers with the dressing and after they’ve had a few hours to marinate, and it’s definitely worth the wait to allow the flavors to sink in.
That said, ideally you’ll want to serve this Lemon Cucumber Salad within the first day or so while the cucumbers are still crisp.Print
- 1 and ½ lb. cucumbers, about 2–3 medium, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 lemon yield
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Place the cucumber slices in a colander set over a bowl. With your hands or a wooden spoon, toss the cucumbers with the salt to coat.
- Transfer the colander and bowl to the refrigerator and let the salted cucumbers drain for 1 hour.
- While the cucumbers drain, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the sesame oil.
- Pat the drained cucumbers dry with a paper towel, and place the cucumbers in the medium bowl with the dressing. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
- For the best flavor, let the salad marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, before serving.
Photos by Dawn Viola.