This easy mayo-free Cucumber Salad is complete with not only fresh cucumbers, but also sweet peas, crunchy red onion, tangy tomatoes, fresh herbs and a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Perfect alongside a light summer meal or at a potluck!
This is one of my Side Dish recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
When summer rolls around, the cookouts start. And let me just say, I’m here for it. I’m such a huge fan of cookout and potluck foods!
Most cookouts are outdoors, weather permitting of course, and with the heat, taking a creamy mayo-based dish can be a bit dicey.
With a mayo-based dish, you have 1-2 hours before it’s unsafe to eat, and I just don’t like to take that risk.
That’s why I love this cucumber salad… it’s mayo-free, and instead uses a balsamic reduction vinaigrette that is the perfect blend of sweet and savory!
How to make a cucumber salad?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Slice vegetables. I don’t peel my cucumbers since the English and Persian cucumbers’ skins are thin, but it’s really up to you.
- Make dressing. I like to use a mason jar and shake it, or just whisk really vigorously. The balsamic reduction is thick so you’ll have to work it a little bit.
- Drizzle the dressing. The choice is yours; pour and toss, or drizzle and serve.
Because this recipe uses relatively few ingredients, you want to use the best quality ingredients you can source. Farmer’s markets are a great way to get locally grown and super fresh produce.
Variations of this recipe
- Homemade balsamic reduction – if you prefer to make your own, start with about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and cook it over med/med high heat until it’s reduced down to about 1/3 cup.
- Dressing options – this recipe is pretty versatile, so you can use any type of salad dressing you’d like. Greek, Italian, etc.
- Other seasonings – I kept this recipe simple, with just olive oil, balsamic reduction, salt, and pepper. If you’d like to add other seasonings, like garlic powder, paprika, etc, you certainly can.
I like to use a variety, but mainly seedless/English cucumbers, and mini cucumbers. I like the extra crunch from the smaller slices. If you have freshly grown cucumbers from your garden or the farmer’s market, those would be excellent!
You can, but in recipes like this, where simple and relatively few ingredients are used, I really prefer to use fresh dill. If you have to substitute, about 1/2 tsp would work.
For this recipe, if you make it then serve it fairly quickly, there’s no need to sweat them. If you plan to make it ahead of time, you might want to, in order to eliminate excess wetness.
Sweating involves salting cucumber slices and letting them sit for about an hour. This draws the excess water out of the cucumbers. Add the cucumber slices to a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, then set aside. After one hour, drain the liquids.
Making cucumber salad ahead of time
For the best crunch, I really recommend making the salad right before serving.
However, you can slice everything, make the balsamic reduction, etc ahead of time. Just store them separately in the refrigerator, then toss it all together when it’s time to eat.
Leftover cucumber salad should be refrigerated in an airtight container and should keep for up to 1 week.
I love making slicing easy by using this mandoline slicer! Just make sure to go slow, use the cut-resistant gloves and food holder.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2 long English cucumbers thinly sliced
- 2-3 mini or Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced into about 1" long pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1 or 2 Tbsp fresh dill minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or quartered if they're really large
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar reduction (Alessi is a brand we like)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Add cucumbers, red onion, peas, dill and tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Alternately, arrange them on a platter, as I've done in the photos.
- In a small bowl or mason jar, add balsamic vinegar reduction, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss to combine, or just drizzle and serve.
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- Both English and Persian cucumbers have relatively little seeds, and a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. Of course, you can peel them if you’d like.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.