Cool Cucumber & Peppermint Salad
Stay cool with this refreshing cucumber and peppermint salad. It is just the right thing on those extra hot summer and early fall days and evenings.
We definitely get our share of those during the summer and fall here in Sacramento, California. During the summer months and into the fall (in warm climate areas), Farmers markets and grocery store produce sections are flooded with all different kinds of cucumbers. Most cucumbers taste great in this salad.
Cucumbers for the Cool Cucumber & Peppermint Salad
The last few years, I have been growing cucumbers in my garden and the Armenian cucumber, has become one of my favorites especially for this salad. They are sometimes called “Armenian Yard Long” for good reason. If you let them hang on the vine, they will get really long, I had one that grew to almost 36 inches. These cucumbers taste better, though when they are around 12–16 inches. They have a great cool refreshing cucumber taste and a pale green flesh, almost the same color as their skin. Their skin is thin and sometimes tender enough that the cucumbers don’t need peeling. Give it a taste with and without peeling to see what you like. I usually peel them.
Korean Melons for the Cool Cucumber & Peppermint Salad
Korean melons are really refreshing in this salad too if you are lucky enough to find them at your local Farmers market or specialty grocery store. They are very similar to cucumbers in that they have a crisp refreshing texture. Korean melons are sweet, but not as sweet as other melons. They are more like a cross between a cucumber and a honeydew melon. When they are ripe and fully matured, they have a beautiful yellow-orange hue. Unfortunately, their skin is too tough to leave on so we don’t get to see that in the salad. I love using both the cucumber and Korean melon in this salad when I have them at the same time. It makes a refreshing afternoon snack.
Avoid Pickling Cucumbers
Some cucumbers taste bitter and will not make for a refreshing salad. It’s best to cut a few slices and taste the cucumbers first. One kind in particular to watch out is the pickling cucumber. I have found if a cucumber has a slight bitterness when first peeled and cut, it gets even more bitter (not the fun bitter) with time and can ruin your dish.
Peppermint vs Spearmint
Peppermint has a more subtle mint taste than spearmint but equally refreshing with a little pepper kick. Its leaves are smooth, tender and bright deep green color. Peppermint isn’t as common in grocery stores as spearmint though. If you can’t find peppermint, a combination of spearmint and arugula will give a similar flavor profile and be equally good.
This cool cucumber & peppermint salad comes together so quickly too. If you have one of those handy mandolines to slice the cucumber and red onions, it goes even faster and the slices are even. Cool cucumber salad is best when the cucumbers have been refrigerated and are really cold or chilled for at least an hour before serving. It is really perfect dressed lightly with the tomatillo-lime dressing below, but if you want it on the table even faster, skip the dressing and simply squeeze a lime on it. This salad can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated until you are ready to serve. It makes a great side dish for the Castelvetrano Olive, Tomato & Noodle salad.
Tools Used in this Recipe
- melon baller or spoon to core the cucumbers
- handheld mandoline
- vegetable peeler
- serving bowl
- grater or garlic press
- lemon / lime squeezer