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.

Blue rimmed shallow bowl with Cool Peppermint and Cucumber Salad garnished with fresh whole leaf peppermint in the center.
Cool Peppermint & Cucumber Salad

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
  • knife
  • serving bowl
  • grater or garlic press
  • lemon / lime squeezer
Print Recipe
Cool Cucumber & Peppermint Salad Recipe
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
Blue rimmed shallow bowl with Cool Peppermint and Cucumber Salad garnished with fresh whole leaf peppermint in the center.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cucumbers peeled, cored and sliced 1/4in thick
  • 2 Korean melons peeled, and sliced 1/4in thick
  • 1 cup fresh peppermint leaves torn up in to pieces or cut in 1/4in ribbons
  • 1/3 cup red onion sliced thinly about half a small-medium red onion
Dress with
  • 2-3 tbls lime juice
or
  • 1/3 cup tomatillo-lime dressing
Tomatillo-lime Dressing
  • 4 medium tomatillos cut into quarters
  • 2 tbls lime juice juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet white or chickpea miso optional
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cucumbers peeled, cored and sliced 1/4in thick
  • 2 Korean melons peeled, and sliced 1/4in thick
  • 1 cup fresh peppermint leaves torn up in to pieces or cut in 1/4in ribbons
  • 1/3 cup red onion sliced thinly about half a small-medium red onion
Dress with
  • 2-3 tbls lime juice
or
  • 1/3 cup tomatillo-lime dressing
Tomatillo-lime Dressing
  • 4 medium tomatillos cut into quarters
  • 2 tbls lime juice juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet white or chickpea miso optional
Blue rimmed shallow bowl with Cool Peppermint and Cucumber Salad garnished with fresh whole leaf peppermint in the center.
Instructions
  1. Core the cucumbers and slice about 1/4in slices and put in the bowl, or use a handheld mandoline and slice the cucumbers right into the bowl. For most mandolines the highest setting is perfect.
  2. The same can be done with the onion, you may want a thinner slice, about 1/8in.
  3. Tear or cut the peppermint into chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll up and cut into 1/4in ribbons).
  4. Add to the bowl and toss the ingredients together.
Tomatillo-lime Dressing
  1. Put all the dressing ingredients in the blender cup (or blender). Using a pulsing technique (on 2 seconds, off, on again) blend until smooth.
  2. Pour around the bowl sides (for better distribution) and toss.
  3. Garnish with some fresh uncut peppermint leaves and/or slices of lime.
Recipe Notes

The dressing makes about 1 cup, so there will be extra. The extra can stored in the refrigerator and used for other salads, as a marinade or drizzled on roasted vegetables. But if you don’t want the extra, just reduce the quantity of each ingredient by about half.