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. This salad is a great side dish, part of an appetizer tray and also makes a refreshing afternoon snack.
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. If you can’t find just use more more of the cucumber you do have.
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
- 2 cucumbers peeled, cored and sliced 1/4in thick
- 2 Korean melons or 1 more cucumber 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 (SOS Free)
- 2-3 tbls lime juice
- 1/3 cup 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 omit for SOF free version
- Core the cucumbers and slice about 1/4in slices with a knif or the classic mandoline and put in the bowl, or use a handheld mandoline and slice the cucumbers right into the bowl. For most handheld mandolines the highest setting is perfect.
- The same can be done with the onion, you may want a thinner slice, about 1/8in.
- Tear or cut the peppermint into chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll up and cut into 1/4in ribbons).
- Add to the bowl and toss the ingredients together.
- Put all the dressing ingredients in the blender cup (or blender). Using a pulsing technique (on 2 seconds, off, on again) blend until smooth.
- Drizzle the dressing around the bowl sides (for better distribution) and toss.
- Garnish with some fresh uncut peppermint leaves and/or slices of lime.