This is my go-to salad for a light lunch because it doesn’t take a lot of time to make. It makes for a great side at barbecues throughout the summer. The sweet and sour tang with the refreshing crunch of cucumber is super satisfying to the palate and is a nice balance to heavier mains.
Persian Cucumbers are Best
Use Persian cucumbers because they have a crisp center and tend to be less watery than other varieties. They are also petite, matching the size of the jalapeños. There is no need to peel them or remove their seeds.
The Mandoline is Your Friend
Although a sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board is all you need to cut the cucumbers and jalapeños into very thin slices—about 1/16-inch—a mandoline is a great kitchen tool to lean on. It will help you get even slices and speed up prep time.
Quick Tips for a Quick Salad
- Use cold cucumbers, jalapeños, and cilantro straight from the fridge for a chilled salad that you can serve right away.
- The cucumbers will release some liquid naturally as they sit. This liquid is very tasty and can be used as a light dressing for salads or even over cold noodles.
Easy Substitution Ideas
This recipe is easy to tweak based on the veggies you have on hand.
- Persian Cucumber: Use thin-skinned cucumbers like English or Japanese. They are waterier. Instead of rounds, slice them thinly into half-moon or quarters so that they are about the width of the sliced jalapeños.
- Jalapeños: Serrano chilis are a great alternative, though you can use any fresh chilis you have around and like.
- Rice Vinegar: Use white, apple cider, or champagne vinegar.
- Agave: Replace with granulated sugar.