Cucumber salad

Cucumbers are still in season, and they’re delicious in everything from Bloody Marys to homemade pickles. If you find yourself at a standstill with cucumber salads, however, don’t despair: With just a few kitchen staples, fresh herbs, and basic garden veggies, you can craft completely unique and tasty cuke salads in no time. Here are 5 cucumber salad ideas inspired from around the world.

1. Asian

Combine julienned cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and cabbage (optional but gives great crunch and heft). Whisk together a dressing of 3 parts rice wine vinegar, 2 parts olive oil, 1 part dark or light sesame oil, and 1 part soy sauce (or shoyu or tamari). Season to taste with crushed red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, minced ginger, and a few pinches of sugar. Toss and serve.

2. Italian 

Combine chopped cucumbers, red onions, and tomatoes; add lots of torn or chopped fresh basil. Whisk together a dressing of 2 parts red wine vinegar, 1 part olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with dried oregano, crushed garlic, sea salt, and black pepper. Toss and finish off with sliced olives and cheese of choice (such as crumbled goat or fresh mozzarella).

3. Indian 

Combine chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with torn or chopped fresh mint, thinly sliced onions, and optional minced jalapeno peppers. To make a yogurt sauce, whisk a few splashes of fresh lemon juice into plain yogurt. Season to taste with sea salt and optional ground cumin and coriander. Mix everything together and serve.

4. American 

Finely slice cucumbers and a bit of red onion and combine with lots of chopped fresh dill and/or basil in a bowl. Whisk together white or apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sugar and sea salt, and black pepper—along with a small splash of olive oil. Toss with cucumber mixture and enjoy immediately or allow flavors to combine overnight in the fridge.

5. Mexican 

Combine chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro in a large bowl; add a handful or two of corn. Whisk together a dressing of 2 parts red wine vinegar and 1 part olive oil; season to taste with crushed garlic, ground cumin and chili powder, and salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

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Image: Simon Aughton