Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

This easy cucumber salad is fast and fresh with a bit of a kick. The cilantro adds the perfect twist!Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

Today I dusted off my piano and started playing a song. Eric immediately said, “Oh, man, that’s bad. We need to get that piano tuned.” It’s adorable that when he hears terribly wrong notes coming out of the piano, he assumes we need a tune up rather than guessing the truth, which is that I really ought to practice the piano more often.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

This is nothing new. As a kid I took lessons, but I was so bad at practicing that I didn’t really improve much. I used to go the entire week in between lessons and not so much as look at the piano, and then I would be frantic on the car ride over to my teacher’s house, practicing air-piano in the car with my books propped open on my lap. Yes, air-piano exists, much like air-guitar, only way less cool.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

Eric bought me a second-hand piano when we lived in Indianapolis. He somehow managed to get some guys from church to help him lift it up into our second floor apartment. When we moved to Utah, we lived on the second floor yet again. And then our piano made it all the way out here to California this summer, officially becoming the heaviest and most cumbersome guilt-trip known to cross the country. It’s a giant piece of unused furniture sitting in our front room, taunting me.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

I love playing the piano, I really do. But there’s always an excuse. The kids are asleep, don’t want to wake them. Have to get dinner on the table, I’ll do it after. I’m going, really, just let me pin this one last caramel-stuffed cookie recipe.

I think I feel a New Year’s Resolution coming on. Have you guys got any on your list?

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

Now let’s talk cucumbers. There are about a million ways to eat this Mexican-style cucumber salad: It would be an awesome replacement for lettuce on tacos, you could put it in burrito bowls, top off your tortilla soup, top off this Barbacoa Beef, or Carne Guisada, or eat it alongside these Baked Black Bean Taquitos. Or just serves it as a simple side dish when you are making enchiladas or tamales or carnitas or whatever.

You guys love this Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad so much (it came close to making my Top Recipes of 2013) that I thought I would try out a Southwestern version. I’m glad I did, because  it is awesome. It’s not traditional, but since when has that ever stopped us from Mexican-ifying our food? I’m pretty sure they don’t really eat cream cheese enchiladas in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dang good.

For me what makes a cucumber salad great is having the cucumbers sliced suuuuper thin. That means either a lot of patience and a very sharp knife, or a good quality mandolin slicer. I use my mandolin all the time, it’s a good kitchen tool to have around!

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad is light, just as you would expect anything with cucumbers to be. I added some crushed red pepper to give it a little kick, but it’s not overwhelming. You can serve it immediately after you make it, or let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours. The flavors will be a little stronger if you let it sit. I like it both ways.

If you make any of my recipes, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it! I love that.

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One year ago: Swedish Meatballs
Two years ago: Postpartum Ziti
Two and a half years ago(ish): Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

Yield: 5-6 side servings

Recipe by The Food Charlatan


  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cucumbers, very finely sliced (see photos)
  • 4 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste


  1. Dice the jalapeno and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to incorporate the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Finely slice the cucumbers. Use a mandolin if you have it, but a very sharp knife will do the trick. (See photos below.) Add the cucumbers to the dressing and stir together.
  4. Finely mince the cilantro and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine. You can either let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a couple hours, or serve immediately.


Make sure that you let the salad sit on the counter for a little while before serving if it's been in the fridge; the olive oil solidifies slightly when it's cold.

Source: adapted from The Creekside Cook

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber SaladYou want to slice the cucumbers pretty thin. They should be quite flexible, like this. Do yourself a favor and buy a mandolin. I love mine!

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber SaladThis is too thick. If I bent this any more, it would have snapped. You want them thin enough that they are bendy. (Try to shield your eyes from my horrific red nail polish.)

You might also like:

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (To Eat With Mexican Food) << another great HEALTHY Mexican side dish!

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan


Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada (Braised Beef for Tacos) << this recipe is from my brother-in-law’s grandma. Today’s salad would pair well with it! Throw it on your tacos!

Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada from The Food Charlatan


and then eat these beans on the side >> Traditional Tejano Pinto Beans (Slow Cooker)

Traditional Tejano Beans from The Food Charlatan

Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad: This one is soooo good guys

Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad


Pistachio-Pear Cucumber Salad:

Pistachio-Pear Cucumber Salad |


Pineapple Spinach Salad:

Pineapple Spinach Salad | This twist on the Strawberry Spinach Salad is easy and bright-tasting!

More cucumber salads to try out:

Cucumber Scallion Salad from Foodie with Family
Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peppers, Radishes, and Thai Dressing from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cucumber Basil and Watermelon Salad from FoodieCrush
Cucumber Dill Salad with No Sugar Added Dressing from Sugar Free Mom
Creamy Cucumber Salad from Spend with Pennies

(There are affiliate links above. Thanks for funding my kid’s college/expensive goat cheese addiction) 





  1. says

    I was cutting up half a cucumber that was left over from my black bean salsa dip for lunch yesterday wishing that I was more creative with it. I basically just chopped it up and put some ranch salad dressing on the side to dip it in. It was three cheese ranch dressing, but I kept thinking the cucumber needed more. Love the idea of mixing the cilantro and lime juice. I know that cucumbers are big in the summer, but they are also one of the most reasonably priced veggies at the store right now. At least here in Michigan.
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent recently posted…Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper ChickenMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks for the fabulous idea Donalyn! You’re a genius :) PS do try the Asian version. It’s so good. Make it with the salmon burgers I mention in that post, and you will be in heaven!

  2. says

    I always wanted to learn how to play the piano but never got around to it. I’m the same way with knitting. I get so busy that I forget about it, and by the time I have a chance to get back into it, I have to re-teach myself all over again. I’m so glad you found my site because I’m loving what you’re doing over here. This salad looks amazing. Pinning and going to follow you on all your social sites. Let the stalking begin ;)

    • says

      Aw thanks Jennie! I’m glad you’re following me back, now I don’t look like such a freak :) And I totally get what you mean. I don’t knit, but I’ll learn a song 90% of the way on the piano, then not practice for 3 months, then have to start from scratch. So lame!

      Thanks for following me Jennie!

  3. says

    I don’t mean to brag…but…I can play a pretty amazing rendition of Chopsticks on the piano at my Grandma’s house. I know, I know, quite impressive, and intimidating. Haha! Eric is so sweet that he thinks it’s the piano that sounds bad and not you, love that. And love this cucumber salad. I worked at a restaurant here in town, and the mexican chefs would make a similar salad for us to snack on. But they just did big, thick slices of cucumber with lime, salt & a little cayenne pepper. Yours looks WAY better. Can’t wait to try : )
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely recently posted…Fennel & Apple Detox Green JuiceMy Profile

  4. Linda says

    This looks delicious. But there is no way that I could pin such a great recipe and sight when you choose to photo nails that are undone. It’s like trying to sell a car that’s covered in mud. C’mon!

  5. Hannah says

    I made this last night for my family along with the Korean Beef Bowl from Damn Delicious, and it was all exactly that – delicious! My kids gobbled this up and my husband caught me eating the last little bit out of the serving bowl while he was doing the dishes. The only changes I made were 1) I didn’t have any jalepeno; and 2) I finely shredded a carrot and threw it in there for some colour. Like I said, delicious. Thanks for the new favourite recipe!

    • says

      Ooh, I totally love the carrot idea Hannah! Yum, I will have to add that next time! I’m so glad your kids even liked it. You must be a super star mom, my 3 year old wouldn’t touch it. I will have to go check out Chung-Ah’s Korean Beef Bowls, that sounds amazing! Thanks for coming back to comment, you are just great :)

  6. Bridget says

    Excellent recipe! I got a food processor for Christmas (best gift EVER), and used one of the attachments to slice the cucumber very thin. I made this recipe to go with some turkey chili on a Tuesday night, brought some leftovers into work and my coworkers raved about it. I also brought it to a Super Bowl party. At first I felt funny bringing such a light dish to a party that should typically involves dips, meat, cheese, and more meat. However the flavors complemented all of the football food so well, and it was a nice light option to balance everything out. I will make this recipe again and again, thanks!

    • says

      Hooray! I’m so glad you loved it Bridget! I think it’s a great idea to bring this to a Super Bowl party, it provides relief from all the cheese and carbs :) And that’s a good idea to use your food processor. I thought about it, but I didn’t think it would get it as thin as I wanted. Glad to know it worked for you! Thanks so much for coming back to comment, Bridget, I love hearing from you.

  7. says

    I found this on Pinterest. We’re not normally big cucumber fans, but I had half of one leftover from cucumber yogurt sauce for Mediterranean turkey burgers so I just scaled down the recipe and it worked like a charm. Perfect amount for two people and it was a delicious accompaniment to tonight’s Vietnamese pork meatball sandwiches. Thanks!
    Ali Burtt recently posted…Big Beautiful Cherry Almond MuffinsMy Profile

    • says

      Um, Mediterranean turkey burgers? Vietnamese Pork Meatball Sandwiches?? I’m heading over, cucumber salad or not!! :) I’m glad you guys liked the recipe. Thanks for commenting Ali, I’m about to go check out your blog, such a cute name!

  8. Patti V says

    Love this recipe …I just got home and saw it and realized I have everything except the cilantro…well I might have some that is wilting in the back of the fridge I’ll go check…so excited to try it…the green pepper addition sounds good (but I didnt get one so not the on the first go round) but I think I will add some feta…cuz I love it lol….THANKS for posting this and btw shame on Kourtney for stealing it!

  9. Angela says

    We started a Whole30 today and this was one of the recipes I collected for it. I don’t like cucumbers, but I’m determined to give them and other dis-liked veggies another chance. I’m SO GLAD I tried this recipe on day one, because I am PSYCHED that I ate a bowl of cucumber tonight and LOVED it. I am now sharing this recipe with EVERYONE. It’s such a great boost to have tried a new recipe and to love it, it’ll keep me motivated and has started my list of go-to recipes. I never take the time to comment, but I’m staying up extra late just to tell you Thank You for this awesome recipe! May it be the first of many ways I’ll be converted to being a veggie-lover.

    • says

      Angela, I’m so embarrassed that I somehow missed responding to your sweet comment! I’m so glad that you ate an entire bowl of cucumbers and loved it! :) I hope your Whole30 journey is going well and that you enjoy rediscovering all different kinds of veggies. Veggies are totally where it’s at in Paleoland. :) Someday I will go there. Someday…

  10. Karissa says

    My husband and I are wimps when it comes to spicy stuff. This last week I’ve made 3 or 4 spicy dishes and he keeps telling me, “You’re kicking my butt with all this hot stuff but I can’t stop eating it!” Would it be completely blasphemous to make this but leave out the jalapeno? I think we can handle some crushed red pepper, but the kick from a jalapeno might be too much for us.

    • says

      Hi Karissa! Sorry it took me a while to get back to you! No, I still think this would be really good without the jalapeno! I’ve heard of other people adding red or green bell peppers, if that’s not too spicy maybe you could try that. Let me know how it goes!

  11. says

    Hi! I love your site! My toddler is into all things seasoned and spicy. She totally loved these cucumbers! We didn’t add the jalapeno but the cilantro/lime combo was such a hit. I added a splash of rice-wine vinegar too…very refreshing. :)

    • says

      Thank you Leena!! It’s the best feeling when your kids actually eat what you make, especially if it’s something green, haha. Thanks for letting me know you guys loved this! Have a great day Leena!

  12. says

    Oh man, I made a slightly tweaked version of this salad last night, and it was WONDERFUL! All day I’ve been looking forward to eating leftovers with my lunch! Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Thank you Paige! I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you! That bowl is my mother in laws, I made this salad at her house. A friend made it for her. I’m probably going to steal it next time I visit :)

  13. says

    This was AWESOME! Definitely making it again. I made this exactly as the directions stated. Only problem — now plain cucumbers are so bland :-( They used to be my favorite snack without all this extra stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  14. says

    Hey Girl! I had this saved on Pinterest so decided to make it for lunch today. We have a bunch of cucumbers from the garden and besides pickles I never know what to do with them. I don’t really like them “as is” but I have a special place in my heart for anything cilantro lime, one of my favorite flavors. Thanks for this!


  1. […] back ribs had our friends going back for seconds… ok, thirds, not kidding. With it we had Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad. It was a really light salad with a nice kick thanks to the crushed red pepper flakes. Plus, I […]

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