Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

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 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 20 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.

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.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

Yield: 5-6 side servings


  • 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 Salad You want to slice the cucumbers pretty thin. They should be quite flexible, like this.

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad This 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.)




52 thoughts on “Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

  1. 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

  2. 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 ;)

    • 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!

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  4. 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

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  6. 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!

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  8. 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!

    • 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 :)

  9. 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!

    • 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.

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  11. 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

    • 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!

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  22. 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!

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