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 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 SaladYou want to slice the cucumbers pretty thin. They should be quite flexible, like this. Do yourself a favor and buy a mandolin. I wish I had one!

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.)

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