Cooling Cucumber Salsa

Zippy Mediterranean Cucumber Salsa

Summer brings an abundance of fresh produce, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than with a refreshing cucumber salsa. This herbaceous and slightly spicy salsa, with a Mediterranean twist, is perfect for hot days when you crave something light and invigorating. It’s a versatile dish that can be used as a dip, a topping for grilled meats, or even a refreshing salad.

Cooling Cucumber Salsa
Cooling Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Cucumbers: Start by dicing the cucumbers into small, uniform pieces. For extra crunch, you can leave the skin on. If you prefer a milder taste, you can peel them before dicing. Place the diced cucumbers in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add Tomatoes and Onions: Quarter the cherry tomatoes and finely chop the red onion. Add them to the bowl with the cucumbers. These ingredients bring a burst of color and a hint of sweetness to the salsa.
  3. Incorporate Olives and Feta: Slice the Kalamata olives and crumble the feta cheese. The olives add a briny depth, while the feta offers a creamy, salty contrast that complements the other flavors beautifully.
  4. Chop the Herbs: Finely chop the fresh parsley and mint. These herbs are key to the Mediterranean twist, infusing the salsa with a refreshing, aromatic quality that elevates it beyond a typical salsa.
  5. Add the Spice: Seed and finely chop the jalapeños, adjusting the quantity to your preferred level of spiciness. If you like it mild, use just one jalapeño; for more heat, go for two.
  6. Season and Dress: Zest and juice a lemon, adding both to the bowl. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper to taste. The lemon juice adds a bright acidity, while the zest enhances the citrusy aroma.
  7. Mix and Serve: Gently toss all the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Let the salsa sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Serving Suggestions:

This cucumber salsa is incredibly versatile. Serve it with pita chips or warm pita bread for a quick appetizer. It also pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken, fish, or lamb, adding a fresh and zesty contrast to the rich, smoky flavors. For a light, refreshing meal, use it as a topping for a grain bowl with quinoa or couscous.

Cooling Cucumber Salsa

Final Thoughts

This zippy Mediterranean cucumber salsa is a perfect addition to your summer culinary repertoire. It’s easy to prepare, packed with fresh ingredients, and offers a delightful mix of textures and flavors. Whether you’re entertaining guests or looking for a healthy, tasty snack, this salsa is sure to become a favorite. Enjoy!

Mediterranean-Inspired Cucumber Salsa Recipe

Combining the best of Mediterranean flavors with the vibrant culinary scene in Atlanta, this Cucumber Salsa is a refreshing twist perfect for hot summer days. The cucumbers provide a crisp, cooling base, while pistachios add a Mediterranean flair with a delightful crunch. The use of Aleppo pepper lends a subtle, smoky depth to the salsa, making it a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Cucumbers:
    • Dice the cucumbers into small, even pieces. If the cucumbers are particularly watery, you may want to gently squeeze out some of the excess moisture using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
  2. Combine the Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced cucumbers, Kalamata olives, red onion, feta cheese, chopped pistachios, mint leaves, and parsley.
  3. Dress the Salsa:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  4. Mix and Marinate:
    • Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated. Allow the salsa to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  5. Serve and Enjoy:
    • This Cucumber Salsa is best served chilled. Enjoy it as a refreshing appetizer with Pita Chips, or use it as a flavorful dressing for Grilled Salmon or Chicken Breast.

Cooling Cucumber Salsa

Tips and Variations:

  • Substitutions: If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, standard red pepper flakes can be used as a substitute.
  • Make it Vegan: Omit the feta cheese or replace it with a plant-based alternative to make this salsa vegan-friendly.
  • Additional Add-ins: For an extra burst of flavor, consider adding a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, or a splash of balsamic vinegar.

This Mediterranean-inspired Cucumber Salsa is not only easy to make but also a delightful fusion of flavors that brings a refreshing twist to traditional salsa. Perfect for summer gatherings, game days, or simply as a healthy snack, this salsa is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.

Cucumber Salsa Ingredients and Substitutions 

Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients for your cucumber salsa and some potential substitutions:

Ingredients:

  1. Cucumbers: The star of the dish. English cucumbers are ideal because they are seedless and have thin skins.
    • Substitutions: Persian cucumbers, which are also small and seedless, or regular cucumbers (just peel and deseed them).
  2. Pistachios: Add crunch and a nutty flavor.
    • Substitutions: Almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds for a similar texture and crunch.
  3. Aleppo Pepper: Provides a mild heat with a fruity undertone.
    • Substitutions: Red pepper flakes (use less as they are spicier) or a mix of paprika and a touch of cayenne pepper.
  4. Mint: Adds a fresh, cooling element.
    • Substitutions: Fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley for a different but fresh flavor.
  5. Feta: Adds creaminess and a salty tang.
    • Substitutions: Goat cheese, queso fresco, or a dairy-free feta alternative for a similar texture and taste.
  6. Kalamata Olives: Provide a briny, salty component.
    • Substitutions: Black olives, green olives, or capers for a similar salty and briny flavor.
Optional Ingredients for Additional Flavor:
  • Red Onion: For a bit of sharpness.
    • Substitutions: Green onions or shallots for a milder taste.
  • Lemon Juice: To add acidity and brightness.
    • Substitutions: Lime juice or a splash of vinegar (white wine or apple cider).

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the cucumbers: Dice them into small cubes.
  2. Add nuts: Coarsely chop the pistachios.
  3. Season: Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.
  4. Herbs: Finely chop the mint and mix in.
  5. Optional additions: If using, add diced red onion and/or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. Mix in the cheese and olives: Crumble feta and slice Kalamata olives, then combine everything.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with pita chips, or use as a topping for grilled salmon or chicken breast.

This salsa is versatile and can be easily adapted to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

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Cooling Cucumber Salsa

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