This easy cucumber salad recipe uses only 5 ingredients making it a perfect side dish for summer. Naturally vegan and gluten-free, Cucumber Onion Salad with Quinoa is a vegetable side dish that everyone can enjoy so double the recipe and bring it to your next potluck or cookout!
Summer is here and my dad’s garden has become my own personal CSA. (I think of gardens like swimming pools. Having a friend with one is better than having your own!) As a result, I have plenty of fresh, summer produce in my kitchen and I’m ready to cook up some of this seasonal goodness.
This cucumber salad recipe is an easy way to slice up some garden cucumbers and have a delicious side dish ready to go in minutes. If you prefer a creamy cucumber salad, check out my recipe for it too!
Cucumbers – As stated, I’m using garden-fresh cukes, but cucumbers from your local grocer will work. If you buy them at the store I recommend using an English cucumber. If you’re making this recipe while cucumbers are in season, consider purchasing from your local farmer’s market instead for the freshest summer taste.
Quinoa – Cook your quinoa according to the package directions. It’s very much like cooking rice. You know that quinoa is done when all the water is absorbed and you see the telltale rings around each circular piece.
Red onion – You can use a white or yellow onion in a pinch if you need to, but the flavor and color of red onion are perfect for this cucumber salad recipe.
Fresh basil – It’s often the same price or even cheaper to purchase a basil plant than it is to buy fresh basil from the grocery store. My local Kroger will often have the plants for sale in the summer. If not, there’s always one to be found in the garden center of your favorite home improvement store. Pick most of the leaves off for this recipe and set the plant on your windowsill. You’ll end up with at least another batch of basil as long as you water it.
Dressing – To make this side dish recipe even faster just use your favorite bottled Italian dressing. I used Kroger-brand zesty Italian and it turned out delicious. Make sure to read the label to ensure there’s no gluten or cheese in your dressing if you want to make sure it’s GF and vegan.
This cucumber salad really is as simple as chopping and mixing the ingredients together. Quinoa will take about 15 minutes to make but feel free to make it ahead of time and chill it to make putting the recipe together even faster. Better yet, use up leftover quinoa!
- If you don’t like Italian salad dressing or you’d like to make your own dressing from scratch, simply use apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and maybe some lemon juice to taste.
- Use a bottled ranch or Caesar dressing for an easy creamy cucumber salad.
- Use fresh dill instead of basil.
- Add tomatoes to your cucumber salad.
- Sneak some fresh zucchini into this cucumber salad if you have an over-abundance in the garden.
- Add tuna, some shredded rotisserie chicken, or a deviled egg for extra protein.
However you decide to make it, this easy cucumber salad recipe is one you can enjoy over and over again each summer.
Yes. You can either make the quinoa ahead and assemble it later or assemble the entire cucumber salad the night before serving.
Up to three days. After three days the cucumber salad won’t be “ruined” per se, but the cucumbers will likely have lost their crispness.
This particular recipe is full of healthy, fresh ingredients. Choose your own zesty Italian dressing brand based on your dietary needs and preferences. You can purchase a low-fat version if you are trying to cut fat and calories. You can also make your own homemade dressing if you are trying to eat clean by avoiding anything processed.
What to Serve with Cucumber Salad
Below are a few recipe ideas to serve with your cucumber salad if you’d like to make it a whole meal.
Easy Cucumber Salad with Quinoa
- 1 ½ cups cucumber sliced into half moons
- 1 ½ cups quinoa cooked according to packaged directions and cooled
- ½ cup red onion diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- ½ cup zesty Italian dressing
- Toss together cucumber, quinoa, red onion, and basil leaves.
- Add Italian dressing and mix until combined.
- Chill before serving.