Cucumber Avocado Salad with sumac-marinated shallots, toasted sesame seeds, and fresh dill. This easy cucumber salad comes together in just 20 minutes and is both vegan and gluten free. Enjoy as a refreshing side dish for all your warmer weather meals.
Why You'll Love this Cucumber Avocado Salad
Minimal ingredients + maximum payoff = summer cooking at its finest!
This cucumber salad is cooling, crunchy, and so refreshing. The ingredients couldn't be simpler, yet they work together to create a spectacular side dish. I'm personally looking forward to enjoying this salad alongside my grilled favorites all summer.
Cucumber salads are not always the first dish that comes to mind to bring to a cookout (Fiesta Avocado Corn Salad and Summer Squash and Corn Salad have a way of stealing my attention), however I can't deny their value. Especially amongst a sea of creamy pasta and potato salads, and baked beans, cucumber salads are the palate cleansers we never knew we needed.
This recipe hits all the right notes with its streamlined ingredient lineup. It's rich in heart-healthy fats, plus offers a decent dose of fiber. It's the perfect accompaniment to anything hot off the grill, and may even appease the picky eaters at the table!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cucumber: This recipe works best with mini cucumbers, English/hot house, or Persian cucumbers. All of these varieties have thin skins, so you don't need to peel them, and aren't as watery as American cucumbers.
- Avocado: You need one medium ripe avocado for this cucumber avocado salad. You can either thinly slice the avocado, or cut it into the same size cubes as your cucumber.
- Shallots: Shallots have a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness. Alternatively, you can use thinly sliced red onion, which will be a little sharper in flavor, but still delightful.
- Sumac: Ah, my most beloved spice! Sumac is tart, lemony, tangy, with almost a tinge of vinegar. You can find sumac in health food stores, such as Whole Foods, or purchase it on Amazon.
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is a little more delicate than red wine or white wine vinegar. This quality makes it one of my favorite vinegars for dressing raw vegetable salads.
- Sesame Seeds: It's important to TOAST the sesame seeds prior to garnishing the salad. Toasting amplifies their rich, nutty flavor, which really elevates the salad.
- Dill: Cucumber’s perfect partner, dill lends super-fresh flavor. If you're not a fan of dill, feel free to use parsley or cilantro leaves instead. You can also toss in a handful of mint leaves.
Step 1: Marinate Shallots
Combine shallots, rice vinegar, sumac, and salt in a small bowl. Massage sumac into shallots, and let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
Step 2: Toast Sesame Seeds
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and aromatic. Stir often and watch closely to make sure they do not burn.
Step 3: Arrange Cucumber and Avocados
Arrange cucumber and avocado chunks on a large plate or serving platter. Season with salt, and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
Step 4: Top Cucumber Avocado Salad with Garnishes
Scatter shallots and residual rice vinegar over cucumber and avocado chunks, and top with sesame seeds and fresh dill.
FAQs and Expert Tips
While this salad is super simple, cucumbers can be a finicky ingredient. Here are the answers to all of your burning cucumber questions!
How do you Keep Cucumber Salad from Getting Watery?
Cucumber salad is best enjoyed fresh, so I suggest making it no more than 2 hours in advance. It's also helpful to use LESS watery cucumbers, such as mini cucumbers, Persian, or English/Hot House cucumbers.
Is it Good to Eat the Skin of a Cucumber?
American cucumbers tend to have a waxy skin that is not as enjoyable to eat. While you certainly can still eat it, many people prefer those cucumber peeled.
Mini cucumbers, Persian, and English/Hot House cucumbers, on the other hand, have thinner skins that are easier and more enjoyable to eat.
What to Serve with Cucumber Salad:
Cucumber Avocado Salad is super versatile, and pairs well with anything hot off the grill. For example, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, or fish. Here are some of my other favorite pairings:
- Chili-Lime Tofu and Peach Skewers
- Baja Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Salmon Burgers with Lemon-Caper Spread
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:
- Make-Ahead: The shallots can be marinated up to 3 hours in advance. You can also chop the cucumbers a few hours ahead, and keep them refrigerated until ready to use.
- Store: This salad does not hold up super well for leftovers, and is best eaten a few hours after making.
More Easy Summer Salad Recipes:
If you give this easy cucumber salad recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Small skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup)
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. ground sumac
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2 scant Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1 lb. cucumbers (English/Hot House or Persian, ideally), cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 medium ripe avocado, cut into small pieces, or thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- Combine shallots, rice vinegar, sumac, and ¼ tsp. salt in a small bowl. Massage sumac into shallots, and let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
- Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and aromatic. Stir often and watch closely to make sure they do not burn. Set aside.
- Arrange cucumber and avocado chunks on a large plate or serving platter. Season with remaining ¾ tsp. salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter shallots and residual rice vinegar over cucumber and avocado chunks, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and fresh dill.