Smashed-Cucumber Salad


A tangy, refreshing side for summer dinners.

Southern Living Smashed Cucumber Salad in a bowl to serve

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

On the surface, this might appear to be an ordinary cucumber salad, but look a little closer, and the true story reveals itself: After decades of neat, polite slicing, we’ve simply had it. This is the era of smashing our food. If you’ve ever crushed a clove a garlic under the heel of your knife, you know what I mean—there’s something supremely satisfying (and borderline insane) about hammering your fist down upon a tiny, unsuspecting garlic clove—feeling it smash to bits, its annoying papery skin rent asunder.

Aside from providing a healthy outlet for frustrated cooks, smashing foods can have some beneficial culinary applications. We’ve been crushing par-cooked potatoes for awhile now, before adding extra butter and seasoning and tossing them into our ovens and air fryers to get extra crispy. In this case, smashing creates more surface area, and more surface area means more opportunities for crunchy goodness.

But potatoes aren’t the only foods that can benefit from the smash treatment. While smashing doesn’t make cucumbers any more crispy (aren’t they crunchy enough already?), it does create cracks and fissures that allow the previously solid mass of cucumber to soak up flavoring from skin to core. The result is a vegetable salad that tastes marinated, instead of just hastily dressed. What are you waiting for? Drop the knife and grab a rolling pin—it’s time to get smashing.

Serve With: Bourbon- and Cola-Glazed Steak Kebabs


  • 6 small Persian cucumbers (13 oz. total)

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small [6 oz.] onion)

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard

  • 1 Tbsp. aged sherry vinegar (such as O Olive Oil & Vinegar)


  1. Halve cucumbers lengthwise. Place cucumber halves, cut sides down, on a cutting board.  Working with 1 cucumber half at a time, lightly smash with the flat side of a chef’s knife until slightly flattened but still intact. Cut smashed cucumbers crosswise into (1-inch) pieces.

    Place cucumber pieces in a large bowl with onion; season with salt and sugar, and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Pour off any liquid released in bowl, and discard liquid. Add olive oil, mustard, and vinegar to cucumber mixture, and toss to coat.

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