Smashed Cucumber Salad
This Smashed Cucumber Salad is juicy, crispy, flavorful, refreshing, and textured - Everything you need in a salad for a light lunch or party side dish.
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This Smashed Cucumber Salad is the latest installment of Seiran Poon‘s Recipe Column All About The Veg! which celebrates the versatility of plants, highlighting one amazing fruit or vegetable at a time.

After a long break I’m finally back with “All About The Veg”! Summer is also back so let’s start with something light, refreshing and easy to celebrate the season of fresh, vibrant produce. My go-to for this would absolutely be any kind of cucumber salad, using crunchy snack cucumbers, you know those little mini cucumbers we just cannot have enough of.

Crispy Smashed Cucumber Salad

Snack Cucumbers: The Perfect Salad Base

Small snack cucumbers, with their refreshing crunch and subtle sweetness, are the perfect base for a salad that combines an exciting array of flavors and textures, such as this Smashed Cucumber Salad with Harissa, Preserved Lemons & Crispy Bulgur that I’m sharing with you today. This simple salad is a harmonious blend of crunchy, crispy, savory, tart, fruity, and a little bit of heat. 

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashing Vs. Slicing Cucumbers For Enhanced Flavors & Textures

The magic begins with the cucumbers themselves. Smashing the cucumbers, rather than slicing them, creates irregular surfaces that soak up the dressing more effectively, intensifying the flavor in every bite. This technique not only enhances the taste but also adds a delightful, rustic texture to the salad. Smashed cucumber salads are common in East Asian cuisines and that’s where I got the inspiration for this salad, but I’m adding Mediterranean flavors to it this time.

Harissa, Lemon & Mint: A Flavor Profile That Keeps You Coming Back For More

Harissa, a spicy North African chili paste, introduces a gentle heat without overwhelming the dish. It’s perfectly balanced by the preserved lemons, which add a zesty, tangy brightness that cuts through the richness of the harissa. Fresh mint adds that herbal and summery freshness that ties the dressing together. The combination of these three ingredients creates a complex, layered flavor profile that keeps you coming back for more.

Nutty, Crunchy & Juicy: The Perfect Summer Salad

Finally, the bulgur and dukkah provide a nutty, crunchy contrast that complements the juicy cucumbers. This smashed cucumber salad is perfect for a light lunch, a refreshing side at a barbecue, or as part of a larger spread for a summer feast. 

As you savor each bite, you’ll experience the refreshing crunch of cucumbers, the tangy zing of preserved lemons, the gentle heat of harissa, and the satisfying crunch of bulgur, all harmonizing beautifully. 

Smashed Cucumber Salad: Ingredients You’ll Need

Note: this is an overview of the ingredient’s you’ll need to make this smashed cucumber salad. For the exact measurements, be sure to consult the recipe card below.

Smashed Cucumber Salad ingredients
  • For the Smashed Cucumber Salad: Snack cucumbers, Preserved lemon slices in oil (or whole small preserved lemon), Mint leaves, Harissa, Ground coriander seeds, Olive oil, Lemon, Pitted Kalamata Olives, Flaky salt, Pistachio dukkah (recipe below) or Chopped pistachios.
  • For the Crispy Bulgur: Cooked bulgur, Olive oil, salt & pepper.
  • For the Pistachio Dukkah: Pistachios, almonds, white sesame seeds, Nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ground coriander, red pepper flakes (Aleppo pepper or mild chili), salt.

How to Make This Smashed Cucumber Salad (+ Video)

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Smash the Cucumbers

Smash the cucumbers with a pestle, roughly chop them and place in a colander and mix with 1 tsp flaky salt. Leave for 15-20 minutes, rinse with water and drain well.

Prepare the Crispy Bulgur

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF fan. Place the bulgur on a lined sheet pan, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out and bake on middle rack for 10 minutes or until crispy. Toss halfway through.

Mix the Smashed Cucumber Salad Ingredients & Bulgur

Mix preserved lemon, mint, Harissa, coriander, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, add salt to taste. Toss cucumbers and olives with the lemon and harissa dressing. Stir in the dukkah and finally top with the crispy bulgur.

Make the Pistachio Dukkah

 Add the pistachios and almonds to a dry pan over medium heat and toast while stirring, until the almonds get slightly browned. Remove from the pan. Add sesame, nigella, cumin and fennel seeds to the pan and toast while stirring, until sesame seeds are golden brown. First add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, add spices, seed mixture and salt. Pulse a couple more times. You want the mixture a little coarse, not finely ground. Storage: Store in an airtight glass jar in the pantry for up to 3 weeks.

Smashed Cucumber Salad – Recipe Card

Print or Save this smashed cucumber salad recipe via this recipe card. For additional information, be sure to read the full article above.

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Harissa, Preserved Lemons & Crispy Bulgur

5 from 1 vote
This Smashed Cucumber Salad is juicy, crispy, flavorful, refreshing, and textured – Everything you need in a salad for a light lunch or party side dish.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Author: Seiran Poon
Servings: 4 sides

Ingredients

For the Smashed Cucumber Salad

  • 250 g snack cucumbers
  • 6 preserved lemon slices in oil seeds removed & finely chopped OR 1/2 whole small preserved lemon
  • 6 mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Harissa optional: double the amount for even more flavor
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 100 g pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 pinch flaky salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp pistachio dukkah (recipe below) OR 2 tbsp chopped pistachios

For The Crispy Bulgur

  • 100 g cooked bulgur
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Pistachio Dukkah
  • Ingredients:
  • 75 g pistachios
  • 50 g almonds
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes Such as aleppo pepper or mild chili
  • 1 pinch salt Or to taste

Instructions

  • Smash the cucumbers with a pestle, roughly chop them and place in a colander and mix with 1 tsp flaky salt. Leave for 15-20 minutes, rinse with water and drain well.
  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF fan (convection setting).
  • Place bulgur on a lined sheet pan, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out and bake on middle rack for 10 minutes or until crispy. Toss halfway through.
  • Mix preserved lemon, mint, Harissa, coriander, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, add salt to taste.
  • Toss cucumbers and olives with the lemon and harissa dressing. Stir in the dukkah and finally top with the crispy bulgur.

For the Pistachio Dukkah

  • Add the pistachios and almonds to a dry pan over medium heat and toast while stirring, until the almonds get slightly browned. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the sesame, nigella, cumin and fennel seeds to the pan and toast while stirring, until sesame seeds are golden brown.
  • First, add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, then add the spices, seed mixture, and salt. Pulse a couple more times. You want the mixture a little coarse, not finely ground.

Notes

  • You can store the pistachio Dukkah in an airtight glass jar in the pantry for up to 3 weeks.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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If you enjoyed this smashed cucumber salad, you might also enjoy one or more of the following recipes.

Recipe, text, and photography by Seiran Poon


Seiran Poon

Seiran Poon (formerly known as Seiran Sinjari) is a freelance food photographer, and recipe developer who left her international legal career to pursue her quest for a life with more freedom and creativity.
She is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has also lived in Sydney, Australia. Her cooking is often inspired by flavors from the Middle East / her Kurdish roots or her encounters with different cuisines around the globe. Seiran is the author of the cookbook Salt & Tahini (currently only available in Swedish.)


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