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Cucumber Salad

cucumber salad

The name of this cucumber salad really could be Bubby’s Cucumber Salad.  I learned to make it from my father’s mother, an immigrant to this country, and an amazing woman.  She helped my Dad’s father run their butcher shop and was quite the business woman from what I can gather.

She also was an amazing cook.  Her Matzo Ball Soup was incredible, as were so many of her other dishes.

We make Bubby’s Cucumber Salad in my home all the time, and when I say we, I am being literal, the boys can whip this salad up in a jiffy, it’s so easy.  We like it best in the summertime, when its impact is extra refreshing.  Go ahead, try some for yourself!

Cucumber Salad


  1. Cut the cucumber into ¼ inch slices
  2. Place in a medium bowl
  3. Cover with vinegar and sprinkle with salt
  4. Serve

I’m really looking forward to my upcoming webinar with the editor of Allergic Living Magazine, Shelley Case, which will be on July 8th at 11am.  More details to come. Hope you can tune in.

Finally, I’ve been thinking lately about discussing the reasons I went gluten free and why that eating plan has helped me in my healing process.  I also may share some other strategies that I have used to rebuild my health.  Is there anything that would be of particular interest to you?  If so, leave a comment and I just might do a health related post in response to your question.

posted on June 25, 2010, 49 comments

  1. Beth

    Sounds like an easy and refreshing salad.
    I’ll be trying this one as the weather warms up again.

  2. ~M

    Sounds great…but why do you peel the cucumbers? Unless I’m making an crisp type dessert, I always keep the peel – for applesauce, salads, etc.

    Diced cucumber is also really good with ume (even without the mango).

  3. I’m very interested in hearing your story.

  4. sas

    Hi Elana. I’d love to hear more about why you chose not to eat soy and grains. I’d also like to know more about cross contamination when eating out (I think it’s so interesting that some folks eat out from the “gluten free menu” when others won’t eat out at all). For now, I have chosen not to eat any food I don’t prepare myself.

  5. Kara

    Yes! I’d love to hear your reasons for adopting a gluten-free diet. I have never been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance but decided to give GF a try several years ago. After a few weeks, I realized I felt healthier and more energetic; my body was actually working properly.

    As of now, I am still gluten-free (and trying to be dairy-free and veggie) totally out of choice and haven’t looked back. ;)

  6. carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com @ gingerlemongirl.com

    We make this salad every summer too! IT is refreshing, especially right out of the garden!! Yum!! These “pickled” cuke slices are also delish on sandwiches too!! :-)

  7. Monique

    i’d be interested in hearing more about the grain free diet and its relationship to autoimmune disease.


    • DottieD

      Hi Elana, I too love your site and you have helped me a lot…I’m older and trying AGAIN to get some of my health problems under control. I’m trying to stay gluten free, dairy free, sugar free….I use Agave….my natural health care provider says a big problem with me is my Adrenal Glands are depleted and we’ve tried several things but can’t get it under control……..age may be a big factor! :)
      Do you know how all this fits together??? I too need more protein. ..love using Almonds for snacking, milk, flour & meal for baking, dredging, cooking our foods.
      Thank You! for all that you do….

  8. KarenLana

    This sounds really refreshing as it’s near 100 degrees outside right now! Not a single ingredient in it I’m allergic too either, yay! Thank you for sharing a family recipe, those are the best kind.


  9. Diane

    Hi Elana,
    The switch to gluten-free for my family (three years ago) was actually pretty easy. But I know for many others the thought of going gluten-free is completely daunting. I like to think of our family’s diet as not completely replacing the gluten-free items one for one but looking to the many foods not only that we could eat but that were delicious and good for us. So, I guess I’d say I think it would be helpful to address how to make the shift without feeling overwhelmed and how to place the switch in a bigger context of a healthy, non-inflammatory diet. Thanks!

  10. Laurie

    I, personally, would love to hear more about how you went gluten-free and how it’s helped you to heal. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, celiac disease and intolerances to gluten, dairy, corn and soy. I’m also hypoglycemic so I can’t have too much sugar or carbs, which seem to be rampant in most pre-packaged gluten-free products. Your website has been an absolute godsend to me and has given me hope that I can still eat well, even though I’ve had to give up many of my favorite foods, like pizza. I’m not feeling that much better yet since changing my diet, but I have hope that things will be improving soon.

  11. Beverly Becker @ whatsonmyfood.org

    Re health strategies — would love to know your perspective — learnings — on the role of protein in the diet.

  12. Laurie

    I, personally, would love to hear more about how you went gluten-free and how it’s helped you to heal. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, celiac disease and intolerances to gluten, dairy, corn and soy. I’m also hypoglycemic so I can’t have too much sugar or carbs, which seem to be rampant in most pre-packaged gluten-free products. Your website has been an absolute godsend to me and has given me hope that I can still eat well, even though I’ve had to give up many of my favorite foods, like pizza. I’m not feeling that much better yet since changing my diet, but I have hope that things will be improving soon. I would love to see more recipes that use sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, erythritol, lo-han and others because I worry about the high fructose content of agave, though I do have it in small amounts.

  13. kari

    I’m very interested in your health journey, as I find similar foods impact my health (I am grain free too). I’m interested in how you came to your food choices regarding potatoes, legumes, and other things you avoid. I’m in the trial-and-error process myself regarding a lot of foods.

  14. Silvia

    My parents (who were immigrants) made a similar cucumber salad.

    2 cucumbers peeled and sliced very thin
    kosher or celtic sea salt
    1/2 cup vinegar of your choice….I like white wine vinegar
    A little olive oil
    1/4 cup water
    2 TBLSP. sugar…or I use about 4 packets of stevia
    Green onions chopped (optional)

    Slice the cucumbers and put in a bowl and sprinkle salt on them. Cover the bowl and let sit about 20 minutes in order for the salt to draw out the liquid and any bitterness. Drain off the liquid and add the vinegar, oil, water, stevia or sugar and green onions, if you want them. Stir to dissolve the stevia. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hr. It is yummy!

  15. Love this, the only way my “bubbi” ate cucumbers was on a bagel with LOX!
    We call my mom Bubbi too did you have a Zedi?

  16. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    I love cucumbers made this way, Elana. Now you’ve given me the exact measurements to make them perfectly every time. Thanks to you and your Bubby! She sounds like a totally amazing person. Our grandparents often had so much strength in dealing with many challenges, challenges that most of us can’t even fathom today. I love that your boys can make this salad easily, too. Your recipes are always so simple, they can probably pinch hit for you lots of times. ;-) (Notice the use of baseball term there just for them. LOL)

    I will look forward to your explanatory posts greatly. It’s a lot to tackle and do a good job I know. The question I keep having to answer is why would processed foods impede healing if they are gluten free, so I’d love it if you would address that. I’ve given my medical-based feedback to individuals, but they respond that gluten-free processed foods should not damage the villi, because they are gluten free, so it shouldn’t be an issue if the food being eaten is processed or not. So I’d love for you to offer your research and thoughts on that, so I can share it when this topic comes up. Thanks!


  17. Hope

    Does anyone have a gluten free meat loaf recipe?

  18. Sarah Scott

    Hi Elana,

    I would love to hear about your experience with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, what it did for you and how long you followed it. (I’m assuming that you no longer follow it closely because you feel you don’t need to.)

    The background to my question is that I learned about the SCD from a casual reference you made to it about eight months ago. As I clicked on the hyperlink, I had a very strong hunch that it was going to be important for me. That hunch was right on. I’ve been following it carefully since then and my health has improved a great deal. I’ve committed to staying on it the rest of this year, and then I may do some careful forays into what’s now off limits for me.

    Any observations and ideas you are willing to share about the SCD would be very welcome to me.

    Thanks in advance.

    Sarah Scott

  19. Jennifer R.

    I loved your podcast with Meghan Telpner (she posted it on her blog today), especially since all 3 of my kids are gluten intolerant, along with myself. I enjoyed listening to your story, especially about the yoga and the ayurvedic stuff — would love to hear your thoughts on healing. Thanks!!

  20. Kathy Foulk

    We have eaten a similar salad for years. The only difference is, we add garlic salt and cut up tomatoes. You will find this wonderful salad on our table most summer nights (tastes best if you use pickling cucumbers – the smaller ones). Enjoy your recipes. My grandsons and dauaghter are GF.

  21. peggy g.

    Hi Elana,
    First, let me say I look forward to your posts and have shared your recipes with many friends. I, too, am interested in the story of your health journey. I went gluten free last Fall as a last resort. My bone density tests continue to spiral downward. Fosamax did NOT build bone. I had read that people with Celiac have malabsorption issues and while I knew I did not have Celiac, I had some symptoms of gluten sensitivity so I began my own journey hoping I could stop the spiral. If there is anyone out there with similiar issues I would love to connect. Elana, I look forward to your story. Thanks Peggy

  22. Amy

    I’m very interested in hearing your story Elana. I have three young boys and I really enjoy hearing about yours! Our health journey began with my oldest who is 6. In trying to figure out his food intolerances, I discovered my own. While it has been challenging, we are all so much better off, though still not where we want to be, despite eating a gluten, dairy, soy, yeast free and low glycemic diet! Your blog and your recipes have been a God send to my family! I will look forward to your post. Thank you!!

  23. Michele

    I’d very much like to know more about your story about going gluten free. Maybe more questions will emerge in response to what you share.

  24. Nancy Hildebrandt

    I too would love to hear your story, because everyone seems to take a slightly different journey to get to the gluten-free place. I saw five different doctors before I finally found a clinic that specializes in gluten intolerance (http://www.healthnowmedical.com/). Even telling the other specialists that I had an aunt and a cousin with celiac disease did not give them a clue. Beyond gluten, I’m still experimenting with a diet that I like and that likes me, so I’d like to hear more about how you made the choices you did. Your simple recipes and cookbook have inspired me to cook more, and you are an elegant writer, so it would be a good read.

  25. Kimberly

    I would love to hear about your journey and what has helped you the most. I think it is helpful to others to hear stories like that. It can give a lot of encouragement to people :)

  26. Vanessa

    My grandma used to make the exact same cucumber salad :)

  27. shannon abdollmohammadi @ themessyapron.com

    My grandma used to make something very similar to this, but she put in onions. I make it sometimes too and it is so delicious and fresh.

  28. Jen

    I love this cucumber salad—and appreciate how sometimes the best recipes are the simplest ones.
    I just found out that my naturopath recommends 100% compliance to gluten/sugar/dairy free. I’ve already been a fan of this blog and of the Almond Flour cookbook, but now that my condition has really been explained, I need to be eating much more protein and very low sugar, so all the things I’ve learned from this blog and way of eating is going to be a much easier transition! I would love to hear your journey as well—and, do you think a grain-free diet is good for everyone? For me, I can eat grains and lentils, as long as they are gluten free and I am sure to eat them with protein. I am curious about what works for you.
    Thanks for sharing your life and journey with us!

  29. Merryll

    Elana –

    Your site is amazing and I am so glad that I stumbled on it about 6 months ago when I figured out I was gluten intolerant. I would also like to hear about your journey and experiences that have had as it relates to gluten intolerance. More speciifically about the absence of grains. I am one of those people who has dieted all my life, mostly healthy way of eating diets, but made a mess of my metabolism and recently, through trial and error on my own (finally with a blood test to confirm), am gluten intolerant. I am at the age where losing weight is impossible despite strength training with a trainer 3 days a week, and cardio the other 3. Your story would be greatly appreciated.

  30. Betty

    Hi Elana,

    I have celiac and adrenal fatigue (most of my life) and have been gluten free for 3 years. I’ve followed your blog for almost that long. I’d love to know about your healing journey. How did you figure out that certain foods did not help you? Do you ever stray from that? What supplements are helping you? What other lifestyle changes are keeping you feeling good?

    I found SCD and GAPS as soon as I went gluten free thankfully and though it has been helpful, I think I need to learn to listen to my body better and let that be my guide. You seem so intuitive about the foods that help you feel better. I’d like to be more like that. Please keep blogging! Love your cookbook too!

  31. Primal Toad @ primaltoad.com

    I LOVE CUCUMBERS!! I remember eating this salad years ago when my mother made it. I am sending this recipe to the printer and will be enjoying this when I relax during the afternoon or evening hours soon.


  32. So simple, but so yummy. Cucumbers are perfect for summer!

  33. Jay

    Its cucumber salad with vinegar and salt, nothing more. Why on earth would you even bother to post this recipe as a gluten free recipe?

    Gluten free means one has taken the time to alter ingredients in a bread, a dessert, or any other wheat recipe, into an edible gluten free recipe.

    I find it hard to believe that this salad, a simple cucumber salad has been posted here for all to see as a gluten free recipe.

    Even the least experienced person that has been informed they must follow a gluten free diet, would know that cucumbers are gluten free. If not, then they have a much bigger problem.

    What a disapointment to see this inane recipe. I though I’d be led through a friend to a reliable gluten free website. Obviously I was not.

    • Being gluten free is more than baking breads and cakes and making flour substitutions – for so many it has to be a complete way of life in every aspect of food. When so many food products that one used to think of as normal every-day ingredients are now off-limits due to cross-contamination, glutenous additives, etc., it can seem extremely limiting and intimidating to first figure out exactly what one can eat. I have been there with my husband, where both of us have felt completely lost – there are even times now, years later, when we both feel stuck in a rut. It’s nice to see that some simple and quick dishes can be really delightful. When it seems that complicated is the only way to make anything gluten free, I love having a reminder that some lightly dressed cucumbers can also be satisfying and refreshing. I am a true believer that some of the best gluten free dishes are the ones that are naturally gluten free and require no alterations.

      Thanks Elana for posting this, going to cut some cucumbers up now!

    • While I love sites like Elana’s for her fabulous gluten-free baking, I also love simple recipes like this. I tried making pickled veggies once, and the result was not that great. Having a simple recipe from someone who knows what she’s doing can mean the difference between going out and spending a lot of money on commercial versions or trying to make the recipe again from scratch.

      Not to mention, many of us who are gluten-free also find that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and lowering our carb consumption can help us heal as well. So bring on the veggie recipes!

  34. carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com @ gingerlemongirl.com

    Wow Jay… really? Why do you read Elana’s site if you don’t like the recipes? And I think more than recipes Elana is big on sharing kitchen techniques and some people may not have been aware of making cucumbers in this fashion. I’m glad she posted it, especially now the midst of cucumber season. I also disagree with your definition of a gluten free recipe. Any recipe that doesn’t contain gluten is technically gluten free. Elana doesn’t make a big deal about this recipe, along with many other recipes being gluten free because so many of them are naturally gluten free. You must be having a really lousy day to be so negative. Hope it gets better for you!

  35. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    The beauty of Elana’s recipes is that almost all are naturally gluten free and delightfully simple to make. Real food at its best! :-) With literally thousands of readers, it’s clear that folks love these recipes and Elana. Keep ‘em coming, Elana!


  36. Bev Ebersole

    Elana, I would love to hear your story.

  37. This is so simple i have no excuse not to try it anymore.

  38. Lynn Krukowski @ fireagateartstudio.com

    We make and my husband loves a cucumber salad that is a dash of lemon juice, small spoonful of mayo, squirt of mustard, small shot of maple syrup mixed with thinly sliced cucumbers. I never thought to try apple cider vinegar so thanks. He likes a bit of sweetness in his dressings (I don’t use any) so will probably add a bit of maple syrup too.
    Thanks for sharing all your wisdom, knowledge and insights.

  39. gary & andrea fehr

    A friend of ours has ceciliac disease (spelling not sure – allergic to gluten). Gary has sinus allergies and now that he is totally gluten-free his allergies are not as bad. We also found by going gluten-free – we have lost weight. (Andrea still occasionally has gluten but Gary is full gluten-free.) We have been gluten-free for about 3 months now and each have dropped a waist size. Gary has went from a pants size 33 to 32 in 6 wks. Andrea has lost 8 lbs in 12 wks.

  40. Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living @ tipsonhealthyliving.com

    This recipe looks as simple as it is delicious. I can’t wait to try this at home!

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