The simple, classic German side dish, “Gurkensalat”. This Easy Old-Fashioned Cucumber Salad is just like grandma used to make! Thinly sliced cucumber and onions, chilled and marinated in a sweet vinegar base. A healthy and delicious gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and allergy-free recipe for any gathering!
You know those super simple dishes that were just staples and everyone assumed would be made for every family gathering? This old-fashioned cucumber salad would be one of those dishes! It’s hard to think of a time when my grandmother (the one on my dad’s side) didn’t have this sweet vinegar-based cucumber salad on the table. If you wanted a good cucumber salad, she was your go-to woman!
This old-fashioned cucumber salad is a German recipe (i.e. my German grandma). “Gurkensalat” is the name of this vinegar-based marinated cucumber and onion “salad”. Technically it’s kind of like a pickle, but not quite. It only needs to marinate overnight, just so the sweet vinegar marinade can infuse into and soften the cucumber and onion slices. It’s so fresh and crisp; a no-brainer side dish for not only summer cookouts, but anytime you need to add a little pizzazz to your typical salad rotation.
I never realized this cucumber salad was an actual German recipe. I thought it was just something…American? I guess I wouldn’t have given it much thought as a kid, but now I’m always investigating the history and backgrounds of the classic dishes I want to recreate. Good thing here, Gurkensalat is already gluten-free, vegan, allergy-free, and paleo to boot! However, I have seen some versions that include a dollop of sour cream…My grandma never it made it that way so that’s not to be worried about in this recipe.
One decision you do have to make is to peel or not to peel. You know that since I’m such an advocate for zero food waste and that I eat the skin of everything (hello mango and kiwi skin!), I do not advocate peeling the cucumbers. Leave that pretty deep green color on! You’re slicing the cucumbers into thin rounds, so you don’t have to worry about big “skinful” bites. Of course, if you really do prefer them peeled (or half peeled), that’s up to you. I’ll just have to look the other way!
Easy Old-Fashioned Cucumber Salad “Gurkensalat”
- Slice the cumbers into thin rounds and place in a large bowl.
- Slice the onion into thin rounds and then slice those rounds in half (for thin "half-moon" shaped strings), and place them in the bowl with the cucumber slices.
- Now add the dill, vinegar, water, sweetener, salt, and pepper.
- Toss everything together with your hands, cover the bowl, and then chill in the fridge overnight (or at least 8-12 hours).
Isn’t this cucumber salad such an easy recipe? I love when just a few simple ingredients can come together a create a perfect little side dish. We Germans know how to dress up some plain ‘ole cucumber slices! I guess the only thing this Gurkensalat is missing the that magic touch of love a grandmother can infuse into any dish, eh?
So tell me:
+ Have you ever had Gurkensalat?
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