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Spanish-Style Cucumber Salad with Jerez Sherry Vinegar Dressing

Easy 5-minute Summer Salad Recipe | Vegan | No Cooking

Written By: Byron | June 10, 2024
A plate of Spanish-style cucumber salad

Spanish-style cucumber salad (Ensalada de Pepino) is a refreshing, flavorful, and colorful vegan salad perfect as a side dish or a light meal, especially in warm weather. The use of Jerez sherry vinegar and a splash of extra virgin olive oil creates a subtle yet flavorsome dressing that compliments the crisp cucumber and ripe tomatoes. 

With just 5 minutes of prep and no cooking required, this is our new go-to summer salad recipe!

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Serving:

Salad for 4

Ready in:

5 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Good on its own

A plate of Spanish-style cucumber salad

Why This Recipe is So Good! 

  • No cooking!
  • Easy to prepare in just 5 minutes
  • Healthy & nutritious
  • Loaded with Mediterranean flavors
  • Easy and affordable to make
  • Vegan-friendly
  • One pot recipe

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to Make Spanish-Style Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

Equipment

Method

  • Prep cucumbers by cutting them into thin rounds or half rounds about 1/8th inch (0.5 cm) is ideal. Add the chopped cucumber to a large salad bowl. 
  • Finely slice the red onion and cut the tomatoes into 8 wedges (make more wedges if you are using large tomatoes). Add to the bowl with the cucumber.
  • In a small bowl combine the sherry, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk or fork for around 30 seconds. 
  • Drizzle dressing and lightly toss the salad right before serving.

      Tips for Preparing Cucumber Salad

      • Peeling: If cucumbers have thicker skin (like regular garden cucumbers), consider peeling them to avoid bitterness.
      • Seeding: For varieties with more seeds, halve them lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing.
      • Salting: To avoid watery salad, sprinkle sliced cucumbers with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes, then drain off the excess water before mixing with other ingredients.
      A plate of Spanish-style cucumber salad

      Spanish-Style Cucumber Salad

      A Spanish cucumber salad, referred to as “Ensalada de Pepino,” in Spain typically features fresh, simple ingredients that highlight the flavors of the cucumbers. Unlike cucumber salads from other parts of Europe, Spanish cucumber salads are not creamy and rely on the freshness of ingredients and a little drizzle of good quality olive oil to allow the flavors to shine through.

      Other notable differences are the use of tomatoes, and sometimes other ingredients such as olives, capers, green bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs, and even garlic to add a zesty kick.

      What is Jerez Sherry vinegar and why you should use it!

      Jerez Sherry vinegar is a type of sherry vinegar that originates from the region/town of Jerez de la Frontera, located in the southern Andalusia region of Spain. It’s made from sherry wine, specifically from the Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel grape varieties, which are traditionally used in the production of sherry. This vinegar is renowned for its rich, complex flavor, which results from the unique solera aging process used for both sherry and the vinegar itself.

      We used Sanchez Romate Reserva Sherry vinegar which is a premium sherry Vinegar that is distributed all over Spain. The sherry vinegar is made from Palomino grapes and aged for at least three years, giving it a distinctive flavor with hints of Oloroso sherry. NOTE: Sanchez Romate sherry vinegar can be difficult to source outside of Spain, another great sherry vinegar that’s available in the UK, Europe, and the USA is Jerez Sherry Vinegar.

      Reasons to Use Jerez Sherry Vinegar:

      Complex Flavor Profile:

      • Aged Complexity: The solera aging process imparts deep, layered flavors, including notes of nuts, caramel, and dried fruits. This makes Jerez Sherry Vinegar richer and more complex compared to regular wine vinegars.
      • Balanced Acidity: It has a balanced acidity that enhances dishes without overpowering them, making it versatile for both cooking and finishing dishes.

      Culinary Versatility:

      • Dressings and Marinades: Its robust flavor makes it an excellent choice for salad dressings, vinaigrettes, and marinades, adding depth and sophistication to simple dishes.
      • Deglazing: Use it to deglaze pans after sautéing meats or vegetables, capturing the browned bits and creating a flavorful base for sauces.
      • Finishing Touch: Drizzle it over roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even strawberries to enhance their natural flavors.
      A bottle of Sanchez Romate Reserva Sherry vinegar.

      Key Ingredients

      Here are the key ingredients that define a traditional Spanish cucumber salad:

      • Cucumbers:

      Thinly sliced or diced, they form the base of the salad. English or Persian cucumbers are often preferred for their thin skin and fewer seeds.

      • Tomatoes:

      Often included, tomatoes are usually diced and add a juicy, sweet, and slightly acidic element to the salad.

      • Onions:

      Thinly sliced red or white onions add a sharp, slightly spicy flavor that complements the cucumbers and tomatoes. We opted for red onion for this recipe as it adds some color and we love the sharpness of fresh raw red onion in salads. 

      • Olive Oil:

      A good quality extra virgin olive oil is essential for dressing the salad, adding richness, and enhancing the flavors of the vegetables. Given the price of olive oil what it is, use the best quality olive oil you can afford. 

      • Vinegar:

      Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar is commonly used, giving the salad a tangy kick. For this recipe, we used Sanchez Romate sherry vinegar, a prized sherry vinegar from the jerez de la Frontera region of Spain. 

      • Salt and Pepper:

      These basic seasonings are added to taste to enhance all the other flavors in the salad. Use a good quality salt such as Pink Himalayan Salt or a coarse Sea Salt. Whenever there is a call for pepper, use freshly cracked black pepper.

      Optional Ingredients

      • Lemon Juice:

      Some recipes might include a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for additional acidity and brightness.

      • Fresh Herbs:

      Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro is often sprinkled over the salad for a burst of fresh, herbal flavor.

      • Capers:

      Occasionally, capers are added for an extra briny flavor.

      • Hard-Boiled Eggs:

      Sliced or chopped hard-boiled eggs can be included for additional protein and richness.

      • Green Bell Peppers:

      Chopped green bell peppers add a crunchy texture and a mild sweetness to the salad. 

      • Olives:

      Green or black olives, typically sliced, add a briny, savory note.

      • Garlic:

      Finely chopped or minced garlic provides a pungent, aromatic flavor.

      Add Some Protein: 

      This cucumber salad recipe is vegan-friendly and is a great side dish for any main. If you are looking to bulk up the recipe with a protein boost, add some grilled tuna fillet, grilled chicken breast, or even some tofu. For an easy (and affordable) protein boost, add some tinned tuna or sardines packaged in olive oil.

      Best Cucumbers to Use for Cucumber Salad

      For making cucumber salad, the best types of cucumbers to use are those that have thin skins, fewer seeds, and a crisp texture. Here are some top choices:

      1. English Cucumbers (also known as hothouse cucumbers):

      Characteristics: Thin, delicate skin that doesn’t require peeling; fewer seeds; milder taste; and longer in size.

      Why they’re good: They are easy to prepare since peeling isn’t necessary, and their texture remains crisp and refreshing in salads.

      1. Persian Cucumbers:

      Characteristics: Small, slender, and seedless with a thin skin.

      Why they’re good: They have a nice crunch, a mild flavor, and are very tender, making them ideal for salads. They also don’t require peeling.

      FAQs

      Should I peel cucumbers for cucumber salad?

      This depends on the type of cucumber used. English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers have a thin skin and do not require peeling. Other varieties may have thicker skin which tastes bitter and is best to peel. 

      Do I need to use tomatoes for cucumber salad?

      Not at all. Adding tomatoes is a characteristic of Spanish-style cucumber salad adding some color and flavor, but you can easily omit the tomatoes if you prefer. 

      Is cucumber salad vegan?

      Yep, it sure is. Cucumber salad is 100% vegan-friendly! 

      Do I need to salt the cucumbers?

      If the cucumbers are very juicy, it is best to apply some salt to the sliced cucumbers to help draw the moisture from them. This step is not necessary if the cucumbers are not too juicy. Check the chopping board once you have cut them into rounds, if it is still dry, there’s no need to salt the cucumbers. 

      Can I use white onion instead of red onion?

      Yes, white onion can be subbed for red onion. To reduce the sharpness of the onion, soak it in iced water for 5 minutes immediately after you slice it. 

      Sliced cucumber rounds sit on a chopping board

      Nutrition Facts

      Servings: 4

      Amount per serving

       

      Calories

      194

      % Daily Value*

      Total Fat 11.6g

      15%

      Saturated Fat 1.8g

      9%

      Cholesterol 0mg

      0%

      Sodium 19mg

      1%

      Total Carbohydrate 25.9g

      9%

      Dietary Fiber 8.3g

      30%

      Total Sugars 4.7g

       

      Protein 4.4g

       

      Vitamin D 0mcg

      0%

      Calcium 141mg

      11%

      Iron 8mg

      44%

      Potassium 695mg

      15%

      *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

      A plate of Spanish-style cucumber salad
      A plate of Spanish-style cucumber salad

      Spanish-Style Cucumber Salad with Jerez Sherry Vinegar Dressing (Ensalada de Pepino)

      Byron
      Spanish-style cucumber salad (Ensalada de Pepino) is a refreshing, flavorful, and colorful vegan salad perfect as a side dish or a light meal, especially in warm weather. The use of Jerez sherry vinegar and a splash of extra virgin olive oil creates a subtle yet flavorsome dressing that compliments the crisp cucumber and ripe tomatoes.
      No ratings yet
      Prep Time 5 minutes
      Cook Time 0 minutes
      Total Time 5 minutes
      Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
      Cuisine andaluz, Authentic Spanish recipe, Spain, vegan
      Servings 4 side
      Calories 194 kcal

      Equipment

      Ingredients

      • 2 English cucumbers cut into thin rounds or half rounds
      • 2 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
      • ½ red onion
      • 2 tablespoons Jerez Sherry vinegar we used Sanchez Romate Reserva Sherry vinegar
      • ¼ cup Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • Salt and black pepper to taste

      Instructions
       

      • Prep cucumbers by cutting them into thin rounds or half rounds about 1/8th inch (0.5 cm) is ideal. Add the chopped cucumber to a large salad bowl.
        2 English cucumbers
      • Finely slice the red onion and cut the tomatoes into 8 wedges (make more wedges if you are using large tomatoes). Add to the bowl with the cucumber.
        ½ red onion, 2 ripe tomatoes
      • In a small bowl combine the sherry, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk or fork for around 30 seconds.
        2 tablespoons Jerez Sherry vinegar, ¼ cup Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and black pepper
      • Drizzle dressing and lightly toss the salad right before serving.

      Video

      Notes

      Tips for Preparing Cucumber Salad

      • Peeling: If cucumbers have thicker skin (like regular garden cucumbers), consider peeling them to avoid bitterness.
      • Seeding: For varieties with more seeds, halve them lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing.
      • Salting: To avoid watery salad, sprinkle sliced cucumbers with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes, then drain off the excess water before mixing with other ingredients.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 180gCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 25.9gProtein: 4.4gFat: 11.6gSaturated Fat: 1.8gSodium: 19mgPotassium: 695mgFiber: 8.3gSugar: 4.7gCalcium: 141mgIron: 8mg
      Keyword 5-minute recipe, cucumber gazpacho, Cucumber salad, easy, healthy, no-cooking, one-pot, salad, Summer salad, vegan, vegetarian

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