|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||48%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are a salad combination that's found in many parts of the world—the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean all have their own variations. In India, the refreshing trio is known as kachumber. Kachumber resembles several staple salad dishes from cuisines, like kachumbari in the Great Lakes region of Africa or the famous Israeli salad.
What makes kachumber unique is its dressing, which doesn't contain any oil, but rather a very simple combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This quick-to-make kachumber recipe brings to your table a flavorful salad whose refreshing nature makes it a great side to any spicy food, curries, dal, rotis, burgers, sandwiches, or spicy curries. It also makes a fantastic summer salad and is a perfect vegan dish.
We recommend using English cucumbers, as they don't have seeds and have a great crunchy and firm texture. Equally delicious but lesser in flavor, Persian cucumbers work instead if you can't find English. If using regular cucumbers, peel and seed beforehand. As the red onion in this recipe can be very pungent, we suggest soaking it in ice water for 15 minutes prior to use so it will have less of a bite.
1/2 medium red onion
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 large English cucumber
1 large carrot
4 medium radishes, optional
1 jalapeño pepper, optional
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
Gather the ingredients.
Peel and finely dice the red onion.
Depending on their size, halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes.
Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and dice. No need to peel or seed if using English or Persian cucumbers. For other types of cucumbers, do seed and peel.
Peel the carrot and slice using a julienne peeler or a regular vegetable peeler.
If using, thinly slice the radishes with a sharp knife or mandoline.
If using, seed and dice the jalapeño. To reduce the heat, remove the veins as well as the seeds before dicing.
Place all the cut vegetables into a large bowl and toss with the cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Season with the ground cumin, if using.
What Is a Burpless Cucumber?
Cucumbers contain a compound called cucurbitacin, which in nature prevents animals and pests from eating and preying on the fruits of the cucumber plant. This same compound causes humans to burp after eating cucumbers, but with many centuries of adaptation on our end to be able to digest these crunchy fruits, the burping, if any, should be mild. Luckily, many Asian and American burpless cucumbers have low or no cucurbitacin (Summer Dance, Garden Sweet, Armenian, or Burpless Beauty, to name a few). Other members of the melon family (which cucumbers belong to) can also cause the same unwelcome reaction in humans.
Reduce the strong taste of the diced onions by soaking them in ice water for about 15 minutes. Drain them well and add them to the salad.
Tasty Additions and Substitutions
This salad has many variations. Here are some of our favorites:
- Toss the vegetables with 3/4 cup of 2 percent Greek yogurt. The thick and creamier texture makes this variation ideal to use as a BBQ salad to tone down the spice and smokiness of meats. If you'd prefer a fattier version, use full-fat Greek yogurt. Taste for salt and pepper before serving.
- Use vinegar instead of lemon juice. Apple cider or white vinegar are great substitutions.
- Add 1/2 cup of freshly chopped mint alongside the cilantro.
- Use garam masala instead of cumin.
- Add spicy chile peppers or a dash of cayenne pepper. Using your favorite hot sauce instead can also be a great addition.
- Chop all of the vegetables into 1/4-inch dice for a tasty salsa or dip for chips.
- Replace the lemon juice with lime juice.
- Instead of the jalapeño pepper, add heat with a dash of cayenne or about 1/4 teaspoon of milder Kashmiri chili powder.
How to Store Cucumber Salad
If not using right away, skip the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cumin, if using. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to two days. Add the lemon juice and seasoning right before serving. If you have leftovers, keep overnight and use the next day.