It’s been 29 weeks since I first made this avocado and cucumber salad, which means two things: it predates this news, meaning that all of my theories about this kid making me crave avocado, grapefruit, and chocolate are perhaps completely bogus, elaborate projections on my part. Two, I’ve probably made it 29 times since then and never shared it with you, which is a huge shame. I’m clearly addicted to it, but every time I went to take a few photos and write it out in recipe format, I convinced myself it was too simple to make a big deal of. You know, as if what anyone has ever asked for in their life is more complicated recipes and fewer 5-minute salads worth obsessing over.
I first spied it on the side of a plate on Instagram and my reaction was immediate and three-fold: why isn’t this in my life, give it to me, and I want it now now now. Fortunately, Julia Turshen is not only a talented food writer and recipe creator (nbd, just co-authored Gwenyth Paltrow’s cookbooks, Buvette’s, and has her own coming out next year), but a friendly human being who explained to me that she made the dressing with a mixture of mayo, lime juice and sriracha and I was pretty much in the kitchen before she’d finished typing.
There’s been so much chatter in recent years about the glories of avocado toast (I, too, am a convert but I’m also just as happy to let Café Gitane make it for me) but so much less about what an flawless combination avocados and cucumbers are. One is rich, the other is snappy, and they play off each other perfectly, like carrots and hummus, artichokes and lemon or radishes and butter. They’re as welcome piled on, yes, toast as they are on the side of a plate of tacos or grilled fish. I made a massive bowl of this for my family’s Seder on Friday night and based on how fast it disappeared, I suspect I’m not the only one who enjoyed a brimming green break from the traditional brisket, kugel and bread of affliction, rendered into various formats.
Not sick of me yet? Here are a few articles that have run recently where I talk about things slightly outside the recipe scope of this site: a bit about my kitchen in The Guardian, career advice on Cup of Jo, on why I continue to hate packing lunchboxes on Food52, how I “organize” (ha) my pantry (and baking pans) on The Kitchn, a bit about matzo crack and recipe attribution in Tablet Magazine, and an ode to the caramel cake in the archives on Food52. Okay, now I bet you are!
One year ago: Asparagus-Stuffed Eggs
Two years ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
Three years ago: Over-The-Top Mushroom Quiche
Four years ago: Apple Tarte Tatin
Five years ago: Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting
Six years ago: Bialys
Seven years ago: Vegetarian Cassoulet
Eight years ago: Artichoke, Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad
Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad
Inspired by the side of Julia Turshen’s plate
This salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, chametz-free and vegetarian… but you should make it anyway, heh, because it’s fresh and green and totally hits the spot. It also takes about 5 minutes, tops, to put together which means that you can make as much of a habit of it as we have.
There are a ton of ways to adapt it, too. Last Friday, I added some thinly sliced Romaine hearts for bulk, but still left it predominantly a cucumber and avocado bowl. I added the scallions, not Julia, but if they’re not your thing, skip them. If you’re not into lime and cilantro or parsley, try lemon and dill. If you’re not into mayo, try using yogurt. Or, skip the creamy dressing entirely. You could make a Tex-Mexish variation with minced jalapeno, olive oil and ground cumin, or a Japanese-ish version with a dressing of toasted sesame oil, miso, rice vinegar, ginger and garnished with toasted black and/or white sesame seeds. And if that’s still not enough to get you started, be warned that salads this simple might lead to you to add another dish, and then another, and then you might have as huge of a Spring feast as we had on Sunday night. Don’t worry, I told the family not to get used to it.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
3/4 to 1 pound seedless cucumber, washed and chopped into chunks
2 thin or 1 regular scallions, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons mayonaise
Juice of half a lime, plus more to taste
Salt and hot sauce (we used Sriracha) to taste
Chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley to garnish
Combine cucumber, scallions and avocado in a bowl. Whisk together mayo, lime and seasonings, adjusting levels to taste. Drizzle salad with dressing and garnish with cilantro or parsley. Repeat again tomorrow.