Our Viral Spiral Cucumber Salad Puts A Twist On The Classic Side

Looking for a fresh twist on your classic cucumber salad? Spiral-ify it. Featuring a spicy sweet harissa dressing and showered with feta and dill, this take on viral TikTok spiral cucumber salad will be the first dish to disappear at your summer potluck.

Cutting the cucumber:
The magic of this salad lies in the way the cucumber is cut, so it stretches open in beautiful spirals, almost like an accordion. While these cuts aren’t difficult, there are a few tips that will definitely make them easier to accomplish:

—Use chopsticks. Nestling a chopstick along each side of the cucumber is the easiest way to ensure your slices will be deep enough without completely cutting through. If you don’t have a pair of chopsticks, you could also use two drinking straws. If you don’t have either, you can cut through the cucumber without any “guard rails.” Keep in mind that the goal is to cut about three-quarters of the way through the cucumber on each side: If you shoot for that, you should be good to go.
—Space the cuts evenly. In testing, I found the best spirals came from cuts that were spaced exactly ¼” apart. Any thicker and the spirals were too clunky to move fluidly. Any thinner and they were too fragile and broke easily.
—Cut diagonal, then cut vertical. It might feel counterintuitive, but the spiral will hold up best if you cut only one side in a diagonal and then cut the other side with the knife slicing straight across the cucumber. Geometry was never my strong suit, so I can’t exactly explain why it works better—you’ll just have to trust me on this.

The dressing:
My twist on this salad includes a simple dressing made with harissa, honey, finely chopped garlic, and fresh lemon zest. If you’ve never had harissa, it’s a spicy red pepper sauce originating in Morocco. It’s slightly fruity and very hot. While you can make your own, most grocery stores now sell at least one excellent version of it. Spice levels vary by brand, though, so make sure to taste it before using in the dressing. I’d recommend tasting the dressing before pouring it over the cucumbers too: You can always add a bit more honey if you find it’s too spicy. Just keep in mind that the cucumbers will tone down the heat as well.

Storage:
This salad is best fresh. As the cucumbers sit in the dressing, they will continue to release moisture, diluting the overall flavor. If you want to work ahead, you can cut the cucumber, make the dressing, and store both in separate airtight containers for up to 1 day. Avoid salting the cucumber until just before you’re ready to assemble and serve the salad, though—you don’t want it to get too soggy. If you happen to have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Did you try making this? Let us know it went in the comments!

Yields: 4

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb.

    Persian cucumbers

  • 1 1/2

    kosher salt

  • 1

    small clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp.

    harissa

  • 2 tbsp.

    honey

  • 1/2 tsp.

    finely grated lemon zest, plus more

  • 3 tbsp.

    feta, crumbled

  • 1 tbsp.

    small fresh dill fronds

Directions

  1. On a cutting board, anchor a cucumber between 2 chopsticks with one long side facing you. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts at ¼” intervals all along the cucumber, slicing about three-quarters of the way through, just until the knife hits the chopsticks. Be careful not to slice all the way through the cucumber.

  2. Turn cucumber so cuts are facing down. With the knife blade at a 90° angle to the cucumber, make vertical cuts at ¼” intervals across exposed side. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cucumber.

  3. Add ¾ teaspoon salt, pushing salt into cuts. Let sit until moisture comes out of cucumber, about 15 minutes. Drain. Pat cucumber dry and wipe out bowl. Return cucumber to bowl.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk garlic, harissa, honey, and lemon zest until combined. Pour dressing over cucumber, tossing lightly to coat. Arrange cucumber on a platter. Spoon remaining dressing over from bottom of bowl. Top with feta, dill, and more lemon zest.

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