Take your salad to the next level! This easy spicy cucumber salad with harissa marinated feta and bold flavors is an unforgettable taste experience. It’s a lunch by itself or the perfect side dish.
Wouldn’t you like to eat a fresh cucumber salad all year round?
It’s an exotic recipe that takes just 15 minutes to make. The mild spicy flavors with a light refreshing crunch, make this the best cucumber salad you will make.
It’s like getting the flavors of Morocco without leaving your house.
Here is a quick look at the ingredients. It is to understand why these specific ingredients were chosen. For more accurate nutritional information, consult your nutritionist. To get the full recipe, go to the recipe card.
- Feta Cheese – This cheese is a good source of complete protein. 1/4 block of this feta has about 10g of protein. Related: Is feta is vegetarian?
- Olives – Olives are packed with good fats. These good fats help protein be absorbed more efficiently. That’s why I always pair my olive salad with whipped feta.
- Cucumber – Along with a great crunch, cucumber is packed with so much nutrition. It also has a lot of fiber. I prefer mini cucumbers because they have a thin skin. You can also use Persian cucumbers, Kirby cucumbers, or English cucumbers.
- Radishes – Radish’s strong bite is the perfect complement to the bland flavors of cucumber. It’s also a great veggie for your liver. You can even roast radishes in butter and eat them as a healthy lunch.
- Harissa – Harissa can be spicy or mild. I choose mild for this recipe, but I always prefer the spicy version. Choose your spice level for this recipe.
- Avocado oil – Traditional recipe calls for sesame oil, but I love avocado oil! It has good fats and gives a natural flavor to the salad. Can be substituted with extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh Dill – One of its main benefits is that it can help digestion, especially of fiber. Dill is also good for your heart and lowers your cholesterol. Source: Dr. Axe.
- Red onion – Cucumber and onions are a great combination in this salad. These onions have a lot of phytochemicals, have fiber, and help blood sugar. Source: Livestrong.com
👩🍳 Substitution tip: Do you like sesame seeds? They would make a great topping and also add nutrition.
How to make cucumber salad
Step 1: Marinate the feta and olives
The first thing to do is to marinate the feta and olives in Harissa sauce. Ideally, you want to marinate them overnight, but you can marinate for 30 minutes.
- Cut the feta block into about 1″ cubes. Discard that excess water it comes with.
- Place the feta cubes and olives in an airtight container, preferably with a latch lock. This is what I use -> (Affiliate Link) Kringol 4 Pack Jars.
- Add the Harissa sauce and water to the glass jar. If you have cayenne pepper on hand, add it too.
- Gently mix the ingredients, making sure to not smoosh the feta. For best results, Marinate for 30min or overnight. It will add so much flavor to the cucumber salad.
🍅 Handy Tip: Make extra marinated feta and olives to keep in the fridge. It’s a nice snack or add it to sandwiches and pasta salads. It’s packed with protein and good fats.
Step 2: Assemble the salad
- The next day, place the sliced cucumbers, sliced radishes, red onions, marinated feta, and olive combo along with fresh dill in a large bowl.
- Add the salt, lemon juice, and avocado juice to the bowl.
- Add 2 tsp of the spicy sauce we made using harissa.
- Mix well and serve this cold cucumber salad immediately. If it’s too cold, you can serve it at room temperature by letting it stand for a little while on the counter.
If you are serving it as a side to the main course, serve it in these (Affiliate Link) small side dishes. They are so cute and convenient.
🧄 Handy Tip: If you love garlic cloves and fresh ginger, add them to the marinade. They will add so much flavor to the cucumber salad.
Answering Common Questions
Almost all feta cheese is made with animal rennet enzyme. This means that it’s not vegetarian-friendly. However, Organic Valley makes feta blocks that DON’T use animal rennet. They use plant enzymes to make their feta cheese.
Harissa is normally on the spicy side. But, you can use Mina’s harissa sauce which makes a very mild flavor.
Other than the size, mini cucumbers are crisp cucumbers. They also hold the flavors of the salad well. I find regular cucumbers have so much water. Also, there are almost no seeds in the mini cucumber.
🛍 Shopping tip: Organic Valley’s Feta Blocks are not always easy to find. So, when you see it at your grocery store, stock up on it. I will buy 4-5 blocks and keep them and that will last me about 6 months.
This spicy cucumber salad is best when fresh! After a few hours, it gets soggy and the cucumber tends to get limp.
If you do have leftovers, put them in glass containers (Affiliate Link) like these and refrigerate. Use up within 1-2 days.
In case you want to use this recipe for cucumber salad in a meal prep, here is how I do it. Keep the feta, olives, salt, lemon juice, and oil in a separate container from the cucumber, dill, onions, and radishes.
What I love to do is make a spicy pickled onion beforehand. Then, I add it to this cucumber salad and it just adds a wonderful flavor to the cucumber salad.
Mix all the ingredients only when you are ready to eat the salad. This way, you will have the best cucumber salad.
👩🍳 Substitution tip: If you want to make this vegan, use marinated tofu instead of marinated feta. Harissa marinated tofu would be great with this salad.
What to serve with it
This dish is so versatile because it can be a great appetizer, a refreshing side dish, or served by itself!
They are also great with ramen bowls. The crunch is the perfect offset to soft noodles.
I know that not everyone is into spicy food, like me. If you prefer sweet flavors, use homemade chili oil.
Love a good cucumber recipe? Try more!
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Easy Cucumber Salad
- Glass jar with latch lock
For marinating feta
- 2 Tbsp Harissa sauce Mild or Medium
- ½ block feta
- ¼ cup olives I used Spanish olives
- ¼ cup water
For the salad
- 2 mini cucumbers thinly sliced rounds
- 3 radishes thinly sliced rounds
- ¼ cup red onion
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt optional
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 sprigs fresh dill
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
Step 1: Marinate the feta
- Cut the feta block into about 1″ cubes
- Place the feta cubes and olives in a glass jar, preferably with a latch lock
- Add the Harrissa sauce and water to the glass jar
- Gently mix the ingredients, making sure to not smoosh the feta. Marinate for 30min or overnight
Step 2: Assemble the salad
- Place the chopped veggies, marinated feta and olive combo and fresh dill in a salad bowl
- Add the salt, lemon juice and avocado juice to the bowl
- Add a tsp of the feta marinated liquid to the salad
- Mix well and serve this cold cucumber salad immediately.