Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

I want to jump in here to highlight a ringer of a cucumber salad. There were four recipe contenders in the cucumber section of the book I'm going to reference, and if the other three are as good as this, it's going to be a very cu-centric summer. The salad. It's crisp and refreshing, beautiful, and surprisingly substantial. The main players: cucumbers, ice-bathed scallions, toasted walnuts, mint, rose, and a vinegar-spiked yogurt dressing. I've been adding a scoop of lentils and making a meal out of it all week. The recipe is from the new Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables cookbook by Joshua McFadden, and I knew the whole thing was going to be good when I saw who was working on it. If you know Tusk or Ava Gene's in Portland you know the author. For the book he worked with Toni Tajima (design / you all know her from both Super Natural books, and Near & Far), Laura Dart did the photography (she took this shot of me & Wayne years ago at one of the early Kinfolk brunches), Martha Holmberg (former editor of Fine Cooking), and Melinda Josie (illustration). A lot of heart on this team. Keep your eyes peeled if you haven't see it already - 400 pages of inspiration.

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

HS: A couple of notes before diving into the recipe. I added some cooked lentils to make this a full lunch. Also, please feel free to use a mix of cucumber varietals, if you have access to more than one. On the vinegar front, the better your vinegar tastes, the better your overall salad is going to be. Also, you can use any edible flower here (unsprayed). I've made this salad three times now, and have taken to adding 2 cloves of smashed (into a paste) garlic to the yogurt.

1 pound cucumbers, unpeeled unless waxed
fine grain sea salt & lots of freshly cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

1 bunch scallions, trimmed (including the root end and just 1/2 inch off the green tops), slice thinly on a sharp angle, soak in ice water for 20 minutes, drain well

1/4+ cup walnuts, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
1 small handful mint leaves
1 tiny handful rose petals, fresh or dried (from unsprayed roses)

For serving: 1-2 cups cooked lentils, drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil

Trim the ends of the cucumbers, halve lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Slice the cucumbers into shapes bite-sized shapes that echo their natural shape. Toss the cucumbers with 1 teaspoon salt and put in a colander so the salt can draw out the excess moisture. Let them sit for 30 minutes. Blot the cucumbers on paper towels to remove the moisture and excess salt and transfer to a large bowl.

Mix the rose water and vinegar together, add to the cucumbers and toss. Add the yogurt and toss again. Add the scallions, walnuts, mint, and rose petals. Season lightly with salt and lots of cracked pepper and toss again. Taste and adjust with more vinegar, salt, or pepper. Serve soon. Alternately, I've been serving the yogurt slathered across the bottom of a shallow bowl, adding the vinegar tossed cucumbers, scallions, walnuts etc. Then doing a very light toss.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden, published by Artisan (2017)

Prep time: 30 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I loved this salad last night! So perfect in every way.


Hi Heidi! Any suggestions on a sub for the rose water? (I'm usually not a big fan of it... :( ) I have all the other ingredients ready to go, so I thought I'd give this a try. Thanks!

HS: Hi Sandra! You can just leave it out! Or, if you like florals outside of rose, you might try orange blossom water?....


Love this website!! I have had two questions for a while: How much is a bunch? I harvest from my garden and find it confusing when so many different cookbooks refer to "a bunch or handful". And, what type of mint, spearmint, peppermint, etc?

Judy Bernstein Bunzl

Do you think goat milk kefir would be ok or alter the taste too much? I suppose I could try and report back :-)


I made this tonight - really good! I subbed orange blossom water for the rose water, and almonds for the walnuts - both were fine.


An update - I made a dressing of the rose water, goat's milk kefir, garlic (as you suggested), vinegar, salt and pepper and used it on top of chopped broccoli, lentils and barley primarily because I incorrectly guessed what was in the fridge on the way home. I'm sorry it doesn't have much to do with this recipe, but the flavors in the dressing are wonderful as you noted!


Have to ask this, because I've never seen it before. What does the ice bath do to the scallions? Curious.

HS: They take some of the bite out of the scallions, and crisp up the texture nicely. :)


OMG! Fabulous!


This was fantastic! In lieu of rose water I used some St Germain (elderflower liqueur) and it worked great. Also added some fennel and torn castelvetrano green olives. sprinkled top with allepo at serving. A new go to!

HS: I love these ideas - especially the elderflower! Brilliant!


This was fantastic! In lieu of rose water I used some St Germain (elderflower liqueur) and it worked great. Also added some fennel and torn castelvetrano green olives. sprinkled top with allepo at serving. A new go to!


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