Garlicky Cucumber Salad With Yoghurt And Mint


This is another lazybones recipe, so be prepared for brevity.  When I’m making a superfast weeknight meal, like this one, I focus on sides that can be done in roughly the time that it takes for my entree to cook.  This is a shining example of that, and I wouldn’t even call this a recipe – more like a passing thought, put out there for your consideration.

My Dad makes a delicious version of this salad (Khiar Bi Laban…or Labneh…or Leban, depending on who’s spelling) and serves it frequently in the summertime, beside grilled chicken or fish.  His version has a bit more yoghurt, less mint and garlic.  I think that once upon a time I used to make it just like he did, but then when I started frequenting Indian restaurants it became more like a raita…and eventually into what it is today:  a supremely garlicky and refreshing side dish that can be served with many Middle Eastern or East Asian dishes.  

I like to make this alongside spicy dishes because the cooling yoghurt and cucumber cut right through the heat to make everything taste just a little bit better.  It’s also one of my go-to side dishes, because it’s so blessed easy that you’ll have the bowl ready before the oven has had adequate time to preheat.  Which gives me more time to pour a glass of wine, consider doing laundry, reject that idea with vehemence, go pester Mike until he gets feisty, and then return to the kitchen (under the guise of a pre-heated oven which must be tended to immediately) just when he gets righteously pissed off.  

Garlicky Cucumber Salad With Yoghurt And Mint 

That seems like an awful lot of capitals to me….my apologies.

Serves 4 as a light side dish.

  • 2 large English cucumbers
  • 2 cloves of garlic *
  • 1.5 tbsp dried mint
  • 3/4 cup yoghurt
  • salt and pepper to taste

* Because the garlic is raw, it will tend to be very pungent and almost adds some ‘heat’ to the dish.  I wouldn’t really eat this before a first date…unless I fed it to him first.  


In a medium bowl mix together the yoghurt, mint, and rasped or pressed garlic cloves.


Peel the cucumbers, for the most part, leaving a thin strip of green between each peeled section.


Top and tail the cucumbers before slicing them vertically into quarters.  Chop them horizontally into 1/2 inch chunks.


Toss the cucumber with the yoghurt dressing and season liberally with salt and pepper.

And…oh god, that’s it.  This might be the shortest post that I’ve ever written.  Crikey, how can I prolong the agony?   Uh…..oh wow, I’m totally about to fail y’all here…..

Q:  What do you get when you eat too many Christmas decorations?

Yes, I’m going there.  This is a desperate attempt at filler, and I won’t even try to hide that fact from you.

A:  Tinselitis!


Oh jeez, I heard that one today and I’m still wiping the tears from my eyes.  I swear, the joke-receptor part of my brain never matured past the age of 7.

Anyway, might as well wrap it all up.  So your cucumbers are in the yoghurt. Everything is tossed and seasoned….and the commercials aren’t even over yet.  


This is really a great pairing for spicy East Asian dishes, like Tandoori or Chicken Tikka, particularly with the many similarities to a coarse version of cucumber raita.


…But it’s also really good with Middle Eastern dishes, like Kafta or kibbeh.


Or, like my Dad, you could serve it with barbecued chicken or steak.  Who am I to say?  I’m just a lazy, happy eater.

(PS – Why was the Christmas cake getting all paro?  Because the MINCE SPIES….heheheheheheh)

  • Mike

    For real, the best thing you can do to get Tina howling is crack out your favorite fourth-grade joke books: The pun-heavier, the better.

    I had this salad last night for dinner, actually, and I can say with all confidence that it’s as good the second day as the first. Fresh and cool, and very light.

  • Lo!

    I make a lot of tzatziki… but I never think of turning it into a bit of side dish. Great idea, Tina.

    Now I’m craving a lamb burger…

  • Kristie

    I plan to eat the hell out of this tonight, but my question for you is: How is that not a tzatziki sauce?

  • Kristie

    Ahhhh. Because it’s chunkier. Fair enough, good work!

  • noble pig

    It sounds delish, love the garlicky part.

  • Ivy

    I am definitely making this today. Cypriot cuisine has an influence from Lebanese cuisine as well. It’s like the Cypriot version of tzatziki in which we add mint. I never thought of having the cucumber as a salad. We also make kibbeh but we call them koupes and tambouleh called tambouli.

  • Mike

    That looks delicious to me and kind of reminds me of tzatziki…which I love. Its interesting to see it in salad form–I’ll have to keep that one in mind for future dishes!

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