A balanced barbecue spread needs at least one refreshing side or salad to tame the heat, and a cucumber salad using your own or local ingredients works wonders to cool things down. Adding a trending ingredient like za’atar—a Middle Eastern spice blend—can pique the interest of your guests and create conversation. This Cucumber Salad with Za’atar Yogurt Recipe will add this and much more to your table and menu.
What is Za’atar Seasoning?
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern mix of dried herbs and spices and can be used to add an extra spice and layer of complexity to a variety of dishes. It works incredibly well with yogurt-based recipes, such as this one, because of its natural zest balancing out the tangy and fatty qualities of the yogurt.
This recipe is bold and bright and will change the way you think about summer salads.
Other Ways to Use Dill
Are you interested in this recipe but worried about what to do with all that extra dill? You can use this herb to produce a powerful and unique aroma, as a bright and colorful garnish, and to enhance and diversify your cooking in other recipes, such as seafood or pasta dishes, in homemade dressings, in pickling or paired with potatoes.
Cucumber Salad with Dill & Za'atar Yogurt
- 3–4 cucumbers, English or hot house
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsps za'atar seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- Freshly ground pepper
- Peel and halve cucumbers lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and slice thinly. Place cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with 1 tsp kosher salt, and let them drain for 30 minutes to up to 2 hours. Rinse and pat dry. This step draws some water out of the cucumbers to ensure the salad doesn’t get too watery.
- Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the za’atar seasoning and remove from heat. Let cool.
- Make the dressing: mix yogurt, lemon juice, cooled za’atar oil, remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt, pepper and most of the fresh dill, reserving some for garnish. Taste as you go.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cucumbers, thinly sliced red onion and the yogurt dressing. Sprinkle with leftover herbs and more pepper, if desired.
Tips for Growing Cucumbers in Virginia
If you’re looking to try your hand at gardening and are not entirely sure where to start, we highly recommend cucumbers. This vegetable is not only easy to grow but also delicious and a healthy and refreshing snack for the whole family. Below, we have some tips to help you grow cucumbers so you have them on-hand to use in other dishes.
- Cucumbers need full sun and warm temperatures to grow.
- Cucumbers also need lots of moisture and well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter with near-neutral pH.
- Cucumbers are very sensitive to cold. Don’t rush to plant too early. Temperatures need to stay above 55 degrees at night.
- When picking, the best cucumbers are dark green in color and about six to eight inches long.
- Any cucumbers that are starting to turn yellow are overripe and will be diminishing in flavor.
The Wine & Country Shop has a variety of gardening tools and accessories for gardeners of all experience levels. Shovel in style with a stylish Gardener’s Spade in Walnut, and match the flowers in your garden by wearing an English Blooms Gardening Half Apron. If you’re looking for something more durable, try one of these high-quality gardening items: Leather Gardening Tool Holster; Gardener’s Leather Tool Belt; and Waxed Canvas Tool Bucket.
A great side dish or salad recipe should be as delicious as it is versatile. Using seasonal produce and exciting local ingredients makes it easy, convenient and fun for everyone. This Cucumber Salad with Za’atar Yogurt Recipe is elevated enough for a dinner party or potluck but accessible enough for a picnic or backyard get-together. We recommend pairing this Mediterranean-inspired dish with Dequmana Mixed Olives, which you can find online or in person at The Wine & Country Shop. For more summer recipes, see the other two farm-to-table dishes in our 3 Summer Salad Recipes series, and for other local recipes, see our Food & Drink page. ~
NADIRAH MUHAMMAD is an editorial assistant with Ivy Life & Style Media. She is dedicated to exploring the world through writing and adding eloquence to everyday life.
FRANCESCA BLACK is a freelance content creator who uses her culinary background to explore the best in food and drink in Virginia.
Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings, are complemented by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. The Shop features over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made foods and award-winning Virginia wines and craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country covers the grape-growing foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lynchburg to Leesburg, including points in between like Charlottesville and Middleburg. Ivy Life & Style Media also creates other projects, including CharlottesvilleFamily.com, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as the CharlottesvilleWelcomeBook.com a guide to resources for Charlottesville tourists and newcomers.