Friday, August 31, 2012

Garden Cucumber Salad Recipe with Tuna and Sweet Basil (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo)

Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil
This simple salad with cucumbers, tuna, and fresh basil is perfect for a quick lunch!

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  This simple Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil is perfect to make with garden cucumbers, and it's one of those recipes where the sum of the ingredients ends up being more than the parts!)

If you haven't had homegrown garden cucumbers, you may not realize how much better they are than the cucumbers you buy in the supermarket. Garden cucumbers are sweet and crisp, and when they're abundant in my garden I'm forever coming up with new cucumber salad recipes. The combination of tuna in olive oil and fresh basil was fantastic in this Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil and I thought it was such a nice blend of flavors I ended up making it again the next day so I could take photos. If you have a garden with fresh cucumbers and basil, don't miss trying this salad.

You don't really need to peel cucumbers from the garden, but I really like the look of stripes, so I usually peel off thin strips.

Cut each cucumber into half lengthwise, then cut each half into third slengthwise before you slice to get nice bite-sized pieces.

I wanted thin strips of basil, so I used a cutting technique called chiffonade, where you cut the herbs into thin strips. If you pile the basil leaves up on each other, this is pretty fast.

Mix the cucumbers, tuna, and basil well before adding the mayo-based salad dressing. Then gently mix in the dressing, season, and eat!

Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil
(Makes 2 full-meal salad servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 can (7 oz.) tuna packed in olive oil (I buy Tonno Genova Tuna packed in olive oil)
3 small, crisp garden cucumbers (could use Persian cucumbers if you don't have a garden)
1/2 cup chiffonaded basil (about 20 large basil leaves, sliced)
2 T mayo or light mayo (do not use fat free)
2 T your favorite commercial vinaigrette dressing (I used Le Parisian Vinaigrete)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I used pepper but no salt)

Drain olive oil from tuna and flake apart with a fork. Put tuna into bowl. Peel cucumbers lengthwise in strips (or peel completely if you prefer.) Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise into three pieces and slice to make bite-sized pieces. Add cucumbers to tuna.

Wash and dry basil leaves. Make a pile of half the basil leaves, then starting at the pointed end, thinly slice, discarding the stem ends when you get to them. Cut all basil into ribbons using this method, then add to tuna and cucumbers, and mix together.

Whisk vinaigrette dressing into mayo, then gently stir dressing into salad. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately. This is best freshly made, but will keep in the refrigerator for about one day, although you probably won't have any leftovers.

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South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
If you're making this salad for the South Beach Diet, be sure to choose a vinaigrette dressing with 2 grams of sugar per serving or less. As long as that caution is followed, this salad is great for South Beach or any other type of low-glycemic eating plan. It's also a great low-carb salad option.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Cucumber Salads to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad Recipe with Feta and Dill from Kalyn's Kitchen

Pickled Sliced Cucumber Salad from Nami Nami

Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumbers, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen

Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Gluten Free Goddess

Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions from Kalyn's Kitchen

Cherry Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad from Simply Recipes

I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Hi Kalyn,
    Can you post a photo of your cucumbers in your garden? Can you control them or do they take over?

  2. This is a favourite, I can tell that even without tasting it! Me and Nic are crazy about cucumbers while the rest of the family haven't understood a thing! Well, it's their loss...

  3. Aniseconsulting, I was surprised that I didn't have a photo of cucumbers in any of this year's garden updates. I'll work on that. They do kind of take over, so give them some space. I'm liking the "bush type" cucumbers best this year.

    Paper, agree!

  4. I LOVE cucumber and tuna together - looks delicious!

  5. of course, yet again you made me do a "that is so simple... why didn't I think of that?" Super yum!

  6. Yum! I love tuna in olive oil, and sweet crisp cucumbers, and I'm sure they are great together in this salad.

  7. What a great looking salad! And your garden is amazing!! I wish we were still neighbors too! I want to hear more about your house work you have ahead! We really need to get together sometime. Josh wants to see your photo set up for your blog too!

  8. I did not know that garden cukes are sweeter than those from the store. I guess I'll have to grow some next year. The salad looks delicious!

  9. I'll admit I'm not a big fan of tuna fish, but this looks great. I so love what you do here, Kalyn, that I wanted to share this award with you. You can claim it at my site.

  10. I grew up thinking that tuna had to packed in spring water. But after a vacation to Spain many years ago I switched to tuna packed in olive oil. It's tasty and surprisingly does not make the fish itself too oily.

    Thanks for the recipe! I just bought some canned tuna and now I have something new to create with them!

  11. cucumbers and tuna are a magnificent combo! Yum!

  12. You had me at "sweet basil"- this looks so light and fresh...

  13. My mother in law have in her garden cucumber and also squash, that I take to cook.But honestly I never made anything with garden cucumbers.
    I really like the combo tuna/cucumber.
    Thanks for share this wonderful salad

  14. I'm so glad people are seeing the beauty in this simple combination because it was great! (Of course any salad with sweet basil couldn't ever be bad, could it?)

  15. I still have quite a bit of basil in my garden, I will give this a try.

  16. tuna and cucumber in a mayo dressing a very tasty combination - my kids often use corn instead of cucumber

  17. your salad looks yummy. we grew some armenian cucumbers in addition to regular ones. the armenian ones were excellent. they grow really huge if you let them. if you haven't tried them, plant them next year. you won't be disappointed!


  18. I love tuna in olive oil, but I can never find it here in NW Ohio. I can find albacore tuna in vegetable oil, which is okay. My favorite grocery store, Farmer Jacks, which went out of business in Toledo, used to carry tuna in olive oil.

    Kalyn, are you able to find your Italian tuna in a grocery, or do you have a great website you can recommend for it?

    Lovin' the tuna and cukes!
    Roberta in Maumee, Ohio

  19. Roberta, I wrote about my favorite tuna in olive oil which I can find at Albertsons in Utah. You can order it from, but I think you have to buy 24 cans at a time. I love that tuna, so if I couldn't get it here, I would buy it that way!

  20. This sounds too easy. I would never have thought of throwing in basil to jazz up a traditional tuna and cucumber salad mix. I've got to try this for a lazy Saturday lunch at home.

  21. Wow, I love the addition of fresh basil to the salad. That would make a most striking flavor. Tarrago would go well with it, too.

  22. Aaah, great minds think alike - when I make tuna salad I always go heavy on the cucumber and add soem basil pesto! It's a very happy combination of flavours.

  23. I love the idea of tarragon or basil pesto in this salad too. This is why blogging is so fun!

  24. This looks like a wondefully satisfying salad! I, too, am not a fan of tuna. But, I am thinking tilapia as a substitute would work! :)

    Love the cukes...a little jealous! :)

  25. Chris, I think any kind of cooked mild-flavored fish would taste great in this type of salad!

  26. Once again, I have garden envy. I don't grow cucumbers in my garden, but fortunately, many of the farms around here do sell them at their farm stands. Love the simplicity of this recipe.

  27. Lydia, I can't rave enough about what a delicious combination this is!

  28. Hi Kalyn,

    This dish looks so refreshing. I love seeing the how-to photos alongside the recipe. I live in Chicago so was afraid I couldn't get the vinaigrette you recommended; however, I did see that Le Parisien Vinaigrette is available on a website. I'm going to order a bottle.

    Thanks for all of your great tips!

  29. Hi Jeri,

    I am crazy about that Le Parisien Vinaigrette, used to work at the restaurant. Glad to hear it's available online. Hope you enjoy the salad!

  30. I see you mention not to use fat free mayo. Do you think it would turn out okay if I substituted with greek yogurt?

  31. Michelle, it is the sugar content that makes me stay away from fat-free mayo. I'm not sure Greek yogurt would be good here; I worry that the combination of yogurt and cucumbers will make it watery. But maybe a real thick yogurt would work, let me know how it turns out if you try it.


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