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Cucumber and tajin salad with feta and mint

I recently published a recipe for a watermelon and tajin salad. Watermelon isn’t low FODMAP, but I love having watermelon salad at Christmas (Australian here). I wanted to make sure that those with fructose concerns could still enjoy the delicious and refreshing combination, though. With that in mind, I develpoed this cucumber and tajin salad with feta and mint.

I once read an opinion online that stuck with me. The man, who hated cucumber, described it as being ‘like the worst part of a watermelon’. Cucumber’s textural similarity to watermelon and it’s ability to absorb flavour, along with the man’s wise words, formed the inspiration for this salad.

An aerial macro image of a cucumber and tajin salad with feta, mint and a lime and maple syrup dressing.

Cucumber and tajin salad

Cucumber is very amenable to taking on flavours. For this salad, we’re using a combination of lime juice and maple syrup to give the cucumber a sweet, refresh and acidic taste, not unlike watermelon.

The great thing about cucumber is it’s firm texture which enables you to dress the cucumber ahead of time. If you do, it softens slightly and becomes more akin to watermelon in texture.

The salad is finished with feta, mint and tajin. Feta gives the salad a creamy, salty hit which is complimented by the mint. Tajin provides saltiness, an acidic hit and smoky, gentle chilli flavour.

A sunlit aerial image of a cucumber, tajin, feta and mint salad on a white speckled ceramic plate atop an olive green linen tablecloth

What is tajin?

Tajin is a Mexican seasoning made up of smoky but mild chilli flakes, salt and dehydrated lime. It is a simple but incredible seasoning that works in so many different applications.

Tajin tastes smoky, sour and salty all in one. It is a flavour I have never had anywhere else. Tajin isn’t overly spicy – it is more about the complexity of flavour as opposed to adding lots of heat.

Beyond this cucumber and tajin salad, the seasoning has so many uses. I love using tajin to bake crispy chickpeas, because it adds tang without liquid (for a crispier end result). Of course, it is also excellent as a margarita rim.

Tajin can be used in guacamole, in marinades, on popcorn or on fresh fruit. Honestly, you can use it anywhere. It’s well worth sourcing!

A sunlit aerial image of a cucumber, tajin, feta and mint salad on a white speckled ceramic plate atop a white marble table.

FODMAP notes for your cucumber and tajin salad

This salad was designed to be a low FODMAP alternative to the watermelon and tajin salad. It is fructose friendly and gluten free.

Lebanese cucumbers are low FODMAP in 75g serves per person per serve. In 265g serves, they contain moderate amounts of fructose.

Continental cucumbers are low FODMAP in 75g serves per person per serve. In 360g serves, they contain moderate amounts of fructose.

As such, both varieties of cucumbers are low FODMAP but you can eat slightly more continental cucumber. Choose whichever variety works best for you.

Feta is low FODMAP in serves of up to 500g per person per serve, so it does not present a FODMAP concern here.

Monash doesn’t have an entry for tajin on their app. However, given that it is made with salt, chilli flakes and dehydrated lime, it should be low FODMAP here. Chilli flakes are low FODMAP in 1 teaspoon serves per person. This salad uses 3 teaspoons of tajin, which is not 100% chilli flakes.

An aerial sunlit image of a cucumber, feta, mint and tajin salad on a white speckled ceramic plate atop a white marble table.

Tips for this salad

  • Letting the cucumber sit in the maple lime dressing allows it to soften and take on the flavour. I highly recommend doing this if you have a bit of time.
  • However, the cucumber will emit liquid as it is a high liquid vegetable. To address this, you can drain it off before serving, or use it to make a finishing dressing. The latter is infinitely more flavourful and only takes 5-10 minutes.
  • I recommend assembling this salad just prior to serving. Dress the cucumbers ahead of time, make the sauce, then leave everything separate until the last moment.
  • Peeling the cucumbers is optional, but it does help to give that watermelon type texture.

More low FODMAP salad recipes

An aerial image of a sunlit cucumber, tajin, feta and mint salad on a white ceramic plate atop a white marble table

Cucumber tajin salad

Serves 6 as a side
*This recipe uses Australian tablespoons, which are 1 teaspoon larger than US, UK, Canada and NZ tablespoons. Use 1 extra teaspoon per tablespoon in the recipe if you use these measures.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

Dressing:

  • 60 ml (3 tablespoons)* lime juice
  • 60 ml (3 tablespoons)* maple syrup

For the salad:

  • 1.5 kg cucumbers peeled (will be approximately 1kg once peeled)
  • 1/2 – 1 bunch of mint chopped or whole
  • 200 g Greek feta cubed or crumbled
  • 2-3 teaspoons tajin seasoning to your tastes
  • Zest of 1 lime

Instructions
 

  • Mix up the dressing and adjust the sweet/sour to your taste.
  • Add the chopped cucumber to a bowl, then pour over the dressing. Stir to combine, then set aside for 20-30 minutes (if you have time).
  • Drain the excess liquid off the cucumber into a small saucepan. Turn the heat to low-medium, and allow to come to a simmer.
  • Add the corn starch or potato starch to a small bowl, and mix just enough water into it to form a slurry. Add this slurry to the saucepan and stir. The sauce should thicken considerably and rather quickly. Allow to cook for a few more minutes or until it has reached your desired sauce consistency, then set aside to cool a little. Note that it will thicken as it cools.
  • Place the cucumber on your serving platter and add the mint and optional jalapeno. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine, then finish with the feta, tajin and lime zest to taste. Best served immediately and eaten the same day.

Notes

  • Lebanese cucumbers are low FODMAP in 75g serves per person per serve. In 265g serves, they contain moderate amounts of fructose.
  • Continental cucumbers are low FODMAP in 75g serves per person per serve. In 360g serves, they contain moderate amounts of fructose.
  • As such, both varieties of cucumbers are low FODMAP but you can eat slightly more continental cucumber. Choose whichever variety works best for you.
  • Cucumber naturally emits a lot of liquid. The salt in the tajin will also draw out liquid from the cucumber. For best results, assemble the salad immediately prior to eating.
  • If you need to pre-prepare, I recommend assembling all the ingredients separately and combining them just prior to eating.
    If you need to bring the salad assembled, I recommend leaving off the tajin, lime zest and dressing until the last minute.
  • Tajin is a combination of smoky but mild chilli flakes, salt and dehydrated lime. It adds a delicious tangy and smoky flavour to the salad and I highly recommend sourcing some. These days it is readily available at specialty grocers or online. It is also a great replacement for a traditional margarita glass salt rim, just saying.
  • If you don’t want to use tajin, season the salad to taste.
Keyword cucumber and tajin, cucumber salad, low fodmap cucumber salad, low fodmap salad
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