Mar 7, 2022

What to Do With Leftover Mint Leaves? Try This Cucumber and Mint Salad

If you grow your own mint at home, that's wonderful. Many recipes only call for a small amount of mint leaves, so when needs arise, you can simply go nip off a few pieces. It's not that easy per my case though. I tried to grow mint before, don't get me wrong, my mint was thriving. However, I guess it became an ideal home for the caterpillars. I'd never thought mint can attract insects. So there it goes my plant, I'm not brave enough to pick out the worms one by one. I have to source my mint supplies at a market instead from now on.

One thing about buying mint leaves is that you have to buy at least a small bundle, but most of the time we only need just a few leaves. Few weeks ago, I used some mint for caldo de albóndigas, and have to figure out another recipe to finish the rest. That's how this recipe was born, cucumber salad with leftover mint leaves.

Cucumber and mint salad - 

Cucumber and mint salad with pancetta slices

Ingredients (about 1 medium plateful)?

  • 3 skinny variety cucumbers
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 50 grams pancetta slices
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


My leftover mint leaves, now I can finally put them to good use. 

Fresh mint leaves and pancetta slices

Peel and finely dice the red onion. Finely chop the mint leaves. Soak the onion in icy cold water for at least 15 minutes. After done soaking, drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Soaking chopped red onion

Remove the ends of cucumbers, cut into small cubes, and transfer to a bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the bowl and gently massage into the cucumber. Let it set for about 10 minutes, this will draw out some water from the cucumber.

Adding salt to diced cucumber

There is no need to rinse the cucumber afterwards, simply squeeze out even more liquid then pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Whisk together all the ingredients under the "dressing" section. Transfer the dressing to a big container. Also add in prepped cucumber, onion, and mint leaves. Toss and give it a taste, adjust according to your own preference, but keep in mind that we'll be adding salty pancetta in the end.

Cucumber and mint salad with pancetta slices

Plate the salad and arrange pancetta slices throughout. You can also substitute pancetta with smoked salmon. I suppose if you'd like, adding some mini mozzarella balls also sounds like a good idea.

Cucumber and mint salad with pancetta slices

Make sure not to skip the onion soaking step, because the ice cold water will help reduce that pungent taste from the onion. What works even better? Use filtered running water instead.

Other salad recipes:

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