Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Sultanas

Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Sultanas

by Maureen on May 3, 2012

I have a confession to make.  I have ants in my house.  They are NOT pets and I was dying to get rid of them.  I’m not alone, it seems most everyone on our street has them now and we’re all complaining.  Folks two houses around the cul-de-sac paid an exterminator  to get rid of theirs but I’m not sure I want anyone to spray poison in my kitchen.  I’m not quite that desperate.  Yet.

Yesterday I did what I should have done two weeks ago when I first started spraying them with Windex and wiping them up, I went on the Internet and Googled “how to kill freakin ants!”

You laugh but check it out, I’m not the only one who has used that same search and there are quite a few results too!  I found borax and icing sugar and the ants who visit us think it’s just an appetizer; tried that before in this kitchen.  Then I found cucumber peelings.  “Ants won’t come near cucumber peelings,” one site said.  Since I was headed to the market anyway, I picked up a big juicy cucumber just to see if it would work.

I followed the trail and found where they were strolling happily through a non-existent crack in the window.  (They could see it, obviously.)  I got out my cucumber and then thought, “Do I want to waste $2.97 on ants when I could use this cucumber in a dish?”  No.  So I headed back to Mr. Google and found the most delightful Persian salad.  It’s got all the things I love like cucumber (obviously), freshly toasted walnuts, sultanas, fresh dill and fresh mint and thick plain yoghurt.  It’s also called Mast-o Khiar but at our house it will be “that great salad with cucumber, yoghurt, sultanas and toasted walnuts.”

How to Make Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Sultanas

I had some of everything so I started by putting some yoghurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth and waited 30 minutes.

While I waited I sprayed a few more ants with Windex and wiped them up.  Have I told you how much I HATE ants?  I hate them almost as much as I hate a cockroach.  Not only do I hate cockroaches, I’m afraid of them.  Not sure why but don’t ask me to touch one.

I toasted the walnuts in a dry frying pan,  gave them a very rough chop and let them cool.  I like big bites of nuts in my salad. Then I snipped the herbs and chopped them and then I did what I’d been waiting to do all day.  I peeled the cucumber!

No More Ants

You should have seen me throwing garbage around the kitchen (they WOULD be garbage, right?) and then I waited.  The ants didn’t like the cucumber peelings and in 5 minutes there were no more ants on the trail.  Now will this cure my ant problem?  Probably not because they’ll find another door somewhere but I know I can stop the amount of time needed to Windex and wipe.

As you can see in the photo above, there is no longer a trail of ants into my kitchen.  There IS however, a dog who wanted to know why I was putting those foul tasting cucumber peelings on the floor and while I’m at it, could I please toss the ball he’s nearly chewed in two?

Finally, after all the anting, it was time to combine the salad.  In my head I kept thinking, it looks like Waldorf salad but I knew it would taste different.  It’s fantastic!  I ate nearly all the bowl and I was going to wait to serve it with dinner.  I think this salad would be PERFECT with something spicy – just the right combination to cut the heat but still be tangy.

If you like these ingredients, you’ve got to try this if it’s not already in your recipe file.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to add a bit of red onion.  Why?  I just like onion.  When I took a bite it DID remind me of Waldorf salad but just a bit.

Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Sultanas

4.8 from 4 reviews
Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Sultanas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great salad to serve with a spicy dish.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 275g natural yoghurt (strained)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped sultanas (I didn't chop mine, I like nice bites of sweetness)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Place yoghurt in a strainer or sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and let stand til thick enough for a dressing.
  2. Peel and dice the cucumber, removing the seeds.
  3. Place walnuts in a frying pan on med-high heat and toss to lightly toast.
  4. Roughly chop walnuts and leave to cool.
  5. Mix all ingredients and leave for 1 hour to infuse. (go ahead, taste it - you'll love it)

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm

What a beautiful, exciting, unique salad, Maureen! I love the sultanas with the toasted walnuts and all those fresh herbs in the strained yogurt. LOL@ at your ant elimination with Windex. story! I did the same with spray deodorant, and it worked! At least they went to their final resting place smelling good!
Lisa recently posted..A Twist on Salade Nicoise for Monthly Mingle – April in Paris, and Part 10


The Café Sucré Farine May 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Cool! Two in one! A great recipe and a non-chemical way to get rid of ants! I love the ingredients in this salad – would never have thought to put raisins with cucumbers but now you got me going!


Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama May 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

What a great salad recipe, and your photos are great!!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

LOL Maureen I can imagine your dog’s reaction at you flinging cucumber peels across the floor! Good to hear that the ants didn’t like them. I hope they decide to pack up and leave! :D


Joanne May 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

We always got ants at least once a summer in my parents place…SO ANNOYING! I can’t remember what my mother did other than try to ignore them. I’ll have to suggest cucumber peelings to her!

Love the sound of this salad. Cucumber usually seems boring to me but with the walnuts and sultanas…not at all!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas {}


Choc Chip Uru May 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Love it! You not only got rid of awesome-eyesight ants but seemed to have acquired quite a wonderful recipe in the process :D
Would love to try this as a side dish!

Choc Chip Uru
Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Vanilla Maple Caramel Popcorn: My Guest Post


Sofie Dittmann @thegermanfoodie May 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I have never had this version of cucumber salad before. Looks delicious! Oh, and I don’t even use Windex anymore, I go straight for the real poison. LOL
Sofie Dittmann @thegermanfoodie recently posted..Bloggers I Follow: Eva Toneva


Maureen May 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I must be weird but I hate spraying poison near the kitchen :) So far the cukes are working.


Asmita May 4, 2012 at 12:45 am

This is stunning! I love the recipe.


Sanjeeta KK May 4, 2012 at 2:58 am

Wonderful treat for the steamy hot weather..refreshing and healthy too!
Sanjeeta KK recently posted..Dessert recipes | An Indulgence with A Few Fruity Ice Cream Treats – Summer Time is Fun


rebecca May 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

wonderful salad and so sorry about the ants we are also getting a lot with the early warm weather


Baby Sumo May 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

That’s a gorgeous looking salad!
Baby Sumo recently posted..Baking classes: The Baking Barn by Just Heavenly (Bangsar, KL)


myfudo May 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

These freakin’ ants don’t know what they are missing if they don’t want to get near cucumber…LOL! I love the refreshing mix of this salad recipe. =)


Maureen May 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Day two and still no ants!


Rhonda May 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

If you are ready to take it to the next level, I highly recommend this to use outside if you can find where they are coming from:

We used it and the ants were GONE and have not come back and its been about 7 months.

The salad looks delicious. What kind of dog do you have, he looks adorable :)


Maureen May 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Charlie’s a cavoodle and if we didn’t have him we’d get another one just like him. He’s half poodle and half king charles cavalier spaniel. The best of both breeds. I follows me around like a well.. puppy dog. I’d be lost without him.


Mikaela Cowles May 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

OH NO! I HATE ants as well. One of my apartments in college was always getting them. It didn’t seem to matter what we did or didn’t do in the kitchen. I never tried cucumber, but we finally bought ant traps. They were these crazy list boxes that attracted ants and then trapped them. (They worked, but I don’t know if you have them in Australia.) I’ve also hear there’s these poison disks the ants walk across, so that they take the poison back the nest and kill it. (I’m chalk full of good ideas ;-) )

On a totally different note, what a great use of cucumber!! This salad looks like just the thing for a hot day. Once the sun comes out again, I’m going to have to pick some cucumber up at the store.


SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

This salad sounds like pretty much my perfect side-dish. Might substitute dried cranberries for the sultanas because I usually have dried cranberries around. I’m seriously impressed that you managed to make a dish and get rid of the ants in one swoop! Nice work!


Lizzy May 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Maureen, how yummy! I love cucumber salads, especially ‘different’ ones… this ticks the boxes. Have a happy weekend xox


unikorna May 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I am sorry about the “freaking ants” situation, Maureen, but the cucumber salad is an amazing idea and the ants had a contribution to the it, you gotta admit. Besides the salad I like the bowl and the furry head that got in the picture :).
unikorna recently posted..Sweet Child O’Mine


Roberta May 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Hmmm! That is a new one. Cucumber peels. I spray outside on the perimeter of the house and inside the garage every spring. Few bugs get past it.

Your Cucumber Salad looks delicious. However, I have a bias for my mother’s Hungarian Cucumber Salad. Being peasant fare it is very simple. Maybe I will try walnuts and raisins in hers. Great idea!


Maria @ Miss Maria With The Cornucopia May 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm

This salad sounds groovy! A must-try! I’ve had ants in my kitchen before so I hear ya! I googled it lol :)


PolaM May 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

What a wonderful salad! The crunchy of the walnuts must work great with the cucumbers!


kristy May 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

I’m with you – hate ants and cockroaches! We had ants at our last two houses. They drove me absolutely insane! Fortunately they haven’t seemed to find their way into this house…yet. This salad looks delicious, and you’re right – it looks like it would be wonderful served with a spicy dish. Yum!


Maureen May 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Sadly, the cucumber treatment works in the now. In 2 days they forget and then they come right back in. Back to square one but I DO have a great salad. :)


yummychunklet May 7, 2012 at 5:16 am

What a delicious and refreshing looking cucumber salad. Great bowl, too!


Amy (Savory Moments) May 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

What an interesting and flavorful twist on cucumber salad! It looks delicious.


kitchenriffs May 8, 2012 at 2:10 am

Great post! I never knew cucumber peel worked on ants. We don’t have any at the moment (knocks on wood) but I’ll keep that in mind. And I love cucumber in anything – of course it’s a natural in salad. This is a particularly fine specimen of a salad, too. Really fun read – thanks.


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