appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad


Appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad is my history. The kinds of foods we ate. And, nothing’s tastier and refreshing than this salad!

Easy Cucumber Salad

If you’re not familiar with the Appalachian mountains, well, it’s a mountain range that starts in Canada runs like a spinal cord down the East Coast of the United States. Formed about 480 million years ago, the system is divided into three parts: Northern, Central and Southern.

Traditional Appalachian Food

It meanders through eighteen states. And, my hubby, Ben, and I both were raised in ‘them thar hills’, Ben in the Blue Ridge Mountain area and I in the southern West Virginia area.

Best Cucumber Salad

These mountains are rich in natural resources, however, for decades Appalachia has been experienced and struggled with poverty. In many ways, this struggling and not having much is a true blessing. It makes you resilient. It forces you to be resourceful. It inculcates in you a passion to be ‘green’ and make things last and last. Saving. Restoring. Reinventing. Yes, making silk purses our of a sow’s ear, so to speak.

Cucumber Dressing Salad

Cuisine in Appalachia is distinct. It’s known for its simplicity and down home good flavors. Today dishes that were common on the coal miners’ families tables are now considered gourmet. Everything was easy and simple including the cucumber dressing for the salad. 

Appalachian Cooking

The Washington Post article on the ‘next big thing’ in food talks about this phenomena. Now, don’t roll your eyes, there’s lots of goodliness and history in our food. And, depending upon the neck o’ the woods you’re from along this Appalachian range, flavors and dishes change and are offered up in unique ways.

Vinegar Cucumber Salad

Take, for instance, ramps. Seasonal and rare, these onion tasting plants were common for us growing up. So were dandelions and their greens. But, we never considered them ‘delicacies’ as some chefs today do.

For Appalachian folks, they were a kind of ‘foraging’ to get good food. Growing up it was part of our culture to live off the land and to hunt. Mom always had a big summer garden in our back yard. Canning fresh vegetables for the winter, storing them in the dark cool basement of our home provided us with good food, nutrition and cut down on food costs.

Appalachian Food

Our foods were simple and noble. Like this Appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad.  Poke Salad or Salat. Cornbread. Beans. Fried taters. Buttermilk biscuits. Creamed gravy. Chipped beef on toast. And, yes, cucumber buttermilk salad.

Buttermilk Dressing for Salad

A variation of this salad is made with a vinegar base instead of buttermilk. I love both types. It all depends upon what I’m in the mood for. And, today it’s Appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad.

Appalachian Cuisine

I learned more about this wonderful dish from Ben’s Mom, Mama Helen. She was one cracker jack mountain mama cook. Even in the late 1990s and well into 2000, she was still cooking on her nearly 60 year-old Westinghouse stove in her kitchen.

How to Make Cucumber Salad

At most meals, there was always a pone of crispy buttermilk cornbread and usually this salad. I’ve given it a trendy twist with the addition of refreshing sweet grapes. But, you can go old school without them. Either way, you’re sure to be happy! xoxo ~ally

PS: In case you’re wantin’ to know more about poke salad/salat, here you go, YouTube.

For great Mothership salad recipes, you have to check out Sumptuous Spoonsful!
appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad

appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad

appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad


  • 3 cups mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 cup sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 2 cups red grapes, seedless, sliced in halves


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cumcumbers, onions, buttermilk, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Mix and blend. Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.
  2. When serving have the sliced grapes as an optional garnish.

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

appalachian cucumber buttermilk salad

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  1. Dinah Hallett says:

    Hello Alli,
    I was fascinated to see your cucumber salad recipe. I’m English and my Nan used to make something similar with cucumber, onion and shredded lettuce in vinegar. Perhaps it’s an old recipe which travelled with the English/Welsh/Irish/European settlers who went to Appalachia. The folk music travelled with them, so the food probably did, too.

    1. Dinah! What a beautiful memory. And, I firmly believe that many of our dishes and recipes evolved from immigrants into this melding pot of America! Yes, our folk music in Appalachia and the surrounding states, NC, TN, VA, KY, reflects this, too! Thanks for sharing w/me, Dinah. I so appreciate your being here. Don’t be a stranger!! xoxx ally

  2. Marrie Dobbins says:

    Oh my goodness!! Who knew? Im a Georgia girl born and bred. I grew up with cucumber salad but vinegar based. This is to die for!! I have very fond memories of my Alabama grandmother feeding me cornbread and buttermilk with a green onions the side!! 😊Yummm yum!! A true southern delight!! I love you and your hair wraps and beautiful bracelets!! Ally you are a rock ⭐️!!

    1. Marrie!! This is THE BEST comment to awake to on this Friday morning! THANK YOU! Oh, yes, I love the vinegar based cuke salad, too, and I do it that way sometimes. Your Grandma must have been quite the cook. I mean cornbread and buttermilk w/green onions. Oh yes! Thanks for being such a great supporter. Makes this craaaaazy work I do so worthwhile to know you’re enjoying it! Sending lots of Southern big warm hugs! xoxx ally

  3. Oh my goodness!! This is delicious! When I first saw you make this I thought to myself no way this could be good. Boy I was wrong. I am a pretty adventurous cook so I thought I would give it a try being that it is way out of my comfort zone. So glad I did and even happier that you shared this recipe with the rest of us! I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    Texas Girl,

    1. Amelia! You are one adorable Texas Girl!!! Thank you thank you for this beautiful message! Isn’t it wonderful to venture beyond our comfort zones (with so many things) and we realize that whole new experiences and ‘worlds’ are opened. I’ve done the very same thing. Thank you so so much and please don’t be a stranger, come hang w/me in the kitchen often, luv! xoxx ally

  4. Oh Ally I am a southerner and I did make this. How do I tell you how much we love it! The flavors are so unexpected. The buttermilk dressing makes it for me. My husband said this is one of the best I’ve ever made. This will be in my rotation of salads now thanks to you. I love your recipes and I’m learning so much watching your videos. Such a fan ❤

    1. Alexis!!! Give that sweet hubby of yours a BIG Mama Ally hug! Thank you so very much. It’s so good to hear that these foods/recipes that were so much a part of my life growing up are enjoyed by others. Buttermilk is a lovely ingredient. Some turn up their nose, but we know better! Thanks so much for sharing w/me. It’s why I do this crazy thing of sharing, knowing that others enjoy! xoxx ally

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh Ally I am a southerner and I did make this salad. I don’t even know how to tell you how delicious and how much we love it!!! The flavors together are so unexpected. The buttermilk dressing makes it for me. My husband said it’s one of the best I’ve ever made. It will be in my rotation of salads now thanks to you. I love your recipes and videos so much. Such a fan ❤

  6. I love the spin you put on a WV classic recipe. Cucumber salad never sounded so good! I must try this sometime!!!! 🎶 👏🏻Thank you darlin!!!❤️

    1. D.R.!!! Yes, the grape spin. Just that littl’ burst of sweet juice makes this cuke salad even better! Now, I promise it’s uber easy. No cooking!! Love you darlin! xoxx

  7. Can’t wait to make this! ❤

    1. Alexis! You must have some WV and Southern in you! It’s a fabulous salad. Perfect year-round. Please let me know how you like! xo ally

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to make this! What a delicious meal with the chicken! ❤

    1. Yes! It’s the perfect salad w/the chicken! So refreshing and cool and then the creamy of the buttermilk, which is like sweet nectar to me!! xoxx ally

  9. I’m Polish and we make the same thing, sort of! I like your idea with the grapes, I’ll for sure try this out😬

    1. Hey, Grace! Welcome, my friend! Yes, you can use grapes for a burst of sweet w/the savory. Sometimes I swap out the grapes for apples. Just a touch of sweet. Or no sweet at all! Thanks for visiting. Don’t be a stranger! xoxx ally

  10. Anonymous says:

    So delish, Ally.❤️❤️

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