Agurksalat is the side dish of summer

Cool as a cucumber


Photo: Christy Olsen Field
With a little salt, sugar, and vinegar, cucumber slices are transformed into a refreshing side dish

Christy Olsen Field
Taste of Norway Editor

Agurksalat, or cucumber salad, is a classic side dish on the Norwegian table. It is a quickly pickled cucumber salad, often served with fish, such as laks (salmon) or makrell (mackerel).

I love agurksalat, because it hits the right balance of sour and salt with a bit of sweetness, along with a satisfying crunch. It comes together with a handful of ingredients, most of which are probably in your kitchen already, and it’s easy to scale for a crowd.

In my research to learn about the origins of agurksalat in Norway, I was surprised to find not one website that gave the history of it. But based on the number of recipes for Danish cucumber salad online, it’s easy to see how this refreshing side dish could become a Nordic region favorite.

There are many different variations on agurksalat, and this is mine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

A few notes:

• English cucumbers are typically wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. I prefer them because of their thin skin and tiny seeds, but you can substitute regular cucumbers that have been peeled.

• A mandoline slicer makes very quick work of slicing into thin rounds, but a good knife or an østehovel (cheese slicer) will also work.

• I use flat-leaf parsley in my recipe, but it’s also really nice with fresh dill.

• Given the brine’s acidity, it will keep well in a glass jar in the fridge for several days, but the flavor will grow more intense.

Do you know the history of norsk agurksalat? Let us know! Write to



Photo: Christy Olsen Field

2 English cucumbers

½ cup white vinegar

½ cup water

2 tbsps. white sugar

2 tsps. kosher salt

¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

With a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the cucumber into rounds. Alternatively, slice with an ostehøvel (cheese slicer).

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber slices and parsley to the bowl and toss to combine. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

Traditionally served a side dish for fish, it is a delightful summer accompaniment for any dinner or picnic.

Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area. Write to her at

This article originally appeared in the June 28, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.