Cucumbers bring a refreshing taste to summer

This versatile vegetable is a nutritious ingredient in everything from beverages to main dishes

    Among the most refreshing tastes of summer are cucumbers.
    The vegetable can be used in everything from beverages to side dishes to entrees — and, of course, pickles.
    They can be peeled, seeded and eaten with a salad dressing or spicy Thai sauce for a quick snack or shredded and mixed with vanilla yogurt.
    Make a great sandwich filling by combining sliced cucumbers with tuna, fresh lettuce and alfalfa sprouts.
    A quick cucumber salad can be made by creating a dressing of 1/4 cup  milk,  1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar, a dash of dill and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the dressing with some sliced cucumbers and sweet onion, refrigerate for an hour and serve.
    Cucumbers should be harvested when they are evenly green all over, firm and crisp.
    Most cucumbers intended for eating taste best if they’re 6 to 8 inches long, while pickling cucumbers should be 2 to 3 inches long for sweet pickles or 5 to 6 inches for dill pickles.
    Cucumbers should be stored in a moist, cool place, about 55 degrees. They will last a week if given plenty of air circulation, but generally, it’s best to eat them fresh.
    Wash cucumbers right before using them.
    Cucumbers are great for juicing and contain potassium and calcium, among other nutrients.
    Following are cucumber recipes from,,, and Weight Watchers.

Cucumber, Strawberry and Basil Salad

1 package strawberries, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, cored, sliced and chilled
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

    Combine basil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Toss and chill for an hour
    Squeeze lemon over cucumbers. Mix with strawberries and basil mixture. Toss with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Mexican Cucumbers With Chile and Lime

Peeled cucumber, sliced or cut into spears or chunks
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Chile powder or Mexican fruit seasoning powder

    Combine ingredients in a bowl and enjoy as a snack.


Cucumber Yogurt Feta Dip

1/2 cup strained yogurt
3 tablespoons water
4 baby cucumbers
4 tablespoons minced fresh mint
3 tablespoons crumbled feta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Mix strained yogurt with water in a bowl with a fork until smooth. Chop one cucumber finely and toss in the bowl. Stir in minced mint and feta. Mix well until combined.
    Place mixture on plates or in small bowls. Slice the remaining cucumbers in thin circles and place around yogurt mixture. Chill 15 minutes.
    Drizzle with olive oil before serving.


Cucumber Avocado Toast

2 slices whole wheat bread
4 tablespoons mashed avocado
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cucumber, sliced
A few basil leaves, chopped
Pepper, to taste

    Mix mashed avocado with lemon juice. Spread mashed avocado on each bread slice. Top with chopped basil leaves and cucumber slices. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.


Fresh Cucumber Lemonade

2 cucumbers
1/4 bunch fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups hot water
5 tablespoons sugar
For garnish:
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
Fresh mint leaves

    Wash cucumbers very well. Leave skin on and grate in a bowl.
    Pound mint leaves and lemon zest in a mortar, then toss into the bowl. Stir with a spoon, then place on a piece of cheesecloth. Squeeze the juice into a bowl and set aside.         Mix sugar and lemon juice in hot water until sugar dissolves. Combine syrup with cucumber juice mixture.
    Chill at least an hour and serve with ice cubes, mint leaves and cucumber slices.

Asian Chickpea Chopped Salad

6 cups chopped salad greens
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped sugar snap peas
1 cup chopped purple cabbage
1/3 cup thinly diced green onion
For dressing:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cashew or peanut butter
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or grated

    Place chopped greens in a large bowl and top with chickpeas, cucumber, carrots, red pepper, peas, cabbage and onion.
    Place dressing ingredients in a jar or small bowl and mix until combined.
    Either dress the entire salad at once or drizzle each individual serving with dressing.  
    Makes about 4 large servings.

Cucumber and Pickled Feta Salad With Dill

2 large hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon olive oil
For pickled feta:
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
6 ounces crumbled feta

    In a small bowl or jar, combine vinegar, water, salt and maple syrup. Stir until salt is dissolved and ingredients are combined. Add feta and refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer you refrigerate the mixture, the more intense the flavor it be.
    Drain feta, reserving a few tablespoons of the pickling liquid.
    Place sliced cucumbers, red onion, dill and feta into a large bowl. Add olive oil and stir until combined. For a more intense pickled flavor, slowly add the reserved pickling liquid, a teaspoon at a time.
    Salad is best served within an hour to ensure the cucumbers remain crisp, but can be refrigerated for a few days.

Veggie Crab Cukes

1/2 cup shredded vegetarian crab
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 teaspoons red onion
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red and yellow bell pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle chiles
1 cucumber, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
Fresh cilantro sprigs

    Mix crab, onions, mayonnaise, cilantro, peppers and chiles together and refrigerate.
    Top cucumber slices with the mixture and garnish with cilantro sprigs.


Sweet and Sour Cucumbers With Fresh Dill

2 English hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place cucumber slices in colander. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    For dressing, stir vinegar, dill, sugar, and pepper in large bowl until sugar is dissolved.
    Drain cucumbers well and pat dry. Add cucumbers to dressing and stir to blend.
Refrigerate anywhere from 15 minutes to up to 2 hours and serve cold.
    Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup

1-1/2 pound English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

    In a blender, combine cucumber, mint, chives and garlic. Puree until smooth.
    Pour mixture into a large bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours to 4 hours, then serve.


weight watchers

Corn and Cucumber Salsa

3 medium cobs of corn, kernels removed   
1 large cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces   
1/3 cup diet Italian salad dressing   
1/4 cup sliced uncooked red onion, chopped   
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped   
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes   

    Combine ingredients in a bowl. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
    For a zesty change, brush cucumber slices with chili powder and sprinkle with fresh lime juice. Set aside 10 minutes before using in the salsa. Omit the red pepper flakes.




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