Fresh Crispy Summertime Cucumbers

— Written By and last updated by

Cucumbers are appearing abundantly at local farmers markets and nothing says summer like the crunch of fresh cucumber. Most of us Southerners enjoy a plain cucumber in about any kind of salad, or in a bowl of vinegar and pepper, or made into a tiny sandwich, but here are some other ways to add the unique flavor to other tasty treats as well. Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce

(Making this with Greek yogurt cuts the calories, and adds valuable protein to this popular sauce.) 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt, drain any excess liquid
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for salting cucumbers)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or both, depending on preference) or 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, chopped (or both, depending on preference)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.
  3. This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

Yields 12 servings.

Cucumber Orzo Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup thinly red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Rinse with cold water, drain well, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and dill.
  2. Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, add to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.

Serves 12.

Cucumber Zoodle Salad

(Adapted from an Eating Well recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large cucumber (seedless if possible), sprialized and patted dry, about 4 cups
  • 1 large carrot, sprialized, about 3 cups
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted peanuts

Directions

Whisk lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, green onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber, carrot, and cilantro. Toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with peanuts.

Serves 4.

Layered Greek Hummus and Cucumber Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 carton (10 ounces) Greek Hummus, or Homemade
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup Greek olives, chopped
  • 2 medium fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Pita Chips

Directions

Spread hummus into a shallow round dip dish. Layer onion, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and cheese. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with pita chips or fresh vegetable sticks.

Serves 12, each serving contains;  Calories 88, Fat 5g., Cholesterol 5 g., Sodium 275 mg., Carbohydrate 6 g., Protein 4 g.

Fresh Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • ½ cup finely chopped seeded tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 1/3 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Baked tortilla chips, purchased or homemade

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin, and salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve with chips.

Yields 2 ½ cups.

Spicy Chickpea Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cucumber
  • 1 ½ cups sliced grape tomato
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro

Directions

  1. Heat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, followed by chickpeas, lemon pepper, and cumin. Stir well, coating the chickpeas with the spices. Lightly fry the chickpeas until the chickpeas are warm and starting to pop then become golden. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Chickpeas should be golden but not super crisp.
  2. Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Add in the warm chickpeas and stir until the salad is well combined. Serve with extra lemon juice.

Cuke Soup Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 large red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Finely dice ½ of one cucumber. Slice the remaining cucumber into ½ inch slices on the bias.
  2. Add the diced cucumber to the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, olive oil, salt, and parsley. Mix well.
  3. Refrigerate cucumber slices and topping mix for up to two hours before serving.
  4. For serving, spoon a small amount of topping on each cucumber slice.

Serves 24.

Super Cucumber Crunch

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, sliced, and slices cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups ice water
  • ½ cup onion thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into ¼ inch thin slices
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, salt, and ice water. Cover and chill 1 hour, then drain and return cucumbers to the bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Serves 8.