8 Very Different Ways to Prepare Cucumbers

Light, refreshing and mild in flavour, the understated cucumber has been a long-standing favourite in salads but cucumbers are surprisingly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways from soups to sautees. Here are 8 unique ways to prepare cucumbers... you might be surprised!

Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing
(2-3 servings)

2 or 3 medium cucumbers
4 tablespoon light mayo (do not use fat free)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers and cut in half or quarter lengthwise, and then into slices and place in serving bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine mayo, balsamic vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and garlic. Whisk together. Pour dressing over cucumbers and season with sea salt and pepper. This salad can be served immediately or chilled for an hour or two before serving.

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Creamy Cold Cucumber Soup

4 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, stirring occasionally, 1 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add lemon juice and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add 3 3/4 cups cucumber slices, broth, pepper, salt and cayenne. Bring to a slow boil, then quickly reduce heat and simmer about 6 to 8 minutes until the cucumbers are tender.

Pour the hot soup into a blender. Add avocado and parsley and blend on low speed until smooth. (Be careful when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour mixture into a serving bowl and stir in yogurt. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup cucumber slices. Soup can be served warm or refrigerated and served chilled. Garnish with the chopped cucumber and more chopped parsley, just before serving.

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Cucumber Lemonade

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 lemon
5 cups water
Sugar to taste

Puree the cucumber and water in a blender. Strain. Add juice of lemon and sugar. Serve over ice.

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Cucumber Salad Dressing

1 pint plain yogurt
1/2 small cucumber
(about 1/3 cup)
1 small onion
(about 4 tablespoons)

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

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Cucumber Dip

1 cup plain yogurt
1 cucumber (peeled & grated or minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon dried mint or dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Amounts can be adjusted to individual tastes. Serve with chips, pita bread or crackers.

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Cucumber Sandwiches

1 oz. lowfat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon lowfat sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons. chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices mild wheat bread
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
Chive for garnish

Mix together first 4 ingredients and spread evenly over 2 slices of bread, saving about a teaspoon of the spread for garnish. Top with cucumbers, and remaining 2 slices of bread. Using a sharp knife, cut the crusts off the edges. Cut sandwiches into 2 triangles or rectangles. To garnish, place a dab of remaining spread on top of each triangle or rectangle and add a bit of chives.

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Cucumber and Lemon Jam

3 lb. green cucumbers
3 fresh lemons
2 lb sugar
1 pint water

Wash cucumbers well. They may be peeled or not as desired. Slice cucumbers thinly.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to sit for about 3 or 4 hours. Drain the water which the salt has drawn.

Meanwhile, roughly cut the lemons and boil in a covered pan for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid into a preserving pan, add the cucumber (washed and drained) and cook for 15 minutes. Next add the sugar, and finish the cooking rapidly in an open pan. Usual time 15 to 20 minutes after adding the sugar.

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Sauteed Asian Cucumbers

2 cucumbers (sliced)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, saute briefly. Add sliced cucumbers and stir frequently for about 2 minutes until they begin to brown. Add soy sauce. Stir and remove from heat. Place in a bowl, drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds.

 
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