Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

I am a big cucumber fan — the type that will take a bite straight from a whole cuke - but you don’t have to be to enjoy this salad.

Smashed Cucumber Salad is a Chinese side dish, and I’ve adapted that dish into a recipe I can make any old day. The salad base is still just cucumber (a GREAT way to mix it up when you’re in a salad rut). The dressing is where the rubber really meets the road here. You could use this dressing on other salads, too — but I never have leftovers 😁

The perfect balance of salt, acid, and sweet: rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey come together here. I haven’t yet watched Salt Fat Acid Heat (or read it), but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a dish that balances all of it’s flavors well. What do you think — should I jump in and watch the show?

Either way, this dressing is golden. Garlic and chili flakes add punch. Cucumber is plain and simple; but simple is just right with the dressing.

Smashed Cucumber Salad
Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Published April 2, 2019 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2-3 english cucumbers 
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or white sugar)
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • Garnish: 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 2-3 small sprigs of mint (optional), lime wedges (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Slice ends off of cucumber, and slice in half the long direction. Lay halved cucumbers seed-side down on a cutting board. Roll a rolling pin over cucumbers, smashing them just until the start to crack. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Place cucumber in a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
    3. Place avocado oil, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauté pan and warm over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Stir occasionally, and allow garlic to turn golden. Remove from heat.
    4. In a jar, combine honey, rice vinegar, ginger juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the chili-garlic oil. Stir (or close jar and shake) to combine.
    5. Toss cucumber in dressing. Top with minced cilantro, and optionally garnish with mint and lime wedges. Serve.

    Comment

    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

    With toasted slivered almonds, crunchy sugar snap peas, creamy avocado, and bright cucumber, this extraordinarily green slaw is everything you need and more when you're craving a plateful of veggies and something bright. 

    It started as a simple thing -- a slaw to be served under some salmon burgers I've been working on. But then it spiraled out of control: as I drove home, I started to day dream about an everything-green slaw and what all could go into it. Next thing you know, I'm pulling off the thoroughfare and aiming for the closest grocery store to pick up a few things I don't have at home: green onions, limes, and a green bell pepper. 

    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette
    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

    With the color green as my muse, I headed home and immediately started slicing and dicing. The salmon burgers? I'm sure they were fine, but I don't quite remember. It was the slaw that got all of the attention. Dressed in a bright ginger-lime vinaigrette, it was refreshing and bold. Bits of toasted almond added a punch that was rather addicting, and avocado -- well, we all love avocado, don't we? 

    Here's to the color green! It makes for one pretty slaw. 

    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette
    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

    P.S., Every time I post a salad recipe showing this salad bowl, I get asked about the bowl. It is my favorite salad bowl! Mine was a gift, but I've see a very similar one on Amazon (affiliate link!).

    Green Machine Slaw with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

    Published April 3, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 15 minutes



    Ingredients:

      For the Slaw:
    • 1/2 head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
    • 1 green bell pepper, cut julienne
    • 1 cucumber
    • 2 green onions
    • 1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
    • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional)
    • 1 avocado, cubed
    • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

    • For the Vinaigrette:
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/4 cup olive oil 
    • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
    • 1 teaspoon maple syrup 
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on microplane

    Directions:

    1. Place thinly sliced cabbage and sliced bell pepper in large salad bowl.
    2. Cut cucumber on a bias (here’s a video on how to do that), and add to bowl. Then, remove roots and dark green parts form green onions, slice green onions, and add to bowl. Add add optional jalapeño, cubed avocado, minced cilantro, and slivered almonds. Toss salad to combine ingredients.
    3. In a small jar, combine lime juice, olive oil, sesame oil, salt, maple syrup, and grated ginger. Place lid on jar and shake until combined. Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is coated. Serve.

    Comment

    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

    On a morning jog though Monterey, I worked not to slip on the wet cobble path beneath my feet. It had just rained, and was likely to start raining again soon, but for a moment the air hung still, albeit heavy with humidity. I was barely going fast enough to raise my respiratory rate (plus, at sea level the air is thick), but humidity made me sweat anyways. The sunrise was a blend of oranges and pinks and even purples, and I stopped to take pictures almost as much as I ran.

    The humidity held down any usual street smells, and instead what I smelled was the California coast at it's purest. Eucalyptus, as I ducked through a grove of trees; Rosemary, as I jogged by California's first theater (it is hedged with rosemary bushes, each over two feet tall); Lavender, as I passed through the English garden alongside the boat house. And over it all, the unmistakable smell and sound of the ocean: salty and constant.

    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad
    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

    In my head, I am calling this salad the "California Salad," because when all of the ingredients come together they paint a mirage of the west coast.

    As I drove down highway 1, I saw field after field of crops. It's hard to name them all: butterhead lettuce, artichokes, strawberries, and them I'm lost. These fields are a color of green that just isn't possible in the plains of Colorado, and that makes them almost hypnotizing. It's the color of fresh

    A walk under a citrus tree this time of year is a rewarding experience, as the branches are heavy with fruit. Grapefruit, oranges, lemon. Across the street, I noticed an avocado tree boasting a absurd number of fruits. They were small still, and I couldn't tell if that was just a characteristic of the variety or if they still had room to grow. 

    And there, near Cannery Row, was a storefront for an almond grower. They were stocked with piles of oils and butters and nuts. The smell of toasted nuts wafted from it's door, enough to override that salty ocean smell for a minute. 

    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

    This salad is only a few of the scents and flavors you find on the west coast, but as I put it together I couldn't help but remember the ocean breeze, the rolling hills, and warm evenings. 

    Funnily enough, one of my last trips to the west coast also inspired a salad, which is completely different: Seared Wasabi Crusted Tuna Salad with Ginger & Almonds.

    Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

    Published January 16, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 5-ounce package of baby arugula
    • 1 grapefruit (large)
    • 1 avocado
    • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almond 
    • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds 
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

    Directions:

    1. Place arugula in a salad bowl.
    2. Cut the peel from the grapefruit, and then use a pairing knife to cut out each wedge of fruit, leaving the pith behind. Arrange fruit pieces over arugula.
    3. Slice avocado, and arrange over arugula. Sprinkle with almonds and sesame seeds.
    4. Make vinaigrette: place olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, and salt in a jar. Seal jar with a lid, and shake to combine ingreidents. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss!

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