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.

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    Mediterranean Salad

    Mediterranean salad

    It started when I was in high school: my core group of friends began doing dinners together for special occasions--birthdays, prom, etc. Most dinners had a similar landscape, including a main pasta dish with some sort of protein, a salad, and dessert (cheesecake). And Being a lover of cooking and feeling at home in the kitchen, I helped with all three dishes. But, one of those nights, I was proclaimed the Official Salad Maker. 

    Now I sort of thought, salad... boooooring. But they said look, you can even make salad taste good, and that's crazy! So I moved on with no complaints. I guess it was a compliment.

    Mediterranean salad

    Flash forward to 2016 and I'm the first to bring a salad to a party. No one is bringing salad? Don't you worry! Official Salad Maker to the rescue! (I no longer use that title, but somehow, I can't help but be the salad bearer to this day).

    I have left many of my old hat tricks for salads in the dark and moved on to more innovative efforts. Candied pecans are out and extravagant ingredients from the antipasti isle are in. So are homemade vinaigrettes. Those jarred roasted red peppers in the ethnic foods section? To die for! Why don't we put those on more things? This salad doesn't last long on a table.

    Mediterranean salad

    Mediterranean Salad

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

    This salad has so many delicious ingreidents--it will be everyone's favorite!

    Serves: 5   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 1 heart of romaine
    • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin (found in near the olives and pickles or in the Italian section in the store)
    • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
    • 1/2 english cucumber
    • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
    • Sprinkle of dried oregano
    • Sprinkle of dried basil
    • Roasted red pepper dressing (I used a store-bought version)

    Directions:

    1. First, wash and dry the romain using a salad spinner. Then, chopped the ingredients: chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces; drain and dice the red peppers, drain and halve the olives; if you prefer, peel the cucumber, and then dice.
    2. Arrange the ingredients on a serving tray in rows, including 1 row for crumbled feta cheese. Lightly sprinkle salad with herbs.
    3. When serving, drizzle with dressing to taste, and then toss salad until everything is well mixed.

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    Cucumber, Melon + Avocado Salad (Paleo & Vegan)

    Before I jump into this post, I want to thank Carly for pointing out a typo in my last recipe! If you were confused by a post that said "nut-free" and a recipe that was most definitely not nut-free, I apologize! Just another reminder to slow down. For the *correct* recipe, head there now. 

    Now for this bowl of green.

    By now, you've probably heard of watermelon tomato salad, and you're probably well aware that strawberries and feta are the Peanut Butter and Chocolate of the salad world. You've also probably heard of cucumber and melon, though it may remind you more of scented lotions than summer meals (I shudder to think how many bottles of cucumber melon scented lotion I used in middle school). But here's a new one for you: Cucumber + Melon + Avocado (Plus mint and lemon and maybe even a crack pepper, but that doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it?).

    Avocado works in this salad the same way feta works with strawberries--it adds richness, grounding the entire dish and settling it out. If you open your mouth wide and manage to get a single bite with all three, you find yourself completely intrigued: it's at first herbaceous (gotta love mint), and then refreshing (cucumber!), smooth and creamy (that's the avocado), and finally sweet, as the melon hits your tongue. 

    Neither cucumber, nor melon or avocado are so robust that they over power the entire salad--on the contrary, each bite is just a bit different in texture and flavor. It's a good change of pace when you're sick of the same old thing, but mostly it's perfect for showcasing this season's best produce. When I'm looking for something a bit more savory, I even dish this over lettuce, drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and top it with prosciutto. 

    This recipe also helps me take down the out-of-control mint growing in the back yard. Between this salad, this Grilled Lamb Chop, and this Chili-Mint Slaw, we're (barely) managing to keep up with it's growth. What are your favorite ways to use mint recipes? Mojitos anyone?! There's enough to go around! 

    Cucumber, Melon & Avocado Salad

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan   |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

    Throwing avocado into this salad rounds it out--instead of overly sweet, it's got hints of creaminess, a touch of sweetness, and crunch from cucumber.

    Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 1 honeydew melon
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1 large ripe avocado
    • 1/4 cup mint leaves
    • 1 lemon
    • Optional: a few cracks of black pepper

    Directions:

    1. Prepare the produce: Remove the rind and from the melon and chop into cubes. Peel the cucumber, and cut into cubes. Slice open the avocado, and cube that as well.
    2. Juice the lemon into a medium sized salad bowl. Finely chop the mint leaves and add that to the bowl. Toss in the melon and cucumber. (I leave out the avocado at this time, and add it in last in order to preserve it’s shape.)
    3. Finally, gently toss in the avocado.
    4. Sprinkle top of salad with a touch of freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick. Serve.

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