Cool and delicious!
For a delightfully zesty and easy to prepare cucumber salad try this recipe. It takes about five or ten minutes to prepare, and an hour or so in the refrigerator to set up. It's a recipe that lends itself to substitutions and variations. For instance, if you really don't like cooking with sugar, then you can substitute a small amount of stevia instead. Or, if you wanted to spice it up a bit, try adding red pepper flakes; or Tabasco sauce. The main ingredients are cucumbers, olive oil, lemon juice (or rice wine vinegar), water and sugar. The sugar is quite frankly optional. I really don't like using sugar very much, however, there is some lying around the house and I'd like to use it up. It will help to bring out the sweetness of the cucumber.
Two medium-sized cucumbers
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
About six green onions
10 - 15 fresh leaves of basil
15 - 20 cilantro stems with leaves - separate the leaves and discard the stems if you like, it's a matter of choice.
Salt and pepper to taste
It is July 22 in Michigan as I write this. I just mention this because to make cucumber salad we need ripe cucumbers. The plants suggest themselves seasonally and so basil, cilantro and green onions found their way into this recipe as well.
Dice the cucumbers into 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch size pieces. Smaller is better. Put the cucumbers into a large bowl. Chop up the green onions, basil and cilantro. Put these in a separate bowl. Put all the liquid ingredients into a saucepan and add the sugar to it. Bring it to boil, and just as it starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the cucumbers. Immediately stir in the green onions, basil and cilantro. At this time you could put in red pepper flakes, or any other additions you want to the cucumber salad. Cover the bowl with a lid and put it into the refrigerator. When it's ready to be eaten, each person can add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the size of cucumbers, this recipe should make about four servings.
If you have some fancy olives, try chopping them up and put them in with the cucumber. Some red or green peppers would liven up the presentation. Dice up a Granny Smith apple and toss it in there for a crunchy counterpoint. Try it with a tomato. Any of these would make for a good change. Mostly, I'd be inclined to put in any kind of vegetable that you can tolerate eating raw in with it; like, onions, celery, spinach. Shy away from stuff that's too sweet, I don't think it would be good with raisins for example; but the only way to find out is to try.
As for the liquid ingredients, I'd go for fancy stuff here; like balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar or especially nice olive oil. Lime juice would be good too. Hot sauce, or Korean hot pepper paste could really take this dish in another great direction. Mostly, when substituting (or adding) liquid ingredients, I'd try to keep in mind a ratio of about 1 to 1 and quarter cups of liquid to a vegetable base of 2 or 3 cucumbers. More vegetable matter than that, and I'd want to up the liquid content a bit.
When you make the dish, and put it in the refrigerator, cover it. That will keep pungent odors from escaping and getting into other food. More importantly to the recipe, it will help with the marinading process involved. It should sit for an hour in the refrigerator, but then can be eaten room temperature or even lightly stir-fried (20 - 30 seconds at medium heat) with rice for a different kind of treat.
Cucumber salad is the perfect thing to cool off with on a hot day.
This recipe would make a nice side served with lemonade, grilled tempeh, and rice pilaf. Or, you could use it as a garnish for a portobello mushroom burger, with a nice side of fries. I am planning to eat it tonight with yellow squash and kale stir-fry with rice and garbanzo beans. This cucumber salad will provide a nice sweet and tangy counterpoint. It's a very simple recipe that you can dress up a number of different ways. I hope you enjoy it!
Other vegan recipes
Steamed kale and summer squash with rice wine vinegar
Fried tempeh with green peppers
If you haven't tried tempeh yet, then this is a great starter recipe for you. Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans. The texture is dense and chewy; and the nutrition from tempeh is easier to for us to assimilate than tofu.
Delicious Oatmeal Apple Breakfast Recipe
How to make homemade vegan pizza
How to make great granola
Robert Hughes (author) on March 28, 2012:
Thanks Jojosi for the comment. Summer's coming soon!
Gillian Namele from Complicated on March 27, 2012:
Mouth watering, will try them out. What a handy way to cool off on a hot day. Never thought of it.
Robert Hughes (author) on August 10, 2011:
Thanks, Carcro; I'm all about eating my fruits and vegetables. Hope that you are well.
Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on August 09, 2011:
This sounds real good, I will definitely have to try it. You just can't have enough vegetables in your diet. Thanks for sharing.
Robert Hughes (author) on July 27, 2011:
Thanks, RTalloni; I hope you enjoy it!!
RTalloni on July 26, 2011:
Adding this to a collection of nice summer food hubs. Thanks for sharing!
Robert Hughes (author) on July 23, 2011:
Thanks, CWanamaker. I like to make recipes like this one that can be easily turned into variations. There's still a little left in the 'fridge; but it'll be gone by tomorrow!
Christopher Wanamaker from Arizona on July 23, 2011:
This actually sounds really delicious. It would be a perfect addition to a healthy baked chicken dish.