It’s that time of year, when salads will be more prevalent over heavy protein dishes. No heating up the house while slaving over a hot stove or oven. Instead utilize fresh, in-season produce to create a variety of quick, cool, culinary delights.
One of my all-time favorite salads is cucumber salad. I cannot remember or find (via internet search) where I obtained my recipe. Should someone actually know who’s recipe this is, please feel free to comment so I can edit this and add a link.
I was first introduced to cucumber salad through an church youth group when I was around 10 years old. Fast forward 30-something years and this salad has survived my ever-changing taste buds. I originally made this using only cucumbers. As I matured, I found the subtle flavor of red onions (or even shallots) provide a nice flavor to this simple salad.
Cucumber & Red Onion Salad
2-3 Medium cucumbers (peeling optional) – sliced thin
1 small red onion – sliced thin
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh dill
This is how I make this recipe:
In a food processor with a slicing blade, feed the cucumbers (whole or halved) through the top of the food processor. Next, do the same with the onion. There the bulk of your work is done.
Now, if you are a budding chef and want to work on your knife skills, by all means, practice cutting the cucumbers paper-thin.
In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Pour mixture over the cucumbers and onions. Seal with a lid and shake the bowl. Refrigerate at least three hours to blend the flavors.
I typically will make this up right before bed and refrigerate overnight. It really helps cut down on “sampling” while the cucumbers marinate.
Some options you can experiment with:
- add cherry tomatoes
- add some feta cheese
- add some Kalamata olives
- change up the vinegars (apple cider, champagne, red wine, rice)
- add a pinch of another spice (paprika, chili powder, cumin…)
Lastly, this is a great little educational opportunity. You can purchase these items at a local farmer’s market (supporting your community), then show your child(ren) how they can be used in a recipe. Allow your child to taste these items as you prepare them. They can help push the on/off button on the food processor too. Have them try a bit of the fresh dill. Let their mouths experience individual ingredients before they combine into something new.
My daughter tried fresh dill for the first time last night. She has this habit of smelling first, tasting second. I actually understand that. I want her to approach food in such a manner. I want her to use as many of her senses as possible when it comes to food utilization. She was pleasantly surprised by the how mild the dill was. She became excited as to what the salad would come to taste like.
Nothing makes me prouder than to stimulate my daughter’s mind with knowledge. Teaching her how fresh ingredients can be transformed into wonderful dishes.
So there you have it. Cucumber and red onion salad. A summer staple in our home.
*Picture to come (posting from work)