Wheatless Wednesday – Cucumber Ribbons with Red Onion, Feta and Mint

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Are you a lover or a hater?  Cucumbers have a reputation for being boring. I don’t agree.  I love cucumbers and this salad, which is refreshing and definitely not boring, brings it!  There is a bit of a kick and crunch with added jalapenos, lemon zest and pistachios. Topped with crumbled feta and a drizzle of red wine vinaigrette and you have a taste sensation. Did you know cucumbers have a secret?  Scroll down for the big reveal.

Lemon Water

I am on the cucumber bandwagon and drink Lemon Cucumber water every morning (recipe HERE) but know there are haters out there, including my future daughter in law.  (For her I make strawberry, lemon, blueberry water or other concoctions)  So, if you avoid cucumber but like the ‘idea’ of this salad, just substitute zucchini.  Win!

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I was gifted a bag of lovely Heirloom Japanese long cucumbers from my friends, Linda and Michael Rosso, and their prolific garden in Sonoma.  Aren’t they fabulous?  Linda tells me that one plant has already yielded 20 of these babies and summer is not over yet.  Linda and Michael own Sonoma Rosso, a California Wine Country getaway in Kenwood, California that offers a one bedroom guest cottage with access to a salt water pool and an organic garden.  Yes, you can keep what you pick! I haven’t been lucky enough to see it yet, but it looks like a beautiful spot for getting away.  Click on the LINK for more information.  Here’s a photo of Michael harvesting ‘my’ cucumbers and other produce from their garden.

Are you ready for a botanical shocker?  You may have heard that tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable.  Well cucumbers fall under that same umbrella.  What?  Tomatoes were a surprise way back when I heard that news – but at least they are sweetish, round and colorful.  This is quite a shocking revelation to me as there is nothing remotely fruity about cucumbers, however they are actually a fruit. Really!  They contain seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants which is the definition of a fruit.  Does this make all vegetables males?  I’m afraid to ask.  Cucumbers are members of the plant family Cucurbitacae, which also makes them related to squashes and melons.  But there is more to cucumber than just water which makes them really hydrating and great to eat in summer.  Cucumbers also contain Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc.  Mind still blown…

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TIPS: Cucumbers have a lot of water which makes them a super healthy snack but in salads, they continue to release water so this salad should only be made just before needed, otherwise it will be sitting is a pool of water.  To store any leftovers, pour off excess water before refrigerating and toss with a bit more vinaigrette and fresh mint to refresh.

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CUCUMBER RIBBON SALAD WITH RED ONION, FETA AND MINT

2 large cucumbers (Persian or other thin skinned cucumber)
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno (or more)
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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  •  Using a mandolin, slice cucumbers on the thinnest setting. Cucumbers don’t need to be peeled unless they have thick and bitter skins. Place in a large serving bowl.

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  • Slice onion vertically and add to the bowl with the cucumbers

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  • Chop or julienne mint leaves and add to the bowl

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  • Finely dice jalapeno

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  • Roughly chop pistachios

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  • Add mint, jalapeno, pistachios and lemon zest to the bowl

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  • Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Drizzle over cucumber mixture and toss to combine.

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  • Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. (This is not a make ahead salad as cucumbers make a lot of water.)

 

Cucumber Ribbons with Red Onion, Feta and Mint

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150811_200757

2 large cucumbers (Persian or other thin skinned cucumber)
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno (or more)
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  •  Using a mandolin, slice cucumbers on the thinnest setting. Cucumbers don’t need to be peeled unless they have thick and bitter skins. Place in a large serving bowl.
  • Slice onion vertically and add to the bowl with the cucumbers
  • Chop or julienne mint leaves and add to the bowl
  • Finely dice jalapeno
  • Roughly chop pistachios
  • Add mint, jalapeno, pistachios and lemon zest to the bowl
  • Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Drizzle over cucumber mixture and toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese, if desired.
  • Serve immediately. (This is not a make ahead salad as cucumbers make a lot of water.)

 

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