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Beyond Salads: 9 Ways to Enjoy Cucumber During Summer

Cucumbers are often relegated to salads, but these versatile veggies can do so much more. Whether you’re looking to cool down on a hot summer day or add a fresh twist to your meals, cucumbers are the perfect ingredient. Here are nine delicious and creative ways to enjoy cucumbers beyond the usual salad.

Spicy Fermented Pickles

Fermenting cucumbers into pickles is a fantastic way to preserve their crunch and enhance their flavor. Making your own spicy fermented pickles at home is simple and rewarding. All you need are fresh cucumbers, garlic, dill, chili flakes, and a saltwater brine. Let them sit for a few days to develop that tangy, spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with sandwiches, burgers, or as a snack on their own.

White Cucumber Sangria

Nothing says summer like a refreshing glass of sangria. For an extra cool twist, try a White Cucumber Sangria. Combine crisp white wine with sliced cucumbers, fresh mint, and a splash of lime juice. Add a few slices of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges for an extra zing. This light, refreshing drink is perfect for sipping on a hot day by the pool.

Chicken with Basil Sauce

Cucumbers aren’t just for sides—they can elevate your main dishes too. Try serving Chicken with Basil Sauce alongside a cucumber, radish, and broccoli sprout salad. The salad, tossed in a simple lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette, adds a fresh and crunchy contrast to the juicy chicken breasts topped with aromatic basil sauce. This dish is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

For a sophisticated yet simple treat, make Cucumber Tea Sandwiches. Spread garlic and herb cheese generously on slices of soft white or whole grain bread. Add thinly sliced cucumbers, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and you have a delightful snack or party appetizer. These sandwiches are perfect for a summer picnic or an afternoon tea party.

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Lemon-Cucumber Relish

Grilled chicken gets a zesty upgrade with Lemon-Cucumber Relish. This relish combines diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions with a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. The result is a bright, refreshing topping that enhances the smoky flavors of grilled meats. It’s an easy way to add a burst of freshness to your summer barbecues.

Cucumber-Grape Smash

Meet your new favorite summer mocktail: Cucumber-Grape Smash. Blend cucumbers with fresh grapes, mint leaves, and a squeeze of lime for a deliciously refreshing drink. This mocktail is not only hydrating but also bursting with natural sweetness and flavor. Serve it over ice for a cooling beverage that’s perfect for any time of day.

Gazpacho Verde

Gazpacho is typically tomato-based, but Gazpacho Verde takes a green twist. This chilled soup features cucumbers, avocados, spinach, and celery, creating a vibrant and nutritious meal. Blend the ingredients with some olive oil, garlic, and a bit of vinegar for a smooth, refreshing soup. It’s an excellent way to beat the heat and enjoy a healthy, light lunch.

Tofu Spring Rolls

If you’ve never made your own spring rolls, this Tofu Spring Rolls recipe is a great place to start. Fill rice paper wrappers with fresh cucumbers, tofu, carrots, and mint. Serve with a tangy peanut dipping sauce for a delicious and healthy snack or appetizer. These spring rolls are light, refreshing, and packed with flavor.

Cucumber Kimchi

Plan ahead and make Cucumber Kimchi a day before your summer cookout. This spicy, fermented side dish adds a punch of flavor to grilled meats, sandwiches, and even veggies. Slice cucumbers and mix them with gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), garlic, ginger, and a bit of sugar. Let it ferment overnight, and you’ll have a spicy, crunchy kimchi that’s perfect for summer meals.

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