Cooling Cucumber + Radish Salad Posted on 29 Jul 13:31 , 0 comments
Cucumber salads remind me of my childhood. My grandmom used to make them for me weekly because I could not get enough of her secret recipe. I know, it's cucumbers, right? How secret and special can it be? Well, the way the she created them made the cucumbers pretty much addictive. We would have sleep overs with all of the cousins where we each had our favorite dishes that grandmom made. Mine was cucumber and onion salad with oil and vinegar while my sister's was creamed cucumbers with sour cream (wasn't a fan then and not a fan now!). My grandmom would make a full bowl of both to prevent playing favorites. How awesome are grandmoms that they make special dishes for each grandkid?
One of her secrets to making them super delicious was salting the cucumbers before dressing them. Cucumbers, as you probably know, are 95% water. When you sprinkle salt over them it pulls out the water which prevents the dish from getting watered down and flavorless. By extracting the water first, you accentuate the flavor of the ingredients that are about to be added.
The benefit of cucumbers goes way beyond water and hydration. They contain lots of polyphenols, which are powerful plant substances that fight cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, and inflammation. They are abundant in vitamin C, carotenoids, lignans (may help to lower risk of certain cancers), quercetin (flavonoid that helps with endurance and the above mentioned diseases), and fiber.
Adding radishes, red onion and cilantro to the salad bumps the antioxidant content and plant-based ingredient power enormously (the more color the better!).
Also added are apple cider vinegar for digestion and sesame seeds for calcium.
This simple salad is pretty amazing by itself but you can also use it on top of other salads (leafy greens or bean salad), on a black bean burger sandwich, with beans in veggie tacos, or on top of grilled mushroom steaks. Lots of options! Make lots and use throughout the week. You may have left over dressing which you can store in the fridge in a sealed container for two weeks.
- 2 large cucumbers, sliced (I used organic, 18")
- 5-7 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c chopped red onion
- 1/2 c chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp rice vinegar (unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp chili paste (could also use 1 tsp red pepper flakes in place of chili paste)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt (plus more for salting the cucumbers)
- 2 Tbsp sesame
- black pepper to taste
How to Make
Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander and the colander in a bowl (the bowl is to collect the water). Sprinkle salt lightly over the cucumbers, but enough so that all cucumbers have salt on them. I typically just lightly sprinkle the salt and mix while sprinkling. Let them sit for about 20 minutes. They will lose the water pretty quickly. Before adding the cucumbers to a separate bowl, squeeze out additional water with your (clean) hands.
Add the cucumbers, onion and radish to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add all of the dressing ingredients, except the sesame seeds, and mix well with a spoon or whisk. Pour the dressing over the cucumber, onion and radish mixture and stir. Stir in the cilantro and sesame seeds. Add a sprinkle of black pepper.
Enjoy the cucumber salad right away or let sit overnight for an incredible burst of flavors! Let us know what you think.