50+ Cool as a Cucumber Recipes
Chicken and Cucumber Salad With Parsley Pesto
This hearty supper salad is a lean-protein powerhouse thanks to chicken, chickpeas, and edamame; the parsley pesto delivers bone-boosting vitamin K. Pick up frozen shelled edamame to make this meal extra speedy.
Any cucumber will do in this salad, but we love the thin-skinned English variety—no peeling or seeding is required.
Greek Chicken Nachos
Dinner doesn’t get much easier, or more fun, than sheet pan nachos. The pan does double duty: Toast the chips first, then pile high with toppings and return to the oven to melt the cheese and heat everything through. Here the Mexican classic takes a detour to Greece with pita chips, a shredded Greek salad, and crumbled feta. Rotisserie chicken breast makes this meal even easier, though this dish is a great use for any leftover cooked chicken. Bring the whole pan to the table and cut into servings, like you would a square pizza.
This refreshing summertime sipper has sweet-citrus flavor and nuanced heat from jalapeño-infused tequila. In place of triple sec or Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur), we save big on calories and added sugar by using fresh orange juice instead. In addition to being crisp and cooling, cucumbers offer up lots of vitamin C and vitamin K—important for overall heart health.
Strawberry and Cucumber Tabbouleh
Strawberries stand in for tomatoes in this fresh salad. Add rinsed chickpeas to transform this spring side into a satisfying meatless supper.
Crunchy Cucumber, Feta, and Almond Salad
Crunchy and crisp vegetables signify freshness—they taste as vibrant as they look. Fewer ingredients let you enjoy every kind of crunch, from crisp romaine to crunchy almonds, without overwhelming the palate.
Spicy, zingy fermented cukes deliver plenty of probiotics. The double-sealed water bag helps keep them submerged so they ferment thoroughly.
High-quality olive oil will make a big difference here. You can find Spanish extra-virgin olive oil at reasonable prices at Trader Joe's, but any flavorful variety you have on hand will work.
Tuna Poke Bowls with Brown Rice and Kale
Upgrade summer's coolest dish, poke, with whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and crisp kale. Want to go beyond the bowl? Serve this 10-minute mixture over mixed greens or with crunchy brown rice crackers, or tuck into corn tortillas.
Shaved Cucumber Greek Salad
Besides looking crisp and cool, cukes offer up lots of vitamin C.
Banh Mi Pizza
If you're craving extra protein, try cracking two eggs over the cheese just before baking.
Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs With Cucumber-and-Tomato Salad
Adding tahini to the marinade makes the chicken buttery tender without an overwhelming amount of sesame flavor in the finished dish. It also helps the chicken to char nicely on the grill.
A whole-grain protein bowl is the perfect solution for when lunch needs to be quick—as well as tasty, filling, and healthy. Cook quinoa ahead of time (or buy precooked, available in pouches near the rice). To complete the lunch, serve with 1/2 cup steamed green beans as shown. Dairy-free option: Use 2 teaspoons toasted chopped walnuts instead of feta cheese.
Dilly Cucumber Salad with Yogurt
We give the classic cucumber, tomato, and red onion combo a hit of grassy dill for more vibrance.
Greek Tomato Salad
This light, summery salad is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for any gathering this season. Macerate the tomatoes with a little salt before building this salad and you’ll be amazed at the difference. The salt concentrates the tomato flavor and helps loosen the tomato juices, which are great in addition to the tangy dressing.
Cuke and Tomato Yogurt
Tomatoes and cucumber for breakfast? Yes, please! Stirring these beauties into 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt along with toasted walnuts and olive oil will cut 23g of added sugar from your day.
Cucumber, Carrot, and Orange Salad
To get wide, even strips from all sides, slightly rotate the cucumber and carrot after you remove each ribbon with a vegetable peeler. Thinly slice the slender cores and add to the salad for more crunch.
Third Meal: Falafel, Feta, and Tomato Salad
Think of chopped falafel as a tasty, protein-packed crouton—it adds texture to the salad and instantly turns a simple side into a substantial main dish. We chose a Mediterranean theme here, but you could use any nuts, cheeses, or vegetables you like.
The loaded deli bagel works perfectly as an instant toast topper: Greek yogurt has the same tang and richness as cream cheese, and you don't have to wait for it to soften. Greek yogurt also contains more protein compared to cream cheese. Plus, our version of the traditional bagel sandwich is significantly lower in fat, calories, carbohydrates, sugars, and cholesterol. To keep the bread from getting soggy, pack the components of this open-faced sandwich separately. Sprinkle with additional chives for more punch. From sandwiches to scrambled eggs, smoked salmon makes a great addition to a variety of recipes. Need ideas on how to use up leftover Greek yogurt? We have lots of creative ways to put this healthy staple to good use.
Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho
This soup just screams "summer" with its bright, refreshing flavor and cool temperature. You can make the soup a day ahead and keep it chilled; just give it a good whisk or another turn in the blender before serving.
This effervescent, nonalcoholic mocktail refresher offers the perfect balance of floral, tangy, and sweet flavors. If you’d like to turn it into a tipple, try adding a splash of gin or vodka. While we call for dried lavender, if you have access to fresh, steep a few sprigs of it in place of the dried herb—and garnish each drink with a fresh sprig, too, for a lovely, fragrant touch. You can make the syrup and cucumber-lime mixture up to a day ahead; stir in club soda just before serving.
Who says salad has to be boring? Not us. This shrimp-laced salad is everything but. Toss homemade croutons, shrimp, and basil into arugula and cucumber for a sensational salad tonight.
Pea and Cucumber Cooler
Celebrate spring’s sweetest vegetable in a refreshing cocktail that delivers more than 15% of your daily vitamin C goal—and bonus points for the vibrant green color. Anise notes from the tarragon balance the sweetness of the elderflower liqueur. Club soda adds an effervescent finish.
Sesame Shrimp With Smashed Cucumber Salad
A bright and tangy Asian cucumber salad makes a crisp compliment to quick sauteed shrimp. Gently smashing fresh cucumber slices helps them absorb more vinaigrette, almost as if they've been marinating overnight. It’s a popular technique in many parts of Asia because cucumbers take on sweet, sour, and spicy flavors so well.
Greek Farro and Chickpea Salad
Farro is a quick-cooking, rich, and nutty grain, often found in Italian and Mediterranean dishes as an alternative to rice, barley, couscous, and quinoa. Packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients like Vitamin B3, farro’s satisfying chewy texture will have you falling head-over-heels in no time. Chickpeas are a delicious low-fat, plant-based protein option that's filled with fiber. Be sure to opt for the unsalted canned chickpeas to lower sodium. For Sunday prep, omit the arugula and make enough farro mixture for the week. Stir in the greens just before you head out the door. Try our Whole-Grain Salads for more make-ahead, quick-to-serve lunches and dinners.
Chicken Gyro Bowls
Flip a gyro into a whole-grain bowl layered with kale, veggies, herbs and chickpeas. Then we top it with lean, spice-packed chicken, feta cheese, and tahini-spiked yogurt. It's everything you want from the hearty Greek platter with less than 400 calories—a sum of parts you feel good about finishing.
Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad
This tomato cucumber salad is summer in a bowl. Sunshine-yellow and ruby-red wedges of juicy tomato anchor this cucumber salad recipe with a hefty dose of lycopene, a heart-helping, cancer-fighting antioxidant. Remember—summer tomatoes are extra juicy, so plan to serve this salad soon after making it for the most concentrated flavor.
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Cucumber-Lime Infused Gin and Tonic
Make the gin mixture ahead or let stand at room temp 3 hours. When entertaining, keep an ice bucket, extra utensils, and plenty of napkins handy so guests can help themselves—and so you won't have to be in and out of the kitchen.
Burger Patty Salad
We love the richness that a little ground lamb offers, but you can use all beef or even ground turkey instead.
Tomato-Cucumber Salad With Whipped Ricotta
“I’ve always been inspired by the phrase ‘what grows together goes together,’ ” says Ana Sortun, chef of Oleana in Cambridge MA, among other places. “This salad is a wonderful way to enjoy what the end of summer offers.”
Coconut-Lemongrass Chicken Bowls
Marinated chicken simmered in an aromatic coconut broth = flavor building at its finest. This Southeast Asian-inspire bowl is all about big flavor with minimal effort. When working with lemongrass, give the stalk a couple of whacks with the back of a knife before chopping to release its flavorful oils.
Tracy Singleton's Sprouted Quinoa with Marinated Veggies
Sprout a grain like quinoa (it takes time but almost no attention) for a pleasing bite and a nutrient boost. Add veggies and nasturtiums and marigolds (flowers optional) for a peppery kick.
This raw-food dish needs planning and patience, but the payoff is a salad that pops with each crunchy bite. Tracy Singleton (owner of Birchwood Cafe) says using cooked and cooled quinoa instead of sprouted quinoa is a fine shortcut, but the salad won't be 100% raw.
Bee-Utiful Summer Salad
Not all produce needs honeybees for pollination, but their sheer numbers and tenacity make bees powerhouse pollinators. If a plant is not wind-pollinated (like corn), you can probably thank honeybees for the produce. All of the ingredients in this recipe (except salt) depend on bees for pollination. Fresh citrus juice, sweet honey, and tangy mustard combine for a finger-licking-good dressing to pour atop melons and cucumber.
Chopped Israeli Salad
Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Think of gochujang as Korean steak sauce, adding savory depth to the chicken. You can find it at many supermarkets, or substitute equal parts Sriracha and white/yellow miso (soybean paste).
2. Grilled Flank Steak Gyros
Greek-Style Chicken Salad
This Greek-style main dish salad features parsley salad topped with homemade chicken salad and pita chips.
Middle Eastern Kofta Kebabs with Lemon-Tahini Sauce
Cooked quinoa acts as a binder for these kebabs, packing them with extra protein and some whole-grain goodness.
Fresh Thai Noodle Bowl
Our simple, speedy trick for creating deep and full-bodied favor: infusing store-bought vegetable stock with sautéed fresh garlic and ginger.
Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Shrimp
Simple, fresh, and perfectly portioned for two, this main dish salad is great for a quiet weeknight.
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber Pickles
Sumac—available at spice stores—adds a subtle piney, tangy note, but don't worry if you can't find it: The salad will still have loads of flavor complexity without it. You could also sub 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish for the wasabi powder.
Hoisin-Glazed Salmon Burgers with Pickled Cucumber
Quick-pickled cukes give these burgers tart crunch. Panko and egg white hold the patties together. Use cilantro leaves on the burgers as you would lettuce for herby freshness.
Ready in just 10 minutes, this simple side salad is the perfect addition to a variety of meat-based main dishes.
Flank Steak with Cucumber-Pepperoncini Relish
Serve a simple steak dinner topped with a peppery veggie-and-cheese relish. Pepperoncini peppers are yellow, wrinkled, and slightly spicy; we use both the chopped pickled pepper and pickling liquid to flavor the crunchy relish.
Smoked Salmon in Cucumber Boats
This recipe is perfect for a quick party appetizer. You can make the salmon mixture up to a day in advance. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for a more finished look.
We know cucumbers are cool, and sweet shaved ice is the quintessential summer refreshment. Together, the two make an ideal treat from the garden.
Curried Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Mint Raita
This Indian-inspired meal features quinoa, a high-protein grain that cooks relatively quickly. We like the heat that Madras curry powder brings, but use regular curry powder if you prefer.
Cucumber, Apple, and Mint Cooler
Each serving of this low-calorie smoothie offers a half-cup of vegetables, plus a little fruit. This refreshing sipper will soon be a favorite.
Watermelon and Cucumber Tonic
A reinterpretation of the familiar gin and tonic, this cocktail includes fresh watermelon and cucumber juices for a refreshing taste.
Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad
Miso is a thick soybean paste with a salty, slightly sweet flavor. Look for it in the refrigerated part of the produce section or with the dairy products, or substitute soy sauce.
Cucumber Gazpacho with Shrimp Relish
Chilled cucumber gazpacho is so refreshing in the heat of summer. We recommend English cucumbers because they have fewer seeds and thin skin that doesn’t require peeling. Blending them into a creamy summer soup is a breeze.
Cucumber Pimm's Cup
A traditional Pimm's Cup may include slices of lemon and orange, mint, and sometimes rosemary or thyme, along with cucumber spears. We steeped the lemonade overnight with cucumber slices to bring out their flavor.
Herby Cucumber Salad
Creamy and tangy, this simple side comes together in a flash. Don't make the salad ahead--the cucumbers will release too much water.
Super-Simple Salmon Poke
Poke (pronounced poh-keh) is a Hawaiian dish made of fish that is typically marinated or seasoned and served cold. In this easy-to-make bowl, the rich-tasting salmon is accented by the salty, limey sauce (be sure to toss the salmon with the lime juice right before serving, or the juice will change the fish’s texture). If you aren’t a fan of raw salmon, cook the salmon first and then toss it with the soy and lime juice. Look for seaweed salad in the refrigerator section of well-stocked grocery stores.