Summer is here and temps are heating up. A great way to cool down and stay hydrated is cool water-rich cucumbers. And we’ve got a couple of truly tasty ways to enjoy them — one, using a spiralizer to make cucumber noodles, and the other, smashing the cucumbers so that they absorb the dressing.

Saucy Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodles

recipe from the Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted (Asian) sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds English cucumbers* (2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Place the vinegar, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Trim the ends from the cucumbers, then cut in half crosswise. Using a spiralizer with the thinnest “noodle” attachment, spiralize the cucumber into long, thin strands. Use kitchen shears to cut the cucumber noodles in half, if desired.
  3. Add the noodles to the bowl with the dressing and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings.

Cook’s Notes: If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienne or vegetable peeler to prep the cucumber instead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Drain off any accumulated liquid before serving.

*English cucumbers are long and narrow with thinner skin. English cucumbers are sometimes called seedless, but they do have smaller and thinner seeds.

Herbed Smashed Cucumbers*

recipe from the Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lbs. cucumbers (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1 small)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh dill fronds
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Flaky salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, and oil together in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch segments. Spread the pieces out on a cutting board, flat-side down, and use a heavy pot or skillet to smash the cucumber pieces and lightly crush them.
  3. Transfer the smashed cucumbers to the bowl with the yogurt. Add the red onion, dill, and parsley, along with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a few big grinds of pepper. Toss gently to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Makes 4-6 servings.

Cook’s Note: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the dressing will become a bit watery.

*While the cucumbers for this salad could be sliced or diced, they’re instead smashed. Peeled cucumber pieces are lightly crushed with a heavy pot or skillet, which breaks down some of their flesh, but still keeps them intact. The benefit of doing this is that it gives the cucumbers the ability to soak up more dressing in their flesh. It also makes for a more texturally interesting dish.

Don’t forget to check our recipe archive for more cool cucumber recipes.