Nothing cools and hydrates you in the summer heat like cucumbers. Add them to salsas for cool crunch, pair them with cream cheese or hummus for a light sandwich, or make super refreshing soups and salads that pair perfectly with anything you cook on the grill. When the temperature rises, eat cucumbers – and carry on.

Salt and Pepper Smashed Cucumber Salad

recipe by Jesse Szewczyk at Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 12 small seedless cucumbers (about 2 lbs. total)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup vinaigrette (bottled or homemade)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the ends from 12 small cucumbers. Cut each cucumber crosswise into 4 pieces. Transfer into a large zip-top bag and seal the bag. Gently smash the cucumbers with a rolling pin or glass bottle 5 to 8 times until the pieces are about 1/2-inch thick. Don’t over smash or your cucumbers will end up mushy.
  2. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander set over a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and toss to combine. Let sit 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the colander from the bowl. Pour off any accumulated liquid in the bowl. Transfer the cucumbers to the bowl. Add 1/4 cup vinaigrette, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Use your hands to gently toss everything together, making sure the cucumbers are well coated. Let sit 15 minutes to marinate.
  4. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper if needed (try a flavored salt and/or smoked pepper from Circle City Smoke). Transfer the cucumbers to a serving plate with a slotted spoon. Garnish with more black pepper and serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

Storage: Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Kohlrabi, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Contest-winning recipe from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pickled hot cherry peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large yellow tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add peppers and garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in vinegar and salt; remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the kohlrabi, tomatoes and cucumbers. Pour in onion mixture; gently toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Cook’s Notes:  The peppers in this recipe aren’t terribly hot, but if you’re sensitive to spice, you can cut back on them or eliminate them altogether.  Feel free to add your favorite cherry tomatoes or other vegetables you may have.

Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho

recipe by Nana Lee at Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 lb) seedless watermelon, diced, divided (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, seeded, minced
  • 3 inner celery ribs, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1⁄2 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup crème fraiche or 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Puree 4 cups watermelon in blender until smooth. Transfer puree to large bowl.
  2. Add remaining 1 cup diced watermelon and next 10 ingredients; stir to combine.
  3. Cover gazpacho and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  4. Divide gazpacho among bowls and top with dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream. Makes 4 servings.

There are many types of cucumbers at the Market (including Asian and lemon), and many ingredients that complement them. Whether you go creamy or vinegary, herby or spicy, with other fruits (cucumber is one you know) or with vegetables – browse the Market, talk to the vendors, and get creative. Find more cool cucumber recipes in our archives.

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