cooling cucumber salad
It's getting to be that time here in Florida... where the air is heavy with humidity and so very, very warm. It's that time that so many West Coasters I meet imagine to be horrific (though I personally think the humidity is wonderful for skin, at least for my thirsty skin). While I speculate that this hot season will likely be more ruthless than those of the past with how mild our winter has been, I generally love the hot months here; I love how satisfying the ocean or a pool feels, and I love the intense afternoon storms. I especially love whipping up quick, simple, cooling meals such as this on sauna-like afternoons. Luckily, cucumber is in season here for the month of May, and is thus abundant and inexpensive. Wherever you are in the world, this refreshing dish is yours, as long as you can get your hands on this most refreshing of veggies.
I usd a spiralizer to achieve the ultra-thin, noodle-like texture of the cucumber, but if you do not own a spiralizer, worry not; I have made this and other spiralized dishes using a carrot peeler and some elbow grease to delicate and tasty results.
Luckily for us in Florida, locally-grown peanuts are in season now, as well as most of the year. While peanuts are technically legumes, rather than nuts, research has suggested that they provide the same heart health benefits as pricier tree nuts. Utilizing peanuts both as a garnish and in the dressing provides satisfying protein, though if you feel you need more, VLGL ginger-lime tofu makes a delicious addition to this dish.
Cilantro is a bit of a controversial green, but for those who enjoy the taste, it is a nutrition powerhouse. These pretty little leaves are rich in antioxidants, iron, manganese, and more, and their incorporation both as a garnish and in the dressing ensures a potent serving. Gently processed with the peanuts, zesty lime, and warming (and possibly blood-pressure reducing) sesame oil, this dressing is quite like a unique, flavorful pesto sauce.
Whatever the weather, I hope this refreshing and inexpensive salad brings you cool contentment.
RECIPE: Cooling Cucumber Salad
- 2 large (or 4 small) spiralized cucumbers
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (if using pre-salted, contemplate reducing the soy sauce/coconut aminos)
- Juice of two small limes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Spiralize the cucumbers and divide between two bowls.
- In a food processor, pulse all remaining ingredients except for the added two tablespoons each of cilantro leaves and peanuts until a chunky, pesto-like texture is reached.
- Pour half of the dressing over each of the spiralized cucumber bowls. Garnish each with 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1 tablespoon peanuts.
Serve with love.