Summer time calls for lighter fare at lunch (and dinner for that matter). It’s often too hot during the middle of the day to do much cooking and to be honest none of us feel like a heavy meal that will just put us to sleep. Instead we snack on fruits and vegetables and have salads and fresh sandwiches with lots of veggies. Not only does it help us (and our home) stay cooler, it’s also a much healthier way to eat.
The perfect ingredient for this lighter summer fare is cucumbers. They are cool, have a mild flavour and on top of it they contain quite a bit of water making them a low calorie treat. Let me show you a few different ways that I incorporate cucumbers into our summer meals.
You are probably familiar with cucumbers in salad. Any good mixed salad usually includes a few slices of this vegetable. But don’t just stop there. Grab a cucumber and a couple of tomatoes. Wash them and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Top it with your favorite vinaigrette or light Italian dressing and you have a simple but oh so delicious salad that’s also good for you. Throw in a few olives and some cubed feta cheese, add a slice of whole wheat bread and you have a complete healthy meal.
I also really enjoy a nice bowl of ice cold cucumber vinegar salad during the summer months. I make it first thing in the morning so it has plenty of time to chill before lunch or dinner. It goes really with some simple meat or fish dishes, or even your favorite pasts.
Of course, that’s not the only good cucumber salad recipe. If you prefer something a little more traditional, give this sour cream cucumber salad a try. It’s an old family recipe brought over from Germany. It’s very easy and fast to make and goes with just about any main dish.
For something a little more filling, make sandwiches for lunch. You can create a classic cucumber sandwich by spreading some softened cream cheese on white bread. Add think slices of cucumber. Season with a bit of salt and top with another slice of white bread. Cut of the crust and then cut in four for fancy cucumber tea sandwiches.
While those are fun, you can also make more substantial sandwiches. One of my personal favorite is chiabata bread spread with hummus and then topped with veggies including roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes and plenty of sliced cucumbers. Filling, healthy and yummy.
Add sliced cucumbers to any of your favorite sandwiches (except maybe PB&J) to make them more filling and healthier.
Snacks and Dips
Cucumbers also make for a nice light snack during the summer. Grab a container of hummus (or make your own by grinding chickpeas with a bit of olive oil and some seasonings), slice up a cucumber and snack away. Kids also like dipping chunks, slices or long strips of cucumber into ranch dressing.
Last but not least I would like to share my recipe for greek cucumber sauce with you. Serve it with raw or roasted vegetables or your favorite grilled meat or fish. I also like to serve it with some pita chips as an appetizer.