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Easy No/Low Heat International Cucumber Recipes

July 20, 2011

It’s been so hot lately, I’ve been trying to do as little actual cooking (as in using heat) as possible. We’ve been eating salads–a lot.

I’ve recently tried several recipes that use cucumber, which has just come in season in Michigan, and wanted to post them for your enjoyment. Each of these has a different international flair, so don’t consider this a recommended menu. ūüôā

Sesame Soba Noodled with Cucumber, Bok Choy, and Mixed Greens (Japanese)

*vegetarian, vegan

(Originally printed in Bon Appetit June 2008)

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil OR olive oil
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) mixed baby greens (Or whatever lettuces you have on hand.)
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, cored, thinly sliced crosswise (Or 1 head regular-sized bok choy.)
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into matchstick-size strips (Or 1 regular cucumber.)
  • 3 green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Salted roasted peanuts

Puree first 9 ingredients and 1 teaspoon red pepper in blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually add canola oil through opening in lid. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Cook soba noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Using kitchen shears, cut noodles crosswise in 2 to 3 places. Drizzle noodles in strainer with sesame oil and toss to coat.

Place greens, bok choy, cucumber, green onions, chopped cilantro, and mint in large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper, dressing, and noodles; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and serve.

Indian Dal Tacos 

(Originally printed in Vegetarian Times May 2008.)


  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup yellow split lentils, sorted, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (You can make your own Greek yogurt by placing a cheesecloth or tea towel in a strainer, putting regular plain yogurt in it, and draining it for several hours or overnight. Use the leftover liquid in pancakes. You will need at least 1 cup of regular yogurt to make 1/2 C. Greek yogurt.)
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped mint
  • 4 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh spinach
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  1. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown. Stir in cumin, turmeric, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper. Add lentils and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 40 minutes, or until lentils are cooked but still hold their shape. There will be 1 to 2 Tbs. liquid left in pan.
  2. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, cucumber, mint, and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt in bowl.
  3. Fill tortillas with spinach, bean sprouts, and lentil mixture. Drizzle with yogurt mixture or serve on side.
Hummus and Feta Sandwiches on Whole Grain Bread (Middle Eastern)
(Originally printed in Bon Appetit February 2009)

  • 1 14-to 15-ounce can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)*
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalape√Īo chile


  • 4 5×3-inch slices whole grain bread
  • 1 Persian cucumber or one 4-inch piece English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
For hummus:

Using on/off turns, finely chop garbanzo beans and garlic in processor. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining ingredients; process to coarse puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to airtight container and chill.

For sandwiches:
Spread 2 tablespoons hummus over each bread slice. Top 2 bread slices with sliced cucumber, mint, and cilantro, dividing equally. Arrange slices of feta atop cilantro. Top each with second bread slice and press gently to compact slightly. Cut sandwiches in half.

I’ve also posted Chilled Zucchini Cucumber Soup, which requires absolutely no cooking at all to prepare. Enjoy!

One Comment leave one →
  1. McArtor permalink
    August 14, 2011 1:30 am

    Enjoy reading your blog. We grew lots of cucumbers in our garden this summer. I wanted to try an Asian recipe for the cucumbers. Thanks for sharing Sesame Soba Noodled with Cucumber. McArtor

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