Some spring vegetables soak up all the seasonal attention. (I’m looking at you, asparagus!) But the humble cucumber shouldn’t be overlooked as just another salad ingredient. With the right recipes, the star-power potential of a cucumber is as great as every other green vegetable from the garden.
Sure, you can slice a cucumber and throw it into a salad, but that doesn’t necessarily inspire a trip to the grocery store. A recent conversation in Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group, however, is about to make you look at cucumbers in a different light.
A member of Cook With Us shared with the group that her local food pantry had bestowed upon her 18 gorgeous cucumbers—too many to know what to do with. When she asked other group members how to cook with cucumbers, there was no shortage of ideas. (There’s so much more you can do with cucumbers than salad or “spa water.”)
With a water content of 95 percent, cucumbers are among the most hydrating foods. The combination of water and fiber makes them especially good for digestive health. For fresh ideas to cook with cucumbers, look no futher than the list below, straight from the members of Cook With Us.
Creative recipes for cooking with cucumbers
1. Pickled cucumbers (aka pickles)
There are so many things to pickle that you didn’t know could be pickled. But if you have more cucumbers than you know what to do with, several Cook With Us members pointed out that you can always turn them into, you know, pickles. Pickling completely transforms the taste, especially if you add anti-inflammatory spices like garlic, bay leaves, and dill.
If you need some directions to get you started with pickling, check out this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish, which breaks it down step by step.
2. Tzatziki dip with cucumbers
Another Cook With Us member shared that she likes to blend her cucumbers with Greek yogurt, olive oil, and dill turning it into a creamy dip. It’s one that happens to go well with raw, sliced cucumbers. You can also be spread this concoction onto sandwiches or us it as a dressing for salads and grain bowls. Try making it yourself with this recipe from Love and Lemons.
3. High-protein stuffed cucumbers
You’ve probably stuffed peppers or avocados, but what about cucumbers? “I like to cut them length-wise, scoop out the middle, and fill the center with tuna,” one member shared. The combo of protein, healthy fats, and fiber with just these two ingredients makes it the perfect healthy snack. And that crunch is so darn satisfying. This recipe from registered dietitian Emily Kyle, RD, shows exactly how to do it. You can also save the pulp for one of the other uses rounded up here, like the tzatziki dip.
4. Cucumber juice
One Cook With Us member shared her simple recipe for a refreshing summer juice: cucumbers, celery, pineapple, ginger, and apples. All you have to do is cut them up, throw ’em in the blender, and voila—the perfect summer sip on a hot day. Here’s an easy recipe from Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie.
5. Cold cucumber summer soup
If your summer soup recipe repertoire begins and ends with gazpacho, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. Cucumbers blended with yogurt and olive oil make the perfect quick summer lunch. Watch the video above to see how to make this delicious cucumber recipe.
6. Smashed cucumber toast
One Cook With Us member shared that she likes to mix up her morning toast by topping a whole grain slice with mashed up cucumbers and spices. You’ll still need some protein and healthy fats in order to make this a fully satiating morning meal, so add some egg, tuna, or chickpeas in order to round it out as the perfect meal for any time of day.
A dietitians guide to the most hydrating foods:
Looking for more recipe ideas? Join Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group.