You’re only five minutes away from being cool as a cucumber–and likely surprised by one too. When I first decided to do a post on a cucumber salad my motivation was to provide a recipe for a side dish that was quick, easy, and highly customizable. Let’s face it–it’s much easier to maintain a healthy diet when the recipes don’t place a lot of demands on time or energy!
When I can, I try to provide information on the nutritional benefits of the ingredients in my recipes. As I gathered together the information on the cucumber I was astonished at the nutritional benefits. The cucumber is a member of the cucurbitaceae or gourd family. Like many fruits and vegetables cucumbers are made up of mostly water (95%), which naturally is great for hydration during the summer months.
But the benefits go far beyond that: This low-calorie, high fiber veggie is not only good for weight loss and digestion, but also contains B vitamins, vitamins C and K, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It contains a flavonol, polyphenols, and phytonutrients that work as an anti-inflammatory and have anti-cancer properties. The cucumber also has a history of being touted as a member of the beauty community. Chilled cucumber slices placed on the eyelids are said to reduce swelling and irritation due to the chilling and antioxidants, while placing a slice on the roof of the mouth helps to reduce bacteria and bad breath. Are you surprised yet??
Once I discovered what a treasure trove this little gourd was I made a beeline for one of my local farmers markets. I am so fortunate to have the Green Maple Market so close to my home. Brimming with garden fresh produce and other boutique items like imported olive oil, fresh coffee beans and artisan baked goods–I am a big fan of their “buy fresh, buy local” concept. (If you live in the Northern Virginia area I would encourage you to check it out, and if you don’t please check out this handy tool from the USDA for locating a farmers market near you.)
This Sweety Drop Pepper Cucumber Salad is just one of many twists you can do with a simple cucumber salad. It can be dressed up with many add-ons such as onion slices, various peppers, additional veggies, and herbs with an olive oil or creamy based dressing to take center stage on the table. Or it can remain simple so as not to overwhelm the feature presentation, but merely compliment its flavor.
I used the sweet and sour flavor of the Sweety Drop Peppers paired with the scallions and pepperoncini pepper brine to add a dimension to the salad that would not overwhelm. As a punctuation to the flavor and color, I topped the salad with Falksalt Crystal Sea Salt Flakes Black Salt. If you don’t have Sweety Drop Peppers or you don’t want to use them you could try pickled Cherry Peppers as they are very similar in taste. If you don’t have Falksalt (I do highly recommend this product–see my Falksalt product review) regular sea salt can be substituted.
This simple and quick salad is delicious, incredibly nutritious, and rich with options for prep that will suit a multitude of meals, occasions, and palates! Enjoy!!
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