Add crunch and refreshment to your meals with cucumber salads that are perfect for the warmer months, but which are seasonal (and naturally vegan) year round.
The expression “cool as a cucumber” is based on the observation that its inside stays far cooler than the air temperature around it — a good reason why cucumber salads, cold soups, and beverages are so refreshing.
While cucumbers are 90% water, they do supply vitamin C, potassium, and the mineral silica, which is beneficial for the hair and fingernails. Cucumbers have plenty of food value. They come in a number of varieties, which are fairly interchangeable in recipes:
- Common (also known as pole) cucumbers: The most widely sold, there two caveats is that they might come waxed — peel, or avoid altogether; and they can be seedy. If that’s the case, quarter lengthwise and cut away some or most of the seeds.
- Kirby, or pickling cucumbers: These shorter cucumbers are indeed ideal for pickling, but they’re good for any other use as well.
- Hothouse, or English cucumbers: These are grown in greenhouses and are often sold shrink-wrapped in thin plastic — though I’m not sure why that’s needed. These approximately foot-long cukes have a nice crisp texture, and relatively few seeds.
- Less common varieties: Gardeners and farm market shoppers might explore Armenian, Japanese, Persian, or lemon cucumbers.
Refreshing Pickled Cucumber Salad: A perfect companion with veggie burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, this refreshing pickled cucumber salad can be served with just about anything.
Nori Rice Bowls with Tofu, Cucumber, and Avocado: Simple nori rice bowls are subtly infused with the tasty sea vegetable. Embellished with crispy tofu, cucumber, and avocado, it’s like veggie sushi deconstructed, but chunkier.
Vegetable Sushi Salad: Speaking of sushi, here’s another interpretation of deconstructed sushi. This one is a great way to use up leftover rice and offers an option of using plant-based tuna or baked tofu.
Barley Salad with Red Beans and Cucumber: This simple and flavorful barley salad with red beans is embellished with cucumber, herbs, and sunflower seeds, dressed in vinaigrette.
Spring Barley and Asparagus Salad: Peas, cucumbers and dill give this barley and asparagus salad a spring-y flavor, though you can make it year round if you can find good asparagus.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Cucumber and Fresh Herbs: Here’s a great way to use this tiny, tender pasta (also known as pearl couscous). With plenty of parsley, scallion, and red onion, it’s flavored with lemon and a hint of fresh mint.
Kale and Cucumber Salad with Avocado Tahini Dressing: This easy kale and cucumber salad is bathed in a luscious dressing of avocado and tahini. While this dressing is ideal for this and other kinds of kale salads, it’s great on most any kind of green salad.
Cool Cucumber and Kale Salad with Hot and Spicy Tofu: If you enjoy salads that are both hot and cold, you’ll love this cool and refreshing cucumber and kale salad, topped with sriracha-sautéed tofu.
Vegan Feta and Watermelon Salad: Almost too pretty to eat, this salad is extra refreshing with the addition of cucumber and a hint of mint. It’s one of those combinations that seems odd at first, but is actually genius.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Apricots, Tomatoes, & Cucumber: This summery Israeli couscous salad combining herbs, raw veggies, and lush stone fruit makes a light and refreshing companion to grilled foods or bold-flavored plant-based protein dishes.
Peanut Satay Soba Noodles with Cucumber: Peanut satay soba noodles is a dish that comes together quickly and is a perfect main dish for a warm weather meal with simply prepared tofu or tempeh. I suppose that technically this is a salad, but we can also call it a cold noodle dish. Either way, it’s delicious and on the table in about 20 minutes.
Vegan Rice Noodle Salad with Plant-Based “Steak”: In this vegan rice noodle salad, strips of beefy-style vegan plant protein, cucumbers, cilantro, and an optional hint of mint star in a Thai-inspired cold dish that’s both hearty and refreshing.
Watercress Salad with Oranges and Cucumber: This simple watercress salad, embellished with oranges, cucumber, and sprouts is a lovely way to highlight this delectable, vitamin-packed leafy green.
Spring Salad with Oranges & Bok Choy or Belgian Endive: This classy spring salad featuring tender greens and cucumber has a lively citrus flavor provided by fresh oranges and their juice. This is fantastic made with a spring orange like Ojai Pixie tangerines.
Simple Asian-Style Sesame Cucumber Salad:Sesame Cucumber Salad is a great accompaniment to stir-fries, noodle dishes, and other Asian-inspired meals.
Japanese-Style Cucumber and Wakame Salad: This traditional Japanese-style cucumber and wakame salad is a type of sunumono — vinegary cold dishes that add savor to the plate. Wakame, is one of the most widely used sea vegetables in Japanese cuisine, surpassed only by nori and kombu.
Cucumber and Kimchi Salad is a fantastic addition to the plate when served with Asian noodle dishes, stir-fries, rice dishes, and Korean specialties.
Creamy Cucumber Salad with Cauliflower and Corn: From Lavender and Macarons, a vibrant and delicious. So easy to make, you’ll love the creamy, herb-filled dressing that’s mayo and oil-free.
Pineapple Cucumber Salad: From Natalie’s Health, this refreshing Pineapple Cucumber Salad is ideal side that goes so well with any dinner or BBQ. It’s packed with vitamins and so much crunchiness. It’s all natural and super easy to make! Great for potluck, parties and picnics.
Cucumber Avocado Salad: From A Virtual Vegan, a simple, lemony, avocado-creamy, crunchy and fresh Cucumber Avocado Salad that’s really quick and easy to make!
Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Cashews: From Greedy Gourmet, a salad that preps quickly, and which can be an excellent option as a side dish or main for vegans or vegetarians! You’ll love the fresh taste and vibrant colors of this salad.
White Bean and Cucumber Salad: From Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen, a salad that’s a light, fresh, and wonderfully summery side dish. It’s a great addition to picnics, potlucks, and barbecues.
Shirazi Salad with Fresh Mint: From Know Your Produce, Persian Shirazi Salad typically has just cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh mint with parsley. It’s similar to Israeli Salad. This raw veggie salad is a great addition to your warm weather meals. It can be enjoyed on its own or with your favorite spreads and veggie dishes.
Nana’s Cucumber and Onion Salad: From Sustainable Cooks, this make-ahead salad is a summertime superstar. Simple and delicious, the fresh ingredients let the garden-fresh produce shine in this easy cucumber salad