My Dad walked into the house (remember, we’re living together while their house is under construction) with a bunch of cucumbers in one arm and a handful of onions in the other. He’d picked both from the garden just minutes before. As soon as he stepped inside, he looked at us and exclaimed, “Cucumbers and onions!” No, he wasn’t being Captain Obvious, he was making a request. He was asking we have this simple cucumber and onion salad that has been a staple in our family for years.
Being the remarkably inflexible person I am, I pretty much ignored his request because that salad just simply didn’t fit with the menu I’d already planned for the week. Side note: having a huge garden with things being harvested all the time is hard for menu planning. But my stubbornness waned as the days went by and those beautiful, green cucumbers started whispering to me from the crisper drawer.
I finally caved, adjusted my plan and added cucumbers and onions to the menu for our Canada Day celebration. Man, sometimes my stubbornness really screws me, because I totally forgot how delicious cucumbers and onions are! I was kicking myself for waiting so long to make them. Making this also meant I got to go pick an onion. Which is always fun.
This concoction is actually painfully simple. Which I personally think is the mark of a really good seasonal recipe. The onions and cucumbers are so fresh, sweet and delicious, you really want them to shine through. And the dill yogurt sauce lets that happen. No muss, no fuss, just a quick and easy summer side dish. If you are looking for a last-minute recipe to go alongside your 4th of July meal, this is the one for you! Chances are, you already have everything you need to make it in your kitchen.
Let’s talk about the cucumber slices. You may notice that they have a neato little pattern in the peel. To get that pattern, all you have to do is run along the peel of a cuke with a fork before slicing. I don’t think there is really any reason to do this other than it looks cool. I could make up something about how the grooves let the dressing soak in the cuke slices, but I really doubt that’s true. It’s just pretty, so I do it. That and it’s the way my Mama does it. And we never question Mama.
Back in the day (read: when I was growing up) we used sour cream as the base for the dressing. It added a nice, tangy zing to the salad that is hard to replicate. Now-a-days, we’ve put a halt on the sour cream and started using plain Greek yogurt. It isn’t quite the same, but the calorie savings and protein boost are totally worth to me. In my book, smothering fresh veggies in sour cream pretty much negates the purpose of eating them in the first place, but pairing them with a healthful, complementary yogurt sauce makes this a clean dish that anyone can enjoy.
Simple Cucumber and Onion Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Makes: 4 large servings
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Using a fork, scrape down the sides of each cucumber to make grooves. Slice into thin rounds.
- Mix cucumber slices and onion slices together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Toss to coat.
- Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve cold.