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Meatless Monday - A Summer Garden Salad

Cucumber Harvest This weekend’s cucumber haul from the neighbor had me creating yet another recipe. This was a favorite from my Grandmother and something we always enjoyed with the summer harvest of cucumbers and tomatoes. It was so simple, but...

Cucumber Harvest
Cucumber Harvest

This weekend’s cucumber haul from the neighbor had me creating yet another recipe. This was a favorite from my Grandmother and something we always enjoyed with the summer harvest of cucumbers and tomatoes. It was so simple, but I think it is the simplicity that makes it so good.   It is three simple ingredients and then a rich balsamic or red wine vinegar dressing. I always remember making this in the morning, after the harvest, and then chilling this for a dinner side dish.

When my neighbor brought over these beautiful small cucumbers, I could hardly wait to create this dish. What we know as normal cucumbers in the stores are nowhere near as tasty as these smaller versions. Since we always eat with our eyes, I remember the “forking” technique to soften the skin and create a better presentation. See the pictures below for yourself. As a note, I will always peel the waxy cucumber that we find in the grocery and will often also remove the seeds. An English Cucumber, one of my favorites if I do not have access to these garden varieties, can be “forked” and added to this recipe.

“Forked” Cucumber
“Forked” Cucumber

Summer Harvest Vegetable Salad of Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Onions

Vegetable Salad of Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Onions
Final Garden Salad made out of  cucumbers, tomatoes and onion

Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers- very small cucumbers were reserved for this dish and were rarely peeled, but they were often “forked”. Note the description above.  I used five small cucs.
  • Tomatoes – whatever was just off the vine, red or yellow any variety worked.  I used three medium tomatoes from the garden.
  • Onion, preferably a sweet or red onion thinly sliced half-moons. A medium onion would suffice and she always sliced these thin and they wilted within the salad as the day progressed.

Dressing:

Again, we would dress these veggies and then park this dish in the fridge until dinner.

Cut cucumbers - "we eat with our eyes"
Cut cucumbers - "we eat with our eyes"

If there were no tomatoes, and no fresh beets, my Grandmother would drain a can of beets for this salad.   This was one of the few canned vegetables you could always find at her house. She loved her beets and had a special pot with a most wonderful permanent stain to boil these globes. If only she knew of our new secrets of roasting beets for even more flavors.

Another treat I remember, if a beef roast was served for dinner, Grams would cut up any left overs and add to this salad for yet another version. If she was making this for herself, she would add some red-pepper flakes and enjoy on Day #2. In our youth, we did not like the spice that she did.  Her version of this salad reminds me of the  Thai Beef Salad we enjoyed last evening.

I enjoyed the first bowl of this  Summer Harvest solo, but the second serving was over my usual kale salad. Both ways it was a wonderful walk down memory lane that Grams would have enjoyed.