15 Refreshing Cucumber Recipes

person choosing cucumber at grocery store
person choosing cucumber at grocery store - Vgajic/Getty Images

Cucumbers are fairly ubiquitous but their range of applications remains limited for many people. The crunchy food is actually a fruit, though the culinary world primarily uses it as a vegetable. If the extent of your experimentation involves tossing a few slices into a leafy green salad or popping open a jar of pickles, it's about time to expand your repertoire. With more than 100 varieties of cucumbers, there are infinite ways to utilize the oblong vegetables in the kitchen.

We've collected 15 cucumber recipes from Tasting Table developers so you can incorporate the refreshing ingredient into new dishes. From spicy Asian salads to refreshingly cool cucumber cocktails, you'll be stepping into a whole different realm of possibilities with these creative preparations. While the flavor profiles vary from watery and mild to zesty and bold, these recipes all stand out for the refreshing quality cucumber imparts to every bit or sip. Read on for our favorite ways to use cucumber.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

Thai Smashed Cucumber Salad

Thai smashed cucumber salad bowl
Thai smashed cucumber salad bowl - Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

Instead of the usual disc shape we tend to find in salads, this recipe switches it up by smashing cucumber rings one by one. This opens up the fleshy membrane so that it can more readily soak up the flavorful dressing. Combine garlic, rice wine vinegar, sugar, chile oil, sesame oil, fish sauce, and ginger, then chill and marinate the cucumbers. When you're ready to serve this Thai salad, add fresh cilantro, scallions, lime zest, and lime juice for a zingy punch.

Recipe: Thai Smashed Cucumber Salad

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

cucumber sesame salad in bowl
cucumber sesame salad in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Use Persian cucumbers for this spicy Korean salad, and start by chopping them halfway through to create a spiral shape, while keeping the cucumber intact. Lightly pickle the vegetable in salt and vinegar, then top it with a dressing made by combining garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. This tasty salad highlights a spectrum of flavors, with salty, sour, spicy, and sweet notes. Serve it with an at-home Korean BBQ feast for a complete meal.

Recipe: Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Gin Gimlet

cucumber gimlet cocktail with shadow
cucumber gimlet cocktail with shadow - Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

Gin and cucumber are an excellent pairing, as the citrus and juniper notes in the liquor are pleasantly complemented by the crisp taste of cucumber. For the ultimate cocktail to brighten your day, try a cucumber gin gimlet. Muddle cucumber and simple syrup in a shaker to begin, then pour in the gin, lime juice, and ice, and shake the contents to blend. Strain the cocktail to eliminate any cucumber pulp and pour it into a coupe garnished with a thin cucumber slice.

Recipe: Cucumber Gin Gimlet

Refreshing Cucumber Sandwiches

crustless cucumber sandwiches
crustless cucumber sandwiches - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

If you're channeling British tea party vibes, you can't miss out on these crustless cucumber sandwiches. Combine chive-flavored cream cheese, mayo, fresh dill, chives, salt, and garlic granules until you have a smooth spread. Thinly slice an English cucumber and remove the crusts from sandwich bread to ensure a perfectly delicate bite. Spread the cream cheese over the bread and top it with a few slices of cucumber, then add the top slice of bread and a toothpick to keep your sandwich secured.

Recipe: Refreshing Cucumber Sandwiches

Dill Tuna Patties And Cucumber Cream Sauce

dill tuna patty cucumber sauce
dill tuna patty cucumber sauce - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

A great way to transform a few cans of tuna into a feast? Fish cakes. To make the patties, mix drained tuna, eggs, diced shallot, lemon zest, salt, pepper, mayo, mustard, dill, and breadcrumbs, and shape them into discs. Pan-fry the tuna patties and serve them with a creamy sauce. Whip it up by grating cucumber (make sure to squeeze out the excess water) and combining it with yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, and seasonings.

Recipe: Dill Tuna Patties and Cucumber Cream Sauce

Classic Tzatziki Sauce

tzatziki sauce in bowl
tzatziki sauce in bowl - Catherine Brookes/Tasting Table

Tzatziki harnesses the mild taste of cucumber to add thickness and a subtle sweet note to this classic sauce. Grate and drain a cucumber, then mix it thoroughly with Greek yogurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, finely chopped mint, and salt. Serve this tangy sauce with grilled lamb or chicken, spread it on a sandwich, or use it as a dip. Pair it with crudites, pita bread, or corn chips for a delicious snack packed with flavor.

Recipe: Classic Tzatziki Sauce

Green Gazpacho

green gazpacho in bowl
green gazpacho in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

No rule dictates that gazpacho must be bright red and made with tomatoes. This green gazpacho blends cucumbers, avocado, chiles, onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh dill, mint leaves, parsley, yogurt, salt, and pepper. The result is a decadently creamy cold soup that can be thickened with more yogurt or thinned out with water. Cucumber makes up the bulk of the soup, though thanks to the perfectly balanced flavors it doesn't overwhelm the taste. Serve it with crusty bread for an easy appetizer.

Recipe: Green Gazpacho

Classic Dill Pickles

dill pickles in jar
dill pickles in jar - Jaime Shelbert/Tasting Table

Dill pickles are a no-brainer when it comes to cucumber-based recipes. This version consists of a brine made by heating vinegar, salt, pickling spices, and sugar. Add quartered pickling cucumbers to a jar and pour the brine over top, along with dill fronds and thinly sliced garlic. Chill the jar briefly or for a few weeks so the cucumbers absorb loads of flavor. These crunchy dill pickles make a great snack to munch on or a tangy garnish for a burger or sandwich.

Recipe: Classic Dill Pickles

Israeli Couscous Salad

israeli couscous cucumber salad plate
israeli couscous cucumber salad plate - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

If you seek to add a new spin to a grain salad, try Israeli couscous. The little pearls deliver just the right amount of bite and texture to complement weightier ingredients. Start by boiling the couscous and roasting seasoned chickpeas until crispy. Slice cucumber, mint leaves, parsley, and white onion, and combine them with the cooked couscous and chickpeas. Toss the salad ingredients with a simple dressing made with lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Season and serve as a refreshing main or as part of a dinner spread.

Recipe: Israeli Couscous Salad

Herby Tabouli

herb tabouli in bowl
herb tabouli in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

This herby tabouli recipe is all about freshness in every bite. Start by cooking bulgur wheat and chopping parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, and mint. Crush garlic cloves and combine them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Assemble the tabouli by putting all of the prepped ingredients in a bowl and tossing them with the dressing. This herb-heavy salad pairs well with grilled meat or fish, making it an excellent candidate for a summer BBQ spread.

Recipe: Herby Tabouli

Refreshing Cucumber Kimchi Salad

cucumber kimchi salad in bowl
cucumber kimchi salad in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

This vibrant salad incorporates the tangy taste of kimchi without requiring weeks of fermentation. Cut cucumbers in half-moons, then mix the pieces with thinly sliced white cabbage, chopped scallions, minced garlic, chopped ginger, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, togarashi spice blend, and salt. To infuse the vegetables with maximum flavor, chill the salad for at least 12 hours before serving. This flavorful dish goes nicely as a refreshing side for plenty of protein mains.

Recipe: Refreshing Cucumber Kimchi Salad

Classic Bread And Butter Pickles

bread and butter pickles in jar
bread and butter pickles in jar - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Every pickle lover needs a jar of classic bread and butter pickles in their fridge. Start by thinly slicing cucumbers into discs, sprinkling them with salt, and draining the excess water. Combine them in a bowl with sliced sweet onion. Prepare the brining solution by heating white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric. Add the sliced cucumbers to clean jars, then pour the brine over top. Chill the pickles for a minimum of 24 hours before serving.

Recipe: Classic Bread and Butter Pickles

White Linen Cocktail

cocktail with cucumbers and flower
cocktail with cucumbers and flower - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

A classy white-linen cocktail is a refreshing option for summertime imbibing. Muddle cucumber slices and simple syrup in a shaker, then add gin, lime juice, elderflower liqueur, and ice. Shake well to properly combine the flavors and chill the liquid, then pour the mixture into glasses. Add soda water for a fizzy touch and garnish the glasses with lime and cucumber ribbons to bring out the notes in the cocktail. You'll want to savor this on a patio with salty snacks for the optimal experience.

Recipe: White Linen Cocktail

Vegan Cucumber And Avocado Rice Pilaf

cucumber avocado rice in bowl
cucumber avocado rice in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

This tasty vegan rice pilaf combines fresh ingredients for a starchy side dish loaded with nutrients. Saute garlic, onions, and basmati rice, then simmer the contents until the rice is tender. Prep a sauce by blending cucumber, avocado, salt, and pepper and combining it with the rice. Garnish the dish with chopped cucumber, avocado, and fresh cilantro leaves, then serve. This hearty pilaf brings a pop of green to your plate and pairs well with vegan proteins like tofu, or, alternatively, grilled fish.

Recipe: Vegan Cucumber and Avocado Rice Pilaf

Shirazi Salad

tomato cucumber salad in bowl
tomato cucumber salad in bowl - Kristen Carli/Tasting Table

An easy side salad like this one is ready in a jiffy with just a few steps of basic prep work. Dice Persian cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, and red onion. Add them to a bowl along with fresh chopped mint leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat them in the tangy dressing and serve this colorful salad with your main course. Pair it with a sandwich or boiled eggs for lunch, or spoon it onto your plate along with grilled chicken or a burger for a crunchy extra.

Recipe: Shirazi Salad

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