A vegan cucumber salad isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but classic recipes are classic for a reason! I do happen to be particularly fond of this version, because it’s both refreshing and filling at the same time. Chickpeas have a slightly briny undertone that really sings when combined with dill.
To bring all of these fresh, summer flavors together we need a killer dressing. I used a silky vegan “mayonnaise” made from cashews, pine nuts, a touch of brown rice syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Combined with a pureed cucumber to keep it light, and seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper, it lets the flavors of the salad shine.
I’m not trying to make any claims that this is a dead ringer for real mayonnaise made out of eggs. But the reason I liked mayo in the first place was because it was creamy, tangy, and just a little sweet – and so is this vegan version. Plus, with this totally plant-strong recipe, we get to enjoy healthy, whole fats. It’s a win-win!
In addition to the fresh dill used in this salad (I admit the cucumbers were an impulse buy), we got the following lovely produce in our CSA share this week:
Broccoli (with greens)
Beets (with greens)
Kohlrabi (with greens)
Sugar snap peas
I have some fun ideas for the sugar snap peas and zucchini in particular, so hopefully I will be able to share them later this week if lighting conditions will be so kind to me. I’m trying to post CSA recipes pretty shortly after making them while the produce in question is still at the height of its harvest. But we tend to have evening thunderstorms most days during the summer, so it’s all a balancing act with the cooking and photography.
Luckily, this vegan cucumber salad is a very fast and easy meal that I was able to whip up in just a few minutes after work yesterday, before the clouds rolled in! Soaking the nuts for the dressing, and salting and draining the cucumbers overnight are the only steps that really take time.
One last thing about cukes! Occasionally, especially from organic farms, you end up with a bitter one (I got a couple, unfortunately). The bitterness is pretty unpleasant, and tends to be concentrated toward the ends. Sometimes you can get away with just tossing the end bits. If not, then you should be able to eliminate the bitter flavor by peeling the whole thing. Peel more deeply at the ends, enough to remove the peel but also the greener parts of the flesh. If none of that works (which is truly rare), slice it up and soak it in salt and vinegar as a last cucumber rescue effort. (Source: The Augusta Chronicle)
- 2 tb. raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 2 tb. toasted pine nuts, soaked overnight (or raw to keep salad raw)
- 1/2 tb. brown rice syrup (see notes for substitutions)
- 1 and 1/2 tb. fresh lemon juice
- 1 small cucumber, peeled
- pinches of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tsp. water (or as needed to blend)
- 4 and 1/2 c. sliced cucumber (for me this was about 4 medium-sized cucumbers)
- sea salt
- 2 c. cooked chickpeas (1 can), rinsed, drained and patted dry (to keep salad raw, use sprouted chickpeas or omit)
- 1/4 c. chopped red onion (see notes)
- 1/4 c. loosely packed chopped fresh dill, & more to taste
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- smoked paprika, to finish
- Place the cucumbers in a colander and toss with salt. Let them drain, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for at least half an hour. For optimal results you can even do this in the fridge overnight.
- Rinse the salt off of the cucumbers and dry them by thoroughly patting them down, or spinning them in your salad spinner.
- If you forgot to soak the cashews and pine nuts overnight, add them to a microwave-safe bowl with water and microwave for 60 seconds, then let them sit in the hot water for about 10 minutes. If you don't use a microwave, you can pour near-boiling water onto them and soak for 10 minutes.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides. Add only enough water to blend everything smoothly. If you have a high-speed blender you may not need any. Adjust seasoning and sweetness to taste.
- Combine the cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, and dill in a bowl. Fold in the cashew-pine nut "mayonnaise". Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper/additional dill as needed.
- Serve cold.
To substitute for the brown rice syrup, use agave nectar or sugar. Start with 1 tsp since brown rice syrup is not as sweet, and adjust to taste.
Shared on Virtual Vegan Potluck.