Summer is coming! Prepare for light cooking, eating in the backyard, and dreaming about the seaside. When I think of warm weather, cucumber salads are the first thing that comes to mind. Their freshness makes them a perfect summery dish.
Still, cucumber salad recipes have so much more to offer than just freshness. First of all, cukes, with their high content of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Not to mention they are low in fats and calories, which makes them a great addition to your weight loss diet (because I am sure you are trying to lose a few pounds before you get to the beach, right?)
Second, cucumber salads are so much fun. Did you know that there are five different methods of slicing cucumbers? Not to mention the numerous possible combinations with other ingredients like fruits, nuts, pasta, cheese, other vegetables…
What about toppings? The possibilities are countless –from the most basic vinegar to rich vinaigrettes, from yogurt to the most lavish options including mayonnaise, Italian, and Ranch dressings.
We suggest topping your cucumber salads with healthy ingredients in order to emphasize their flavor and boost their health benefits, without increasing the amount of fats and calories.
Apple Cider Vinegar Vinaigrettes
As simple and plain as it seems, vinegar adds just the perfect amount of flavor to your salad, even when it is just sprinkled over sliced cucumbers, combined with some olive oil and salt.
If you choose to make a vinaigrette use the healthiest vinegar option as a base – apple cider vinegar.
Organic, unrefined apple cider vinegar contains proteins, enzymes, and good bacteria that make it somewhat murky and a whole lotta healthy! It is known for helping lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes, as well as reducing the risk of a heart disease by lowering blood pressure. There is one more important upside – apple cider vinegar is also very efficient in facilitating weight loss!
Low-Fat Ranch Dressing
Whenever possible, opt for reduced-fat dressings. The word we want to concentrate on here is ‘reduced fat’, the preferred option, as opposed to ‘non-fat’. Choose reduced fat sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and/or mayonnaise as a base because the organism needs a small amount of fat in order to absorb the valuable nutrients from the cucumbers more efficiently.
Easy Yogurt-Based Dressing
Yogurt dressings are the lightest and freshest options for cucumber salad recipes! Just think of Greek tzatziki, which is a cucumber salad variation, and you’ll see what I mean.
Using reduced-fat yogurt as a base will bring essential minerals like calcium, plus proteins and probiotics to your salad. Combine yogurt with fresh herbs like mint, basil and/or dill.
Spices and Herbs
Cucumbers are quite bland in taste (to be honest), but that is not necessarily a downside. On the contrary, this gives you an opportunity to smother them in herbs and spices that will intensify your salad’s flavor! In addition, herbs (fresh and dried) and spices contain virtually no fat and calories but are rich in nutrients such as iron and vitamin C. Here are some suggestions:
Herbs: rosemary, mint, oregano, dill, basil, cilantro, thyme.
Spices: chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, ginger, turmeric.
Mix and match to find your favorite combination!