Friday Recipe Exchange: Cold Salads, Part Deux

tamara cucumber salad

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

It’s been over 100 degrees most of this week and when that happens, I want only two things: cold fruits and cold vegetables. Okay and maybe some ice cream, but we already did that post. So it seemed like a good time to revisit cold salads. Coleslaw and pasta were covered here and tonight will be about cucumbers and potato salads. I should think between all of those you’ll have plenty of choices for holiday cookouts this next week. Which reminds me, there will be no recipe exchange next week.

My dad is an avid gardener and until he catches on, I often plan my summer trip home in time to coincide with tomato, cucumber, and corn harvest. I always come home with a big bag of produce. My youngest brother is following in his footsteps, so my bag of goodies overfloweth. I’m not a bad gardener myself, but my current location has not proved productive. So I’ll take advantage where I can.

The abundance of cucumbers inspires my brother and his wife to makes jars and jars of pickles, but I’m not as ambitious. Instead, I like to make a variety of cucumber salads, three of which are tonight’s featured recipes.

To start off, let’s talk potato salads. I suspect there are as many recipes as their are families. My mom makes one I still cannot duplicate, but everyone wants her to bring to family gatherings. It’s got lots of mayo, onions and mustard in it. I make do with a different take on the salad with a lighter touch with my Italian Potato Salad (recipe here).

One of my favorite posts ever was when I asked everyone to send me their favorite Potato Salad Recipes and I received quite a few, those recipes are here. Talk about variety.

Moving into the cucumber section of the garden, JeffreyW makes Cucumber Kimchi (click here), not to be missed.

My family has a favorite (and pretty traditional) Cucumber and Tomato Salad (recipe here)

Now it’s your turn. What’s on your plate (figuratively and literally) for the mid-week holiday celebration? Cook-outs? Fireworks (a must for me)? Waterpark? What do you absolutely crave when the mercury rises to new heights? Hit the comments and share your recipes.

Now the featured recipes, three quick and easy cucumber salads:

Simple Cucumber Salad (pictured above)

I grabbed what looked good at the farmer’s market, you can change up the ingredients to your faves.

1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 English cucumber, washed and sliced thin
2 cucumbers, washed* and sliced thin (I did a little decorative peeling before I sliced it)
1 sweet red pepper, washed, sliced thin (or substitute orange or yellow)
3 tomatoes, washed and sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of dill
salt and pepper to taste
opt: garlic, basil, rosemary – one or more of this depending on your tastes

Add sliced onion and vinegar to a bowl and marinate onion for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the vegetables and toss gently with the onion slices (reserve vinegar). Mix together 3 tbsp (or more if desired) of the vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil and pour over vegetables. Add salt, pepper, dill and toss gently. Let rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This one is best if it’s served within an hour – the vegetables are still crisp and that enhances the fresh, light flavors of the dish.

*If it’s been waxed, you’ll probably want to peel it completely before slicing

Chipotle Lime Cucumber Salad

3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup Chipolte Lime Dressing (bottle or recipe below)
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

Mix together dressing and mayonnaise, add to sliced cucumber, toss and refrigerate. With this dish, the longer it has, the better the flavors blend. So at least an hour or more ahead of time. I made it for a bridal shower and actually made it the night before.

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced finely (start with one, add another as desired)
salt to taste

Mix ingredients together well. Goes great on salads, tacos and as a marinade, too.

Minted Cucumbers

Now for something completely different, these have a distinct Mediterranean feel.

2 English cucumbers, sliced or diced, don’t peel (no wax, thin skins)
2 mild red chilies, chopped
1 tsp dried mint, crushed (or 2 oz fresh leaves)
4 oz dates or figs, chopped
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 to 4 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
feta cheese as optional garnish

Mix vinegar with sugar and toss with remaining ingredients, salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with feta

45 replies
  1. 1

    Best cold salad is ham salad. Not exactly best for the diet, though.

  2. 2

    In between cooking and work this week, I managed to see Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. It did not disappoint. Amazing stuff considering it was filmed in 12 days.

    Also, I’m still trying to decide what I’m actually taking to the 4th of July cookout.

  3. 3
    delosgatos says:

    I don’t have the recipe I like with me, but Hawaiian macaroni salad Is fantastic picnic or summer cookout fare.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I like Romanian potato salad. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, olives, cukes, and then vinegar and oil, slat and pepper.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    Speaking of potato salad, a Southern Belle once told me that the secret ingredient in potato salad is gin.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: In the salad or in the Belle?

  7. 7

    Rain, wind and hail just dropped the temp from 101 to 79 in an hour. Yippee! Every window in the house is open.

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Given the Belle, could have been either or both.

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:

    Food has not been any fun for me so I have been avoiding these exchanges but I love Gazpacho so I had to share this one
    1 ½ – 2 pounds tomatoes
    Tomato juice
    1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
    1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 or 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 lime, juiced
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves

    peel the tomatoes (anybody need instructions? When its really hot & I don’t want to boil any water I use a peeler over a bowl to catch the juice if any), core and seed the tomatoes over a bowl to catch any juice. Put the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl and allow to drain. Press as much of the juice through as possible if you don;t have 1 cup add bottled tomato juice.

    Add the rest of the ingredience to the bowl of tomato juices and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of this mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and or overnight. You can chop the basil for garnish or if feeling reall fancy you can roll the leaves and chiffonade. You could also put a dollop of sour cream on top to if you want

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: Do you have her phone number?

  11. 11
  12. 12
    SIA says:

    @TaMara (BHF): OT, TaMara, thank you again for your suggestion on a latex mattress. I don’t think I have the pure latex type you told me about, but it’s a latex mattress sold by Amazon. I’m getting out of bed in the mornings and walking just like Lazarus or whoever that was! My back is doing much better. Thank you!

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: Okay, I deserved that.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    love this salad thread.

  15. 15
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I think I should go toward more vegetables, especially with my family history, but that’s too many tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. I can tolerate them now, but they just don’t taste very good to me. When something is bitter, I really taste it, and it can overwhelm the other tastes. It’s why I can’t drink bear.

  16. 16
    Big R says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I, too, avoid drinking bear.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I’d be most impressed if you could drink bear. You’ld think they’d be sweet though, after all that honey.

  18. 18
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @scav: Well, you know how bitter they can be: They really don’t like you drinking them. And if you keep trying, they just get pissy as well.

    Typing mistakes totally ruining my whine, which is obviously something else I can’t drink.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’ve posted this before, but I always get raves when I show up to a picnic with this Caesar Potato Salad.

    Also, too, Sweet Onion, Tomato and Corn Salad with Basil. Yum!

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Try yellow tomatoes. They are much sweeter and less acidy.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Try shopping your local farmers’ market rather than buying those veggies at the grocery store. Grocery store cucumbers are too bitter, so I’ll buy Persian cukes at the farmers’ market instead. I can’t stand bitter veggies either — nothing in the cruciferous veggie family (no broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Cabbage only if it’s cooked.)

  22. 22
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Oi(cucumber) Kimchi is something my wife makes. Everybody loves it. If she’s making it just for us or us and the kid, she’ll put some jalapeno in it for a kick. Usually her daughter will consume the first batch, so she has to make a second. She finds that pickle cucumbers are the best, I think she brines them for a bit. She chops them in slices, chip style.

  23. 23
    gbear says:

    Cold Pizza:

    Order large pizza. Eat half. Chill remaining half overnight. Serve for brunch or dinner the next day.

  24. 24
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The vegetable dish I have become known for is rather simple to make. I guess I should try to take a picture of it sometime. The size I give makes a good side with just about anything for 5 people with leftovers. I tend to have to make at least twice to three times as much.

    2 large bell peppers
    5-6 Regular size red skinned potatoes
    2 Zucchini
    2 or 3 yellow squash (match the volume of the zucchini)
    1 large onion
    12 or so cherry tomatoes
    Olive Oil
    Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning (Weber sells a good one)

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. You want to cut everything into byte size chunks. On the bell peppers, remove all the guts. On the tomatoes, cut each in half.
    3. In a large bowl, put them all in, put enough olive oil to cover all of the vegetables, and then put in enough seasoning to have a each piece lightly covered. In a 2.75 ounce container, I put about 1/5 of the container in the above.
    4. Place the vegetables on a large pan, spread out so that it’s flat.
    5. Put in the oven and cook until the potatoes are soft. This is generally about 50-60 minutes.

    They can also cooked on the grill, though I have noticed they tend to dry out, especially the onions.

    You can also add other vegetables. I have added asparagus at times.

    ETA: I have had to make this the the last four holidays and my oldest son’s graduation party at his request. That’s why I say I have been known for it.

  25. 25
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mnemosyne: Have you tried the Korean market? They have pretty good veggies and are cheaper than the “American Markets”. There’s HK Market on Pacific.

  26. 26
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @gbear: The first time I visited my wife’s family in Seoul, I really had a craving for pizza. So we went to a part of Seoul with American restaurants and I got a large pizza. Ate half and saved the rest for breakfast. Her family thought I was slightly nuts eating cold pizza.

  27. 27

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): You may be a super taster.

    I am…my palate is overwhelmed easily and some foods, like dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and cruciferous veggies are no go for me. Although, marinading onions and cruciferous veggies in a good vinegar softens the flavors for me. YMMV.

    But on the plus side, I can taste wonderful subtle flavors in things like coffee, chocolate, wine and ordinary foods.

    Still raining. 3200+ lightening strikes. Back out to the deck to enjoy.

  28. 28

    @SIA: Oh yay! I almost emailed you the other day to see if you’d made the leap. Glad it’s helping.

  29. 29
    Yatsuno says:

    When I think summer I think tzatziki. It can be used on a whole bunch of grilled meats plus it’s great as a dip by itself. Plus Greek.

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I went to a Vietnamese market last weekend. OMG the veggies were fantastic and cheap not to mention the best price on Asian eggplant I’ve seen anywhere!

  30. 30
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Yatsuno: The wife can’t understand why the “American” market is so expensive for produce.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:


    I haven’t tried it yet, but I probably should.

  32. 32

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Because ‘Americans’ don’t buy veggies, and we’re overly particular about what we do buy. Regular stores have a high loss rate, and they don’t have a lot of volume.

    Our local farmers market has some regular items, and it’s reversed there. The staples are really pricey but the veggies are cheap as hell.

  33. 33

    I had the yummiest cold green bean salad at a restaurant last week and I’ve been trying to recreate the recipe. Then tonight at a restaurant we saw cold green bean salad on the menu, as well. Ordered it .. not as good as last week’s, IMHO. But I’m thinking cold green bean salad is the thing.

    If anyone has a good recipe, please let me know. And if your recipe calls for canned green beans I will laugh at you.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    Gonna share a closely held secret for the very first time.

    Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad

    8 boiled potatoes peeled and diced
    1 stalk celery, diced
    2 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
    1 onion, minced
    1 tbl. minced parsley
    2 eggs, very well beaten
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup white vinegar, diluted with 1/2 cup cold water
    1/4 tsp. dry mustard (if using Chinese dry mustard, adjust amount down to compensate for heat)
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/3 tsp. pepper
    6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve bacon fat)

    Mix diced potatoes, celery. hard boiled eggs and onion.

    Beat eggs, then add the sugar, vinegar/water and spices. Mix very well.

    Pour egg mixture into hot bacon grease and stir constanctly until mixture thickens (about 8-10 minutes).

    Check for sweetness and sourness to taste (add more sugar or vinegar to suit*).

    Ditto for spices (if not enough bite, add more dry mustard before adjusting pepper).

    Pout thickened mixture over the potato mixture a nd mix lightly to coat.

    Cover and refrigerate for an hour, minimum, before serving.

    Optional: Sprinkle top lightly with paprika before serving

    *sweet/sour will intensify somewhat while final product is in fridge.

  35. 35
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @NotMax: That sounds like deutsche kartoffelsalat. I had a party at my high school german teacher’s house, it was a potluck. The lady across the street from us volunteered to make that for me to take. My german teacher loved it, too bad I wasn’t still a student, might have gotten a better grade.

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    @Southern Beale: My mother’s classic cold green bean salad:

    String the beans and poach in boiling water until they are tender (to your taste). Drain and while still hot dress with

    Red Wine
    Mustard (dried or dijon style)
    crushed garlic
    any herb you like
    olive oil
    black pepper

    If you dress them with this vinaigrette while its hot they absorb the flavours better. They will turn a darker, sadder, green but they will be delicious.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    We have been living on variations of this salad for half a year, since I got the cookbook “Plenty” from Ottolenghi:

    Eggplant/pomegranate with buttermilk dressing:

    2 large and long eggplants
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 1/2 tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
    Maldon sea salt and black pepper
    1 pomegranate
    1 tsp za’atar

    9 tbsp buttermilk
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
    1 small garlic clove, crushed
    Pinch of salt

    Read More

    We do it a little differently and our way is easier. Cut the eggplant into rounds or chunks and roast at a high heat with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I do it at 450 for about 20 minutes. Pry the slices off the pan and put on a large plate. Sprinkle with the Zaatar or the thyme mixture. Then dress with the dressing. If I don’t have real pomegranates I drizzle on some pomegranate mollasses at the end. Serve it room temperature. It will hold for hours if you do the eggplant early i the day and wait to do the buttermilk dressing until just before you serve it.

  38. 38
    becca says:

    My maternal grandmother was DIY all the way when it came to food. She raised it, picked it, milked it, churned it, canned it and butchered it.

    I have never been able to duplicate her wilted lettuce salad. The hot bacon dressing was the best. She used apple cider vinegar and sugar and onion and bacon fat like a maestro.

    Cucumbers and onion in cider vinegar was a regular on Mama’s table. I went all downtown and use balsamic and brown sugar in my cuke salad, but I still pay homage to my amazing grandmother.

    Anyone here want to wax poetic over fresh-churned butter?

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    I’m about to make my first ever batch of lime marmalade. I had it for the first time, in a tiny, crystallized, probably decades old jar at someone’s house a week ago and I am wild to try it myself. I have a nice little book that is everywhere right now that includes a recipe for slightly fermented home made butter which is basically the way they used to make it in Nepal when I lived there. You sour the cream and then churn it. Incredible.

  40. 40
    becca says:

    @aimai: what kind of milk for Nepalese butter?

    I’ve always wanted to try yak butter.

  41. 41
    Gindy51 says:

    We do the same cucumber salad as you but we do not add any dressings or toppings until it is served. That way the produce does not get mushy and every one can put their own topping on it. I like balsamic vinegar, my daughter loves pasta sauce, and my husband slathers his in salsa. Other times we will use bottled Amy’s dressings and always add feta cheese.

  42. 42
    aimai says:

    @becca: We had waterbuffallo. The milk is INCREDIBLE if it hasn’t been skimmed and the cream taken off. To die for. Or, a la Paula Deen, to die from I suppose.

  43. 43
    becca says:

    @aimai: sounds more fun when you say “yak butter”, though.

  44. 44
    Linnaeus says:

    I grew up eating a Polish cucumber salad called mizeria. It’s pretty simple:

    1 large cucumber with or without seeds, washed and trimmed
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 teaspoons white vinegar (optional)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

    Run a channel knife or fork down the length of the cucumbers to produce a pretty edge, and slice thinly. Place in a colander over a bowl to catch the juices and salt the cukes liberally. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

    In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Pat cucumbers dry and place in a medium bowl. Add the dressing and toss with the cucumber slices. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Chill and sprinkle with additional dill, if desired, before serving.

    Some people skip the vinegar and/or the dill, but I like both.

  45. 45

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