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Simplest Cucumber Salad & A Few Thoughts On Food

One of the most magical things about this time of year is the sheer beauty of colors & textures that erupt from the soil. I know I am not alone in revelling amidst the gorgeous greens and the pure, unadulterated lushness that reveals itself in the Pacific Northwest during these early summer months.

Whether it is food or flowers (or a glorious mixed bag of them all), it seems everywhere I look I see life sprouting up to say ‘hey!’ yet again for another short but spectacular season. I’ve stated before that I try whenever possible to buy local, and I frequent the farmers market here and there in addition to supporting my favourite local grocery stores (both are BC owned). It’s true that prices at the market can sometimes be high, but I can’t think of a better place to invest than in the future of our food systems as a whole. Given that fact though, I try to be sensible (as sensible as I can).

When eating a more plant-based diet, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need an (IMO) excessive amount of variety in one sitting. While I agree that variety is important, I hope I am not alone when I say there’s no need to go crazy overboard. Focus on the basics and cover your nutritional bases when shopping: a green vegetable, an orange vegetable, a grain, a protein. Planning meals around a few key ingredients that are seasonal (if possible), grown locally (when in season), and will be enjoyed in their entirety (read: no waste) is a great way to enjoy the bounty of our backyards without busting both our bank accounts & our brains with an overwhelming amount of choices.

Take this salad: one vegetable, a few herbs. All easy to grow. All relatively affordable. Easy to make, obscenely good for you, and remarkably delicious. We’ve resurrected this one a few times in our cooking classes, and every time it’s a huge hit. The vinaigrette here is (almost) as basic as breathing, and kids get the biggest kick ever of squeezing the lemons by hand.

I know it sounds simplistic, but I can’t help it, because it is (I find more and more that everything in life is). There are a million traps we can fall into or reasons why we think we can’t be the change we want to see in the world today. Just a small shift in perspective can make a huge difference, and not just to our own lives. That is truly what I love about connecting through food, there are just so many ways to make an impact.

I hope you’ll enjoy this simple salad as much as we do, with or without these friendly little chive blossoms — I couldn’t help but pick them when I walked by and saw their gorgeous little faces. Could you? 😉

Simplest Cucumber Salad:

(2) fresh cucumbers
up to (1/4) cup chopped fresh chives
up to (1/4) cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
(1/4) cup lemon vinaigrette
black pepper & salt to taste

Simplest Lemon Vinaigrette:

(1/4) cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
(1/2) cup olive or vegetable oil
(1 tbsp) sweetener or sugar
(1/2) tsp salt

Start by washing the cucumbers well and peeling them decoratively as desired. Slice all the cucumbers crosswise into slices 1⁄2 inch thick, or as thick or thin as you’d like! Add to a salad bowl and prepare the remaining ingredients. Chop the chives and parsley both fine using a chopping knife, taking care to use the knife safely. Add the herbs to the cucumbers and mix gently.

Next, prepare the vinaigrette. Get a clean jar with a lid (or a container with a lid) and measure (1/2) cup vegetable or olive oil into the jar. Juice the lemons and strain the seeds. Measure (1/4) cup of lemon juice into the jar and then add the sugar and salt. Now shake it up! (With the lid on of course!) Before serving, pour (1/4) cup of the dressing over the cucumber mixture and stir well with a spoon. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.

If chives are out of season where you live, simply substitute a couple of minced green onions in for the chives. You can (of course) add whatever vegetables you have on hand to this as well, and the dressing will go well with just about anything, cooked or raw. Kept in the fridge, this salad will keep for several days without a problem, though the acidity of the lemon will soften the texture of the cucumber some.

21 responses to “Simplest Cucumber Salad & A Few Thoughts On Food

  1. Shira, this looks delicious and, as always, the pictures are lovely. My favorite foods right now? Asparagus and I think that strawberries will be at the market Saturday!! Can’t wait for them and for raspberries. I’m making myself hungry!!


  2. I really like your points on thinking we need a huge variety and hence the potential for waste increases this time of year. It can be so hard to reign in purchases when suddenly all the produce we’ve missed comes back all at once. Thank you for the thoughtful reminder to buy what we need and keep things simple 🙂

    And this salad, while simple sounds just wonderful!

    1. Thanks Gabby! You are right about how we go crazy – I am always amazed at what I think we will eat vs. what we actually end up eating. It’s not actually all that much 🙂

  3. Beautiful simple salad- sometimes the simplest of ingredients speak for themselves, I have a few of those beautiful chive blossoms in the Garden. I am always amazed how things come to life this time of year- growing from a tiny seed into a huge lush plant with just a little soil, water & sun, which then provides us with amazing nourishing food! Sometimes it is hard for me to wrap my head around 🙂 – this time of year I LOVE fiddle heads & asparagus- they are the sure signs that summer is on its way!

    1. Beautiful thoughts Heather — as a gardener I love the way you write 🙂 I need to try fiddleheads again…would you believe I don’t think I ever developed at taste for them?

  4. my mom made a summer cucumber salad when we were growing up that had cucumbers, onions, and a mix of sour cream and vinegar as the dressing and it was SO GOOD. sometimes, i would just want to eat that as my dinner. my mom also would make us tomato sandwiches to go with it sometimes, too. toasted bread, sliced tomato, and mayo. thinking back, she was a pretty great influence for a plant based lifestyle…

    i love this version with all those fresh herbs and those beautiful chive flowers. and lemon vinaigrette is my favorite thing in the world.

    1. That salad sounds incredible Caitlin and a toasted tomato sandwich with garden tomatoes? there’s nothing like it! Your mom sounds like a fantastic simple cook! xx

  5. Gorgeous looking salad!! I do at times feel the need to have more more more in my meals, but have been finding that balance of eating just the right amount of veggies! My favorite food this time of year is watermelon, although I haven’t found any that is local yet.

    1. Agreed Brittany, it can be hard to buy just what we need! I am with you — I could eat watermelon all day everyday. So could the girls! We only get them from the BC interior at high summer season, I think they are tough to grow here?

  6. This looks delicious!! I would love to make this when I get home for the summer 🙂 I’m away for university living in an urban jungle so to speak so am looking forward to getting back to the east coast ahhh.

    I think my favorite seasonal food this time of the year has to be strawberries. Yum. The scent, the sight of them, the sweet taste 🙂


  7. The purple and green are lovely – one of my favorite color combinations. It goes without saying that your simple salad sounds (alliteration, anyone?) fresh and delicious!

  8. Guess what’s in the ‘fridge and garden right now? That looks delish, and with so many cucumbers and lemons around right now, this is the perfect salad recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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