I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who grows her own food. Before I had a backyard, I would buy herb seeds with the hopes of creating a little garden on my kitchen windowsill. The little seedlings rarely went anywhere, so I graduated to buying herb plants already in progress at the grocery store. Somehow, I managed to kill each and every one of them.
When Dennis and I bought a house with a good-sized yard, I had visions of turning half of it into a vegetable garden. It seemed like a lot of work, and I wasn’t exactly sure where to put it. And insects and I don’t get along. At all.
Since digging in the insect-riddled backyard didn’t seem like a good idea, I thought I’d try my hand at container gardening. After a trip to the garden store, my front porch was lined with colorful pots filled with the promise of peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and zucchini. Despite my diligence, the plants didn’t do very well, and I finally came to the realization that I don’t have green thumbs. (Which may surprise people, because my home is full of plants that are actually thriving.)
So I have to settle for vicarious gardening in the form of receiving home-grown produce from friends who do have green thumbs. This really isn’t a problem though. Who wouldn’t mind the gift of fresh produce? The only work involved in this kind of gardening is cooking!
Dennis recently came home from work with a bag of basil and a few silver slicer cucumbers. They were a gift from fellow vegan Liz, who is married to his coworker Anthony. The basil immediately found its way into a batch of pesto. The cucumbers were destined for salad.
If you Google “white cucumbers,” you will find lots of info telling you not to eat them. These cucumbers are meant to be white though, and they’re perfectly fine to eat. Silver slicer cucumbers are mild and juicy, and their skin isn’t as thick as the green varieties.
My initial instinct was to just slice one up and toss into my usually large lunch salad, but as I was about to cut into one, I realized it was too unusual looking to not photograph first. And then photographing it turned into creating a salad around it. And thus, this cucumber salad recipe was born.
Cucumber salad is typically made with red onions and dill. I’ve changed the dill to chives in my recipe, because Dennis doesn’t like dill. (Which I think is nuts, because it’s delicious.) And I’ve used scallions instead of red onions, because neither one of us like raw onions. (At least we agree on that!) I’ve added a pinch of mustard, because I like the tang it provides. I also threw in some white beans for a little extra oomph and texture.
This salad makes a great side dish for a veggie burger or sandwich. It’s also a terrific appetizer. You can serve it as is on small plates or you can chop the cucumber into smaller pieces and serve on top of slices of crusty bread.
White Bean and Cucumber Salad
- 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup white wine or Champaign vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 cup cooked white beans (such as cannellini or navy beans)
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle them with the salt. Let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the cucumbers are draining, whisk together the vinegar, chives, garlic, mustard, and pepper.
Place the cucumbers in a large bowl along with the scallions and beans. Pour on the dressing and toss to coat. Gently fold in the parsley.
Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving, to allow all of the flavors to combine.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and more black pepper before serving, if that’s your thing.