Cucumber Ribbon Salad tosses fun ribbons of ripe cucumber and other vegetables with a flavorful fresh pesto dressing in a cool and crunchy summer salad. Thank you OXO for sponsoring this delicious recipe. All opinions are my own.
I swear that once summer hits, I crave two things: salad and ice cream. Since July is National Ice Cream month, I’m ferreting away my new ice cream recipes to share then. That leaves a couple of fab new salads and tasty sandwiches remaining for my picnic theme for June. When it comes to salad, I go for either elaborate chopped salads with a ton of “stuff” going on, or simply dressed salads with few ingredients. Basically, if I’m at home, I tend to serve simple salads like an egg-free caesar salad or fruit and greens salads like a strawberry mango salad with strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette. I order chopped salad when I go out because for as much as I love a ton of fresh ingredients in my salads, I’m not a fan of all the chopping.
I really like the trendy vegetable ribbons and spirals in a salad because I enjoy the crunch, as well as the visual appeal. Vegetable ribbons and spirals are just so dang pretty! That’s why I’m currently smitten with this Cucumber Ribbon Salad. Thin, crisp slices of cucumber, radishes, and red onion dressed in a fantastically fresh nut free pesto. More on the salad in a moment. First, let’s talk about how I achieved those gorgeous ribbons.
I consider myself to be fairly competent with a sharp knife, but slicing consistently thin ribbons with a knife is a skill that I’ve yet to master. And spirals? Forgetabboutit! Occasionally, I’ll run a ton of vegetables through my food processor if I’m making salads for an entire week. I like the ease and convenience of having an appliance to do all of the work, but for just one salad? That’s more dishes than I care to tackle for a single salad.
For years I have been told to get a mandoline slicer for the convenience, but I had a hard time justifying the cost for what I considered to be a uni-task appliance. Are you familiar with a mandoline slicer? Mandoline slicers have an incredibly sharp blade with which to slide vegetables over to slice them in uniform slices. Still I have purchased a few cheaper mandolines over the years. I don’t advise buying an object designed with a wicked sharp slicing edge on the cheap. Bad things can happen.
First, I tried a mandoline model that rested across a large bowl. Sounds good in theory, until realizing that slicing at a 90 degree angle doesn’t work well in practice. Next, I tried an hand held mandoline slicer that I could hold at any angle when slicing. The problem with the hand held model is keeping the slicing blade steady while applying the necessary pressure to the vegetable for the blade to slice it. Watery summer vegetables ended up with a mushy texture that was better suited for thickening a summer ratatouille vegetable stew than as clean slices on a salad plate.
Needless to say, both of those mandolines made their way to the donation box in a hurry. You get what you pay for, Friends. Lesson learned.
And yet, I didn’t give up on the idea of paper thin vegetable slices. I’m crazy like that when a culinary challenge gets under my skin. I quickly discovered that cutting of cucumbers into ribbons is a simple process with the right tool for the job. I prefer the OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer for thinly slicing vegetables. Amazon has mandoline slicers in a wide range of prices. I’m not too proud to admit that I spent more on the two disastrous slicers than for what the reasonably priced OXO Steel Chef’s Mandoline Slicer sells for on Amazon.
The OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer is more versatile than a uni-task appliance. It creates up to 21 different cuts with thickness settings in 0.5-mm intervals. It comes with interchangeable straight or wavy blades, and built-in julienne and French fry blades. Paper thin veggie slices for salads, refrigerator pickles, and oven baked chips are easy. Julienne vegetables for snacking or stir fries are equally fast and easy. You can even cut waffle fries, y’all! The OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer cuts so quickly and cleanly that mushy veggie slices in salads are a thing of the past. I’m seriously kicking myself for not investing in one sooner.
Speaking of salads, let’s get back to this Cucumber Ribbons Salad.
Cucumber Ribbon Salad tosses crisp ribbons of ripe cucumber, peppery radishes, and red onion with a flavorful fresh pesto dressing. The nut free pesto is made with fresh basil, refreshing mint, a zip of lemon, and a touch of “nuttiness” from peptitas! (Pepitas = pumpkin seed kernels). The recipe is just as lovely when made in zucchini in place of cucumbers. Remember that when the neighbors are leaving and abundance of home grown zucchini on your doorstep this summer! Cucumber Ribbon Salad (or zucchini!) is a cool and crunchy salad that is sure to be a summer staple.
Enjoy the ribbon salad fun this summer!
Yields 6 Servings
Cucumber Ribbon Salad tosses fun ribbons of ripe cucumber and other vegetables with a flavorful fresh pesto dressing in a cool and crunchy summer salad.
20 minPrep Time
20 minTotal Time
- 1 small head (3 C.) hearts of Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 English cucumbers
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 small radishes, shaved thin
- ¼ C. purple onion, shaved thin
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 Tbs. lightly salted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)
- 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ C. light olive oil
- ¼ C. herbed feta or goat cheese crumbles
- Rinse, dry, and chop the hearts of Romaine lettuce, placing in into a large bowl; set aside while preparing the rest of the salad.
- Trim the ends off of the English cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers in half widthwise. Using a mandolin set to 1/16-inch thickness, run the cucumbers lengthwise through the mandolin to slice them into long ribbons. Sprinkle the cucumber ribbons with kosher salt and place them into a colander. Let stand for 10 minutes to release and drain some of the water from the cucumbers.
- Shave the radishes and purple onion into very thin pieces on the mandolin set to 1/16-inch thickness. Add the shaved vegetables to the bowl of chopped lettuce before making the pesto dressing.
- Prepare the pesto by pulsing the basil, mint, garlic, and pumpkin seeds in a blender or food processor to mince. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice. With the blender or food processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the herb mixture to emulsify the pesto; briefly set aside.
- Add the cucumber ribbons to the bowl of vegetables. Pour the pesto over the salad and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle the salad with herbed feta or goat cheese. Serve immediately.
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