A No-Fuss, Spicy Cucumber & Fennel Salad To Help You Escape Food Comas

September  8, 2017

There are times—usually after beach vacations, holidays, or dessert cookbook photoshoots—when my body feels like a slow-moving mass. I recoil at the sight of chewy cookies, frosty milkshakes, or crispy fries. A sort of primal urge drives me to the produce section of my grocery store in search of any and all fresh fruits and vegetables.

And what is more refreshing than a cucumber? It’s 96 percent water and chances are that it's currently flooding a farmers market near you.

Inspired by the same nutritional thirst, longtime contributor Beverly Scofield (Bevi) created a spicy, crunchy, and invigorating cucumber and fennel salad.

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“My business colleague came home from a trip to China and told me the only fresh vegetables she had were cucumbers prepared in a vinaigrette that she guessed had rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and some spicy heat,” she writes.

Both refreshing and portable! Photo by Bobbi Lin

Scofield thought raw fennel would add even more crunch to fresh cucumbers, and experimented with the vinaigrette until she found suitable spiciness.

“Sautéing the crushed red pepper in the sesame oil makes a major difference,” she says.

While Scofield used Persian cucumbers, you can use any other type of garden cuke, if necessary. Also, if you aren’t a fan of fennel, Scofield recommends replacing with another crunchy vegetable, like celery.

One of the best things about this salad is how quickly it comes together, making it a perfect last-minute side for a dinner party or not-sad desk lunch. Plus, its hardy cucumber and fennel-base is both portable and refreshing (a potluck superstar if we ever saw one).

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

1 Comment

suziqcu September 8, 2017
I want to make but can't use sugar at this time (Whole 30) I suppose as in any vinaigrette , just omit, but I was wondering if anyone had tried this?