Salad

60 Actually Exciting Recipes to Use Up All Those Summer Cucumbers

No bland ideas, here.

August  7, 2019

Come summer, there's no shortage of cucumbers. Which, at first, can be very exciting. (See: Smashed cucumbers! Crustless tea sandwiches! Grain bowls topped with quick pickles! Eating them plain with flaky salt!)

Until, suddenly, it's not. Which happens for me every year roughly around August 1, the convergence point of well-meaning friends and colleagues sharing their own cuke hauls, and my own overzealous stockpiling of summer produce. At which point my attitude shifts from "Would you look at all of these cucumbers?" to "Would you look at all of these cucumbers?" It's my personal Midsommar.

I start searching, feverishly, for all the ways to use them: Old standby salads, new entrée ideas, cocktails, as a hat (?). To save you the trouble, I've compiled my efforts here. Introducing: 60 ways to use up alllllll of those cucumbers.

Salads & Things


1. Smashed Cucumber Salad

This smashed cucumber salad's crunchy, tangy, perfectly salty-sweet, and full of little bits of things you're not going to want to stop eating (Asian pear, walnuts, radish slices, kiwi...).

2. Pasta Salad With Cucumbers, Olives & Feta

Pro tip: Call pre-dibs on any leftovers of this (cheesy!) punchy pasta salad.

3. Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Salad

A clean, green answer to "What's for dinner?" Especially when paired with a slice of grilled sourdough.

4. Cucumber Salad With Magic Spice Blend

Senior Editor Eric Kim's "magic spice blend," as well as a squeeze of lime juice, take cucumber to new heights.

5. Cucumber & Red Onion Salad

Don't skip Ali Stafford's prescribed "salting" step, here—it makes a world of difference in drawing out extra moisture, and helping to create a bright dressing.

6. Creamy Cucumber "Side"

In this dish, salted cucumber gets mixed up with Greek yogurt, dill, and Meyer lemon to create a creamy, cooling salad. This simple, chilled out side works seamlessly with salmon, lamb, or anything fresh off the grill.

7. Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad with Basil & Feta

Cucumber salad, meet cantaloupe. And fresh herbs. And cheese.

8. Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Spicy Cucumber Salad

Make way: Genius spicy cucumber salad, comin' through. Jalapeño, Thai dried chiles, and Szechuan peppercorns join together, cooled down by cilantro along (and the cucumbers themselves!).

9. White Bean with Cucumber & Sumac Salad

This hearty salad is just what we need in August, thanks to creamy white beans, crunchy cucumbers, and a citrusy kick from tangerines.

10. Smacked Cucumber

Feel free to make this smacked cucumber salad (with a sweet and tangy soy-balsamic dressing) ahead of time—it'll keep three days in the fridge.

11. Cucumber & Fennel Salad with a Chinese Vinaigrette

All of the crunch, right this way: sweet fennel, cucumbers, and a zingy dressing.

12. Seaweed Salad with Kale & Cucumber

Wakame seaweed, cucumber, and ribboned kale mingle in a salty-sweet vinaigrette to great effect.

13. Tomato, Cucumber & Fresh Herb Salad

This colorful update to a Caprese stars cukes, tomatoes (two types!), fresh mozz, and lots of herbs. It's a constant in our summer rotation.

14. Tomato, Cucumber, Corn & Herb Summer Salad

All the good stuff, in one bowl. According to recipe author Cristina Sciarra, it's "infinitely adaptable," too. "You can add radishes or white beans. Fold in almost-stale bread (I like homemade garlic croutons) for panzanella. Add avocado or a medley of your favorite summertime herbs." All great ideas.

15. Herbed Radish & Cucumber Relish

Meet your new favorite burger topping, this herby cucumber and radish number. (Or: Your new favorite thing to eat off of a spoon.)

16. Fattoush

Cucumbers' best friends? Sweet summer tomatoes and big planks of pita bread. Crunchy, lemony sumac and pomegranate syrup are in the friend group, too.

17. French Lentil, Kamut & Avocado Salad with Basil Dressing

Here's a satisfying grain salad with a zippy basil dressing, with plenty of julienned cucumber to give it crunch and coolness.

18. Gena Hamshaw's Vegan Deli Bowls

Smashed chickpeas take the place of that deli mystery "meat"—tuna? potato?—along with lots of salty, crunchy, pickled bits, and everyone wins.

19. Early Summer Panzanella

This one's called "The Greatest Salad of All Time" for a reason—it's full of seasonal vegetables and doused with a garlicky green dressing you (I) could basically drink straight.

20. Chopped Kitchen Sink Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Bottarga

An extra-green salad that's anything but boring. (See: labne. Scallions. Bottarga.)

21. Summer Melon Salad with Harissa, Feta & Mint

This one's a no-cook power player with a harissa-honey dressing, cooling mint, and crunchy slices of cucumber.

22. Gazpacho Panzanella

Picture everything good about gazpacho, dialed up a notch. This hearty salad has summer tomatoes, cucumbers, and a ton of crusty bread to soak up all the juices.

23. Avocado Toast Salad

If you liked the original, you'll love the sequel—bring on the ripe avocado; the seedy, nutty bread; and the slices of radish, cucumber, and onion.

24. Spring Radishes Salad

This is like the perfect potato salad, minus the potatoes—and plus cucumbers, radishes, and chunks of salty-tangy feta.

Soups


25. Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup with Mango Salsa

Summer, get ready for your perfect soup, with creamy avocado, herbal cucumber, scallions, and, oh, an incredible corn and mango salsa on top...

26. Yogurt Soup with Cucumbers & Walnuts (Tarator)

Garlic, walnuts, and country bread provide invisible depth to this cold, creamy cucumber-yogurt soup.

27. Chilled Cucumber Soup

If you can blend, you can make this dead-simple soup. And pro tip, according to recipe author A Pleasant Little Kitchen: "If the soup needs to be served immediately and there is no time to chill, add a few pieces of crushed ice" before you blend. Brilliant.

28. Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta & Mint

A food processor taps in to combine watermelon, vinegar-soaked cucumbers, shallots, and chiles. Top with feta and mint, and thank us later.

Noodles, Rice & Entrées


29. Soba Salad with Cucumbers, Soft Tofu & Quick Chile Oil

Here, we give you the ultimate summer soba salad, starring cucumber—and cucumber dressing. And chile oil.

30. Spicy Garlic Noodles with Crumbled Tofu & Cucumber Salad

Quick, spicy, satisfying noodles join forces with a cooling cucumber salad in this dish. The crumbled tofu makes them faintly reminiscent of Szechuan pork noodles, but we're guaranteeing you won't be miss the meat.

31. Kombucha-Marinated Steak With Smashed Cucumber Salad

Kombucha, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic come together for an unforgettable steak-and-cukes salad. Serve with plain white rice or rice noodles to give it even more staying power.

32. Salmon with Cucumbers

Perfectly cooked salmon with a simple cucumber slaw to accompany? We think yes. This one's excellent hot, cold, or anywhere in between.

33. Summer Veggie Sandwich

Get your "five a day" (and then some) all in one go, with lots of crunchy veg and a generous swipe of basil mayo. These hulking veggies sandwiches are next-level.

34. Hot Soba Noodle Soup with Salmon, Cucumber & Togarashi

Cucumbers add crunch to this hearty salmon and noodle soup. The beauty here lies in its simplicity and riffability: With a flavorful broth, plain cooked soba noodles and salmon, and lots of crunchy raw veg, you can customize it any which way.

35. Jasper White’s World-Famous Lobster Rolls

The secret ingredient for crunch in these Genius lobster rolls? You guessed it.

36. Padma Lakshmi’s Yogurt Rice

Yogurt, rice, lentils, cukes, and spices make for a meal that's equal parts simple and cozy. It's summer comfort food at its finest, and couldn't be lower-maintenance.

37. Crispy Chickpea Waffles With Herby Israeli Salad & Harissa Tahini Sauce

A chunky chickpea batter griddled into a waffle becomes savory take on breakfast-for-dinner. Crispy edges are non-negotiable—same goes for the sweet and crunchy tomato–cucumber salad on top.

38. Grilled Avocado Halves with Cumin-Spiced Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

This dish is everything great about summer: A grilled avocado, stuffed with all the grains and vegetables fit to stuff.

39. Banh Mi Soft Tacos

A riff on Vietnamese banh mi, but in taco form, filled with chicken thighs, crunchy pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.

40. Avocado Toast Sandwich

Your favorite breakfast (times two!), plus fresh mozzarella, tomatillos, and a generous scoop of pesto. A few thin rounds of cucumber add freshness and a bit of much-needed crunch.

41. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

This salad wants you to riff and riff, using whatever vegetables and meats you have in the fridge. Delicate rice noodles and lots of fresh herbs are a must, though.

42. Indian Club Sandwich

A crunchier, spicier, cheesy take on a club sandwich, from Mumbai. Since the sandwich is griddled, too, it's got a great mix of hot and cold, melty and crisp-crunchy.

43. Mokbar's Chilled Soybean Noodles

These noodles require just a few (vegan!) ingredients—soybeans, sesame seeds, tahini, and noodles, along with lots of fresh veggies for garnish—and make for the perfect cooling, summer lunch.


44. Momofuku's Pork Buns

There's a reason these buns have gained something of a cult following over the years—they're perfect. In them, quick-pickled cucumbers top crisped pork belly and hoisin in homemade steamed buns.

45. Summer Vegetable & Glass Noodle Salad

Lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and chile bring noodles, chicken, cucumber, and more to life in this summery noodle dish.

46. Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls (Gỏi Cuốn)

Vietnamese spring rolls are refreshing, endlessly customizable, and dipping sauce–adjacent. This version uses pork, shrimp, and lots of fresh vegetables and herbs to give it heft and bite.

47. Tofu Bánh Mì

Fried tofu and crunchy vegetables make for especially delicious bánh mì. A swipe of mayonnaise on a crusty baguette creates the perfect bed for all the fixings.

48. Sichuan Mouth-Numbing Cold Noodles

"My grandma is from the Sichuan (Szechuan) province in China, and because of that, I've always claimed that spicy food is as normal to me as bread," writes recipe creator Betty. "This is one of my favorite dishes for the summertime...it's cold, it's yummy, and it satisfies my spicy cravings."

49. Chicken & Salad, Milanese-Style

Meet the chicken milanese Dorie Greenspan dreamed up, to evoke a restaurant favorite. It's covered in a crunchy cucumber–herb salad to lighten and brighten the breaded chicken cutlet.

Pickles


50. Quick Cucumber & Shiso Pickles

Summertime quick pickles, to the rescue! (Shiso, you're invited. You too, mirin.)

51. Bread & Butter Pickles

A bright, crisp take on the store-bought stuff. Garlic, turmeric, and celery and mustard seeds give these a spicy, crunchy lift.

52. Simple Pickled Slaw

Pickles in an hour? Sign us right up. You can use whatever hardy vegetables you like, and the brine couldn't be easier to stir together.

53. Lacto-Fermented Pickles with Garlic Scapes

Don't try saying this recipe names five times fast—just make it while you can still find garlic scapes at the farmer's market.

Beverages


54. Cucumber-Fennel Fizz

An excellent warm-weather fizz, with or without gin. Fennel and cucumber give it a savory, sweet, and refreshing burst of flavor.

55. Rosé Sangria with White Peaches & Cucumber

Cukes and sweet white peaches make the perfect garnish for rosé sangria, and that's a fact.

56. Cucumber Agua Fresca

Extra-special touches in this juicy, thirst-quenching agua fresca include cucumber-infused ice, as well as thinly sliced citrus.

57. Hothouse Cooler

Margaritas get a face-lift, thanks to sweet, tender hothouse cucumbers and pleasantly tart grapefruit.

58. Pimm's Cup

Refreshing, summery, and ready for you to cheers with it. A cucumber garnish makes this drink.

59. Watermelon, Mint & Cider Vinegar Tonic

This cooler is equal parts sweet and sour, soothing and shocking, thanks to tart cider vinegar and a whole lot of fruit, cukes, and herbs.

60. SM Jenkins Cocktail

Filled with curls of cucumber and a hefty pour of gin, this not-too-sweet cocktail is your service and ready for some cheers-ing, all summer long.

What's your go-to recipe for using up cucumbers? Let us know in the comments!

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner.

1 Comment

emgoh August 7, 2019
I see so many delicious recipes for "using up" oodles of cucumbers and zucchinis and I am so jealous of those who are overloaded with them! I'm an apartment dweller and end up with the organic market options which are a bit $$$ and small. I need to get friendly with the local backyard growers in my area.... ;)