Cucumber-Onion Salad Encore

Cucumber-Onion Salad Encore

This recipe for cucumber-onion salad was passed down from Grandma to Mom to me and my siblings. It's easy, inexpensive, non-dairy, healthy, and keeps well.Thanks to our weekly CSA share, the vegetable bin is overflowing with cucumbers. So cucumber-onion salad is gracing our table almost daily.  Because today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by not experimenting with a new recipe, I’m rerunning this one that was first featured on Down the Gravel Road in July of 2012. It’s easy, it’s tasty, it’s non-dairy, it’s low-cal, and the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. No wonder this recipe has been consistently discovered and repinned on Pinterest since the day it first appeared there.

Cucumber-Onion Salad

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced into thin rings*
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Place vegetables in a small serving bowl. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well and pour over vegetables so they are completely covered with liquid. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad can be stored for several days or a week in the fridge.

I try to make it at least 8 hours before serving so the flavors can meld and the vinegar has time to pickle the vegetables a little. Also, more cukes and onions into the brine after the original veggies are gone. I usually do that once before discarding the brine and making a completely new batch.

*I used red onions, which is why the salad looks so pretty in the picture, but any type of onion is fine.


Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad


My apologies to those of you who were looking forward to the blueberry version of last week’s dairy-free lemon zucchini bread. Let’s just say that my first attempt at the new version revealed a few kinks to iron out. Hopefully, the dekinking will take place later this week, and the recipe will post next Wednesday.

Today’s recipe for summer pesto pasta salad was this week’s attempt at cleaning out the vegetable drawer and was much more successful than the blueberry experiment. It’s one of those recipes that tastes better the second day. Thankfully, it makes a generous amount of salad, so the man of steel and I didn’t have to fight over who got the leftovers.

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
2 small or 1 grilled chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup oven-dried tomatoes*
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced sweet peppers
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/3 cup cilantro pesto

Prepare the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Put in a large bowl.

Add grilled chicken and vegetables. Mix well.

Heat cilantro pesto in microwave for about 15 seconds. Stir it with a fork until it is smooth and not lumpy so it will spread more easily. Pour over other ingredients and stir until the pasta, chicken, and vegetables are evenly coated. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

*Slice 3 cups of grape tomatoes in half and cherry tomatoes into quarters. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pour onto a large cookie sheet. Make sure all tomato pieces are skin side down. Slip into a 225° oven for 1 or 2 hours, until the pieces shrink by about 2/3. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate.

Down the Gravel Road’s Top Ten Summer Recipes

Down the Gravel Road’s Top Ten Summer Recipes


Summer in Iowa and the eatin’ is tasty! Gardens are overflowing with produce, and in honor of this bounteous time of year, here this year’s top ten favorite recipes that feature fresh herbs, fruits and veggies. Enjoy!

10.   In the spirit of the “Life is short so eat dessert first” school of thought, I’m kicking things off with the recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pie.

teriyaki marinate
9.    Any meat marinated in this teriyaki sauce and stir fried with fresh garden veggies will be a summer time hit.

kale and sausage tart
8.   I found this kale and sausage tart recipe late last summer, and it was an instant hit.

turkey pesto sandwich
7.   The man of steel loves this grilled turkey pesto sandwich, made with basil pesto (see #5). He’s glad that this summer food is good any time of year, since pesto is easy to freeze and thaw.

6.   Tomato season is just beginning. Once it’s in full swing, this fresh summer salsa makes short work of extra tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

5.   Non-dairy basil pesto. Spread it on pizza and sandwiches or toss it with pasta. It freezes beautifully, too!

garden lettuce
4.   No summer recipe list is complete without Grandma Fern’s wilted lettuce. It’s delicious and uses massive amounts of garden lettuce and spinach, too.

3.   This absolutely delicious grilled shrimp salad is a summer staple at our house. We feel so virtuous eating it because it’s low-cal and very healthy.

cilantro-peanut pesto
2.   Peanut-cilantro pesto vaulted near the top of our summer favorites list about 5 seconds after the man of steel and I tasted it. We like it on crackers, sandwiches, and tossed with pasta. Divine!

fresh peach pie
1.   And finally, the top summer recipe on our little gravel road is fresh peach pie. In a week or two, when the Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri peaches hit the grocery stores, this pie will grace every potluck or food-related social event we attend.

What’s your favorite summer recipe? Leave a link to it in the comment box or share the recipe. Happy eating!