In Season: Cucumbers

Cool recipes featuring the crisp, low-cal summer veggie.

From the WebMD Archives

Cucumbers ripen on the vine just as the mercury begins to climb.

"One of the main reasons I encourage people to choose cucumbers, especially in the summer, is their water content," says Chrissy Wellington-Garner, LDN, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch resort and spa in Lenox, MA.

It's no substitute for a glass of water, but a crisp cucumber is still "one of the most hydrating foods out there," she says. A half cup of fresh cucumber has just 8 calories and a modest dose of immune-building vitamin C. Cucumbers also contain plant chemicals called lignans and cucurbitacins. Those may reduce cancer and heart disease risk, research suggests.

Wellington-Garner recommends that you blend cucumber with fresh cantaloupe for an antioxidant-rich smoothie. Or infuse chilled water with cucumber and lemon slices for an appealing thirst-quencher.

Fish Tale

These sandwiches make a lovely lunch. To punch up the flavor, try jarred horse­radish sauce or wasabi paste in place of mayonnaise. If you need to restrict how much sodium you eat, use baked or poached salmon instead of smoked salmon.

Cucumber-Salmon Open-Faced Sandwiches

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

4 hard-boiled eggs

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp light mayonnaise

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

(plus more for garnish)

dash kosher salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

6 slices rye, pumpernickel, or whole-grain bread

1/2 bunch watercress, washed, with stems removed

6 (2-oz) slices smoked salmon

1 English cucumber, sliced

1 tbsp fresh lemon zest

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, dill, salt, and pepper and mash to combine.

2. Arrange six slices of bread on work surface. Spread egg salad mixture on each slice. Top with watercress, salmon, and cucumber slices. Garnish each open-faced sandwich with lemon zest and fresh dill sprigs. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 276 calories, 21 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 184 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 554 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 37%

Refresher Course

This cool vegetarian soup gives you delicious relief on a steamy summer day. Try it for lunch with a crusty whole wheat roll or as a starter for dinner. Peel and chop the avocado just before serving to prevent browning.

Continued

Creamy Cucumber Soup With Avocado

Makes 4–6 servings

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, seeded and chopped

2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (plus a few sprigs for garnish)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

White pepper to taste

2 scallions, chopped

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (prepare just before serving)

Directions

1. Place cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

2. Refrigerate 3–4 hours. Spoon soup into chilled bowls. Garnish with scallions, a drizzle of olive oil, avocado, and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 4 servings): 194 calories, 14 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 4 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 355 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%

WebMD Magazine - Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on May 21, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

Chrissy Wellington-Garner, CNS, LDN, nutritionist at Canyon Ranch resort and spa in Lenox, MA.

United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database: “Cucumber with peel, raw.”

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service: “Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables.”

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