Cool as a Cucumber!

Crispy, crunchy, and refreshing, cucumbers are a delicious kitchen staple no matter how you eat them. Although cucumbers are typically considered a vegetable, technically they are a fruit, belonging to the same family as melons and pumpkins. One cup of raw, sliced cucumbers contains just 16 calories and are virtually fat and sodium free. Cucumbers are about 95% water, making them a great food choice for hydration.

While there are 100’s of varieties of cucumbers, there are 2 main types: slicing and pickling. 

  • American and English cucumbers are both varieties of the slicing cucumber. 
  • American cucumbers are the variety you most likely see in the produce department labeled “cucumber.” The skin and the seeds of the American cucumber are edible but may contribute to a bitter flavor profile. This can easily be remedied by peeling the skin and scooping out the seeds.
  • English cucumbers are also known as hothouse, burpless, seedless, or European cucumbers. English cucumbers are typically wrapped in plastic to protect their delicate, thin skin. Because English cucumbers do not have seeds and the skin is so thin, the flavor profile of an English cucumber is much sweeter. 
  • Pickling cucumbers have a firm texture, are shorter in length and wider around than a slicing cucumber. The skin is thin, often bumpy, and lighter in color with dark green vertical stripes that are meant to be aesthetically pleasing once pickled. 

Enjoy a cucumber today…

  • Bump up your intake of veggies during the day by adding finely diced, peeled, and seeded cucumber to chicken, shrimp or tuna salad.
  • Make this cool, refreshing Dilled Cucumber Salad, at your next BBQ. This low-carb variation of a traditional, high-sugar, marinated cucumber salad recipe is definitely a keeper.
  • This Asian Cucumber Salad makes a light side dish for your next fish, meat or poultry dinner. Garlic, ginger, and sesame add loads of flavor without adding fat and calories.
  • Whether you’re looking for a spa drink or a drink recipe for a brunch, this Cucumber Cooler will do the trick. A hint of rosemary sparks this cucumber spa drink with delicious flavor.
  • Make these Easy 5-minute refrigerator pickles: Layer about 12 ounces of sliced pickling cucumbers into a jar, add 5-6 sprigs of roughly chopped dill, 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and a bay leaf. Make a brine by whisking together 1 1/3 cup of water, 2/3 cup of rice wine, 1 Tablespoon of fine sea salt, 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns and 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Pour the brine over the cucumber mixture, cover the jar securely with a lid and give it a good shake so that cucumbers are covered. Refrigerate for up to a week, waiting at least one day before eating. 
  • Use cucumbers as crudités with dip or salsa. Or slice up some cucumbers and scoop into this sweet and tangy Honey Dijon Hummus.
  • Add cucumbers to your favorite pasta salad for a delightfully cool and crunchy experience.
  • Spiralize your cucumbers and top off a vegetable salad with a bit of a flair. 
  • Pick up some bulgur and mix up a tabouli salad loaded with tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley. Top with a spicy lemon dressing for a delicious salad.
  • These light and colorful Cucumber Cups are great appetizers for a party. Stuffed with finely diced tilapia and fish, they are low-calorie, low-carb, low-sodium and delicious. 
  • Cucumbers add a great crunch to these refreshing Shrimp Rolls. A healthy alternative to deep-fried egg rolls or high-carb sandwiches, serve these low-carb rolls with low-sodium soy sauce and duck sauce.
  • Enjoy this Herbed Chickpea Salad that was a big hit and Jill’s last nutrition event.
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove, grated
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
    • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 2 cups mixed yellow and red grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 English cucumber, diced
    • ½ cup spring Onions
    • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus whole mint leaves for garnish
    • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, pickled onions, and olives and toss to coat. Add the parsley, dill, and mint and toss again.
  3. Season to taste, garnish with fresh mint leaves, and serve.

Makes about 10 – 1 cup servings.

180 cals/serving, 7 grams fat, 1 g saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar, 7 grams protein 

  • Change up the veggies: Toss in diced red bell pepper or roasted red peppers along with the tomatoes and cucumber. 
  • Blanched green beans or avocado would be great here too.
  • Add cheese. Crumbled feta cheese would be particularly good.
  • Make it a green salad. Serve the garbanzo bean salad over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce.

Whether adding to a veggie packed sandwich or your favorite salad, cucumbers will surely add a refreshing and crunchy element to your plate no matter how you slice or dice them!

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