It's August and if you have a vegetable garden you are likely swamped with more cucumbers than you know what to do with. Even if you don't grow a vegetable garden you might have noticed that cucumbers are both abundant and inexpensive at your grocer right now.
Cucumbers are naturally gluten-free so enjoy the season's bounty.
If you won't be pickling all those lovely green cukes then you might want to make them into a salad. The Greeks have a wonderful dip of strained yogurt, cucumber, lemon, and dill called Tzatziki that is served with pita bread. Tzatziki is also served alongside grilled meats like the Greek gyro sandwich which is pita bread wrapped around slices of savory meat.
Those of us who are gluten-free need to skip the bread so this Greek-Inspired Cucumber Salad is bread free. It uses slices of refreshingly cool cucumber paired with unflavored gluten-free yogurt, a little lemon juice, some garlic, and for convenience some dried dill leaf (also known as 'dill weed').
Don't use dill seeds - save those for your pickles. Dill weed is the dried wispy leaves of the dill plant. It has a milder flavor than dill seed whose strong flavor is best suited for pickles.
Unlike traditional Tzatziki recipes there's no need to strain the yogurt for hours and no requirement for a food processor or blender to purée the cucumbers. This recipe is simple.
Let the dressing marinate and chill in your refrigerator for a few hours until it's ice cold then combine with chilled cucumber slices and serve in bowls to your appreciative audience. It's quick, easy, and incredibly good for such a simple combination of ingredients.
Quick and Easy Greek-Inspired Cucumber Salad
5-6 ounces unflavored, gluten-free yogurt (about 3/4 cup) *
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly
* 5-6 ounces is the typical size of a "single-serving" container of yogurt. Look for package markings that show the letters "GF" enclosed in a circle or the words "GLUTEN FREE" to verify the yogurt is safe to consume.
This salad tastes best served ice cold. The cucumbers start to lose their crispness when they sit in the dressing so for best results keep the dressing and the cucumbers separate until a few minutes before serving.
You will need 2 containers:
- Small 2-cup mixing bowl for the dressing (a 2-cup glass measuring cup works well too).
- Medium 2-quart serving bowl
To make the dressing:
- Add the yogurt to the small mixing bowl or measuring cup.
- Add the dill weed and the salt to the yogurt. Stir to combine.
- Juice the lemon and add the lemon juice to the yogurt. Stir to combine.
- Peel the garlic cloves and dice them as finely as possible. Add the garlic to the yogurt. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the dressing in the refrigerator to chill until serving time.
Prepare the cucumbers:
- Wash, peel, and slice the cucumbers in thin slices (1/4-inch thickness or less).
- Transfer the sliced cucumbers to the serving bowl. Cover the serving bowl with plastic wrap and put the cucumbers in the refrigerator to chill until serving time.
At serving time:
Pour the chilled dressing over the chilled cucumber slices. Stir gently to coat the cucumber slices with the dressing.
Serve this salad in small bowls as an appetizer (serves 4). This appetizer pairs well with a chilled light white wine like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.