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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Thursday
Jul082010

Cucumber Onion Salad, version 2.0 (gluten-free, with ACD, vegan and raw options)

Growing up, our family summer meals often included a simple, classic cucumber, onion, and tomato salad. The flavors were simple - cucumber, onion, and tomato soaked in a light briny dressing of rice vinegar, sugar, and dill. I adored this salad, and often made it once I had a kitchen of my own. Each bite made me think of childhood summers spent topping fresh green beans with my mom, husking corn on the cob with my grandpa, and picking tomatoes out of the backyard. 

I've really missed that salad since cutting out most vinegars, sugar, and tomatoes from my diet. Over the last couple years I have tried playing with different ways to recreate it in a me-friendly way, but never really found the right combination. I finally hit the jackpot last weekend.  This salad has a fresh and complex flavor and great texture; it is salty, sweet, tart, crunchy.  I used a dressing of lime juice and umeboshi plum vinegar, which isn't really a vinegar at all, but a salty brine leftover from the fermentation and pickling process of making umeboshi plums. I added  little dill, a pinch of mustard, and just a bit of my favorite local raw honey, and poured it over farmers market cucumbers and onions. Then I let it sit overnight for the flavors to meld, and the next day revealed an amazing salad at the 4th of July barbeque!  My friends really liked it, as evidenced by the photo...

The leftovers were even better after a couple days of sitting in the fridge - the flavor had intensified, and the cucumbers were still nice and crisp.  I think I like it better than the original salad because it isn't so gosh darn tooth-achingly sweet. I think that this is my new favorite way to eat cucumbers, next to the rockin' lacto-fermented cucumber dill pickles I just made (recipe soon to come, they are good).  This also marks my first lime juice-containing recipe in about two years, which is very exciting. I seem to be tolerating small amounts of lemon and lime again, so I'm taking full advantage of it and keeping my fingers crossed that my tolerance will continue.  If you aren't so fortunate, go ahead and use vitamin C crystals to create that "citrusy" bite.

Enjoy, and happy summer!

 

Cucumber Onion Salad, version 2.0

Depending on which sweetener you use, this can easily be either vegan, raw, ACD-friendly, or all three!   I used lime juice; if you do not tolerate lime juice use vitamin C crystals dissolved in water for the acidic element; it will not have the "limey" flavor but will still be delicious.

4 large thin-skinned burpless cucumbers or European cucumbers (if using regular cucumber, you may want to seed and peel them)
2 medium spring onions (or 1/2 small sweet yellow onion)
1/2 cup umeboshi plum vinegar
3 limes, juiced (or 1 1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals dissolved in 1/4-1/3 cup water)
2 Tbsp minced dill
1/4 tsp ground dry mustard 
1 Tbsp raw honey, raw agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup, or 5 drops plain stevia liquid, to taste

Thinly slice cucumbers and onion with a very sharp knife or a mandoline, or the slicing attachment on your food processor (I used a mandoline, and it worked great). Place in a large bowl or wide, shallow dish.

Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl or  and pour over cucumber and onions. Toss to coat, then cover dish and marinate for at least 4 hours, or for best flavor, marinate overnight.  While marinating, stir occasionally and re-cover - this will allow for an even distribution of flavor.  Serve cold or at room temperature, using a slotted spoon to drain out dressing when serving. Enjoy!

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Reader Comments (10)

love your site! great recipes and learnings here about how to go about a diet free of allergy-prone foods. i'm embarking on this journey due to rheumatoid arthritis and hoping it helps!

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersheryl

We always make this dish through out the Summer too, but I like you also had to give it up because of the vinegar , I sure have missed it . I am going to make your version of this super refreshing "taste of Summer" dish ASAP . I am so excited and happy for you that you have been able to tolerate the lime /lemon juices in small amounts recently ,( that is awesome !) I sometimes can handle small amounts of lime juice too ( also thanks so very much for the alternative suggestion of the vitamin C crystals in case i get in to trouble , I can still create this dish without having to pay the price as always you are just so thorough, thoughtful and helpful ) I think this recipe is going to be so wonderful, I know I am willing to give this a go :) Thank you !

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

This sounds like the perfect summer dish! I've never heard of the umeboshi plum vinegar, I'll have to check that out. And congratz on a small amount of additional freedom in your food! Lime juice; good stuff :)

~Aubree Cherie

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAubree Cherie

Looks like a perfect summer dish! I love cucumber salads!

Thank you!!!! I have a similar memory, but my mom used a mayo type dressing with the tomato, onion & cucumbers. I can't wait to try this one. The hard part will be having to wait until I can eat it! I've never heard of the plum vinegar either and can't wait to try using it in some other dishes I had to give up! Happy summer to you too!!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCherie

This recipe looks great! I made your spicy chana dal with zucchini over the weekend and it was just lovely. I was also was inspired by another of your recipes to make a teff kefir flatbread. The recipe is on my blog. Hope you had a wonderful time in the city.

Oh! I love cucumber salad... And yours looks and sounds FAB! It's definitely nostalgic for me to make in summer. I remember my Mother's on the table with a simple summer's evening meal. Something I do which I learned from her is to put a few ice cubes on top for a bit before serving. While it super chills, it seems to crisp the cukes (?) and after a bit, dilutes the vinegar just a tad. I LOVE vinegars of all sorts, (but my husband doesn't like them as strong as I do, so thanks Mom!) I can't wait to try out some Plum vinegar now. (I have used Alessi Pear infused and it's great so I bet Plum would be even better.)

I have to say I AM SO GLAD AND GRATEFUL TO HAVE FOUND YOUR BLOG Site! I have been going through Lymes myself and am needing to rework my already GF lifestyle for myself and my kids... among other things. So glad to see such hope and creativity (and Yummy things!) here.

You're an inspiration.

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

i seem to be commenting a lot of questions on your blog. lol. but um... is the plum vinegar okay for ACD? thanks :3

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwinter

Hi Winter,
As far as I know, Umeboshi Plum Vinegar is safe for the ACD. It isn't a true vinegar, it is actually a salty brine leftover from the pickling of umeboshi plums, which as a staple in macrobiotic cuisine and medicine. VArious ACD sites online say it is okay, and so did my naturopath. I didn't have any reactions to it, so I used it even when I was being very strict on the ACD. Ultimately, how you personally react is the best gauge. It is high in salt, so you want to use it with moderation. But other than that, it is a great seasoning and condiment! I hope it works for you.

Oh awesome, thanks! I've been looking for ways to spice up my cucumbers. I pretty much just eat them plain, and while I absolutely love them that way, after a while of eating them that way every single day... I feel like I need to add some more flavor to them! This is going to be great~ Yay.

July 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwinter
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo