Cool Cucumber Pasta

Cool Cucumber Pasta :: Zim on a Whim

This warmer weather has me craving cool salads like this Cool Cucumber Pasta salad. (I’m sorry to those of you who actually have SNOW on the ground in May!) It’s sweet and tangy and perfect for summer barbecues because there’s no mayo. It’s great for lunch, too.

I got the recipe from my friend Lisa about 15+ years ago! I believe she got it from a magazine, but my old, faded, and handwritten recipe card doesn’t say the source.

Here’s how you make it…

Cool Cucumber Pasta
8 oz. tube pasta, like ziti
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 medium cucumbers or 1 long hot house cucumber, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse to cool.
2. In a large bowl, stir the pasta with the oil, cucumbers, and onion.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the pasta.
4. Chill for 3-4 hours, stirring it up a few times while chilling.
5. Stir again before serving.

*The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits. You will need to stir it up before serving each time as the liquid will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

If you’d like to check out another cold salad great for entertaining, check out this Fiesta Salad or this Mango and Jicama Salad!


Fiesta Salad

Fiesta Salad

It’s not even warm yet and this is currently my favorite salad. I can only imagine how refreshing it will taste in the summer! It has lots of crunch, which I love, and it’s dressed with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. I’ll give you the recipe I use, and you go from there!

Not only is this a great salad to have for lunch, or for dinner on a hot summer night — but it is also a delicious salad to take to a barbecue. It has no mayo so it can sit out for a while, making it the perfect side dish to bring!

I’m not sure where the original recipe came from as she didn’t say, but I got the recipe from a teaspoon of happiness ‘ blog and adapted it to my taste. If you think you don’t want the chickpeas in there, give them a try. I reduced the amount from the other recipe and for me it’s a good balance. They are full of protein and so healthy. I used frozen corn that I roasted for mine which added a great flavor, but you can use any type of corn. So make it yours and enjoy!

**Note: I will tell you how to quickly roast up some frozen corn after the recipe! **

fiesta salad no title

Fiesta Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients for Salad:
12 oz. corn (frozen bag), roasted – or any cooked corn of your choice. If you use canned, drain and rinse first.
1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 to 1   1/2 chopped English cucumber (the long ones with ridges)
A few shy of a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
Small red onion or 1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, diced (use whatever color you like or mix it up!)

Ingredients for Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, mined -or- 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic in jar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. Chop up all veggies and put into a large bowl. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and put them into the bowl. Add your corn. Mix well.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk together. Pour over the salad and mix well, making sure everything is coated.
3. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, but overnight is best!

**If you want to roast up some corn quickly, just take a bag of frozen corn and pour it onto a baking sheet. Add a little oil, salt, and pepper and combine. Put under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes and you have roasted corn! (Just keep an eye on it so you don’t have burnt corn…you know how tricky those broilers can be.)

I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do!

Mango & Jicama Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

If you like mango, lime, and crunch – this salad is for you! It’s so refreshing and perfect for a summer gathering. It also makes a nice and sweet accompaniment to a spicy Cinco de Mayo meal. Melt-in-your-mouth sweet mangoes, crunchy jicama, and cool cucumbers are dressed with a light honey lime vinaigrette. I wish you could taste this right now!

Have you ever had jicama? It’s a root vegetable that looks like a turnip, but it’s sweet and crisp. When you cut it, it resembles a potato, but it is sweeter. I told my kids it’s like if a potato and an apple (or a pear?) got married and had a baby, that’s what it tastes like. I don’t know if I would use it very often, but it’s perfect in this salad. It adds a really nice crunch and compliments the soft, juicy mango. Look for one that is firm and dry, and do not put it in the refrigerator until after you cut it.

Now, let’s see how this salad comes together. You will need a blender or a small food processor to make the vinaigrette (unless you have mad whisk skills), and a zester to grate some lime zest. I found this recipe in an old Family Fun magazine and I adapted it slightly to suit my taste.

Here are some tips on cutting up your mangoes. I love using my mango slicer to get the pit out. It can be tricky because the pit is a weird, oblong shape and I used to hack my mangoes all up trying to find it!

An easy way to cut the mango is to make slices one way and then the other, but not cutting all the way through the skin.

Then peel it back…and take your knife and slice off the cubes from the skin.

Mango & Jicama Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
2 ripe mangoes
1 medium jicama
1 medium cucumber
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 or 3 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
Zest from one lime
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup canola oil
Pinch of kosher salt

Peel the mangoes, jicama, and cucumber and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Throw them all in a big bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of lime juice into the blender. Add the zest from one lime and the 3 tablespoons honey. Start up the blender on low speed, and slowly drizzle in the 1 cup of canola oil. You want to thicken it up…and it will look almost white when it’s ready. Add a pinch of salt.
{Now, I was thinking that the 1 cup of oil seemed like too much oil, but when I tasted the vinaigrette with only 1/2 cup, it was way too tart. It really needs the whole cup to taste right, but what I did was add only enough of the vinaigrette to coat the salad and did not use the whole thing. You can add as much or as little as you like.}
Pour the desired amount of the honey lime vinaigrette over the mangoes, jicama, and cucumbers. Toss to coat. Can be served immediately or refrigerated to let the flavors combine.

Happy Jicama Hunting!