Cool as a Cucumber Salad and Colorful Beet Salad

Here are two easy recipes that can be considered cooking by the strings of your apron recipes because you can use any number of spices and dressing with them. Also, there are no specific amounts; just eyeballing them instead.

Cool as a Cucumber Salad

Quick look at nutritional profile of cukes: Cucumbers are good sources of phytonutrients (plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties) such flavonoids, lignans and triterpenes, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Source:


Cucumber Salad

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, one bowl for mixing and one for serving
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None!
Categories: Vegan, Gluten-Free, No Sugar


1-2 organic cucumber(s), washed and peeled if skin is tough
sliced (red) onion – 2-4 slices
(plum) vinegar or lemon juice (one lemon)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
(black) sesame seeds


1. Slice washed (and peeled or unpeeled) cucumber(s) thinly and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add sliced onion.
3. Add about 1/3 cup vinegar or juice of one lemon
4. Add salt & pepper, if using.
5. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour. Serve chilled.

Variation: Add 2 small pieces of fresh ginger and/or one small minced clove of garlic



Colorful Beet Salad

Utensils: 2-quart saucepan for cooking beets, bowl, cutting board and knife, serving platter|
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: About 45 minutes for beets; can be cooked ahead of time.
Categories: Vegan, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added


1. One large red beet and one large yellow beet (organic)
2. Two slices of large onion
3. Juice of one lemon or Hold Your Horses Dressing+
4. Sea Salt (optional)
5. Sesame seeds
6. Green or Black olives


1. Scrub beets and place in enough water to cook until they can be pierced with a fork.
2. Remove from water and allow to cool in a bowl. When cool, you can remove the skins with a knife or sometimes by sliding the skin off with your fingers.
3. Slice thinly and place on a large platter. Add slices of onion and sprinkle with salt, if using. Add juice of one lemon, sprinkling it over the platter.
4. Add sesame seeds and olives *and serve chilled.

Note: I love Castlevetrano olives because they are green AND ripe.


+ Hold-Your-Horses-Dressing from a previous posting:

  • Everything can be done in the blender or food processor and requires no cooking, so I am skipping my Utensils, Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Categories. It is vegan with no added salt or sugar unless you choose to use them. It is also gluten-free, but not soy free.Ingredientsone container tofu (1/4 container in the refrigerated section)*
    one garlic clove, minced or small piece of minced shallot
    grated fresh horseradish to taste, about one tablespoon (no sugar added, if from a jar)
    deli mustard to taste, about 1 tsp. (optional)
    one small pickle (I use Bubbie’s natural pickles with no vinegar)
    sesame seeds for garnish
    water or veg. stock (Can also use the pickle juice for part of the liquid for a zestier dressing)


    1. Cut tofu up into smaller pieces. Mince garlic or shallot. Grate horseradish, if fresh. Cut up pickle. Add mustard, if using. Place in blender.
    2. Start with about 1/4 cup water or stock and buzz until smooth. Add more liquid as needed.  (For a dip, use more tofu to thicken.)
    3. For dressing, place in a small pitcher for pouring.  For dip, place in a small serving bowl and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Refrigerate after use.* Regular tofu comes refrigerated in tubs as either firm or extra firm. Silken tofu comes in a box on the shelf and need not be refrigerated until after it is opened. Silken tofu is much softer and smoother and easier to blend, so would probably
      work best for the dressing, but either kind works. Because of these differences in texture, the liquid should be added a little at a time to obtain the consistency you wish.




Pickles ‘n Beets

My neighbor Ofrah uses pickles in many of her salads. She is from Israel and I think it is part of the cuisine. Since I love beets and I love pickles, but I am not crazy about vinegar, which is in most recipes, this combo satisfies my taste preference. The pickles are from Bubbe’s, which are carried in health food stores and are not made with vinegar, another plus for me. Additionally, the deep red and dark green of the dish and white from the onion could be used at your holiday table with other red, white, and green foods to reflect the red of the holly berries, the green of the pine trees and the white of snow.

Also, I found that the pre-cooked beets from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods work really well when I have an urge for this side dish and don’t have raw beets on hand, since the pre-cooked beets can keep in the ‘fridge for several days. Thus, the timing on this dish reflects precooked beets. Otherwise, you need to add 30-45 minutes cooking time for raw beets to cook through and through.

Finally, here is some helpful nutritional info from:

Title of the article:  Beets: Nature’s Heart-Healthy, Circulation-Enhancing Superfood

Why Beets?

So, why are beets so great – and great for you? Here are just a few of the health benefits of adding beets to your diet:

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  • Beets are powerful antioxidants. Beets contain betalin pigments, which naturally purify the blood and liver and help rid your system of harmful toxins.
  • Beets help reduce inflammation. Beets contain a high amount of betaine, which helps fight inflammation. Betaine may also help promote mental clarity and alertness.
  • Beets are packed with vitamins. Looking for a great source of vitamins and minerals? Look no further. Beets contain vitamins A, B, and C, and they’re also a great source of potassium, iron, folic acid, and manganese.
  • Beets promote healthy circulation and a healthy cardiovascular system. Beets are loaded with dietary nitrates and nitrites, which your body converts to powerful, energy- and endurance-enhancing nitric oxide (N-O) during digestion. N-O is a powerful “signaling molecule” that tells blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow throughout the body.

(Wow! This food is a nutritional powerhouse that can’t be “beet!“)

Here is the simple recipe:

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, bowl for mixing and one for serving
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook. Time:None with precooked beets, about 45 minutes with raw beets
Categories: Vegan, No Sugar Added


one pkg. (8 oz.) precooked beets
one small onion, red or white
one or two dill pickles and some of the juice
1-2 Tbl. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)


1. Slice the beets after trimming the ends. Place in a bowl.
2. Slice onion and add to the bowl.
3. Slice pickle and add to the bowl.
4. Mix in 1-2 Tbl. olive oil. Add a little of the pickle juice. Toss and taste.
5. Add salt & pepper if needed. (The pickle juice may be salty enough) Toss again.
6. Top with sesame seeds, if desired.
7. Place in an attractive bowl and serve chilled or room temperature with a slotted spoon.

Yield: 3-5 servings

P.S. I noted in an earlier posting that while I was away I would post some holiday recipes from previous years, and will do so as we get closer to the end of the month.

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