When you can’t wait for summer to come to you, this salad is a perfect way to bring thoughts of summertime to your table. If you’re in the peak of summer, then this recipe will be a surefire way to showcase some ingredients you have in abundance without heating up the kitchen too!
On my last trip to Massachusetts, I was able to score a copy of Wegmans‘ Menu Magazine, the 2013 Summer Edition. It was there that I found endless inspiration and great weeknight meal ideas for ingredients I can sometimes get bored with. My biggest enjoyment with their magazine came with something they’ve been doing since the Spring. It’s the beautiful photography as seen below that really shows off the ingredients they’re cooking with. It’s empowering the home cook by giving them options to do it on their own, or stop into one of their stores for a quick delicious meal you can replicate later. But look at the photo, doesn’t it make you want to grab boring chicken and do something crazy?
Amongst all the inspiration, Menu Magazine showed me a whole new way to look at cucumbers. I usually think of the cucumber in terms of adding it to my water or pickling it. I don’t usually do much else with it… until now. They had some awesome photography of their Cucumber and Blueberry Salad interspersed in the magazine, and just looking at it gave me some great ideas! Since I like many of you don’t have access to Wegmans to pick up the vinaigrette as listed in their recipe, I made my own and then added a few touches.
The main “ah-ha” moment that came to me from their recipe, was in removing the seeds of the cucumber so it didn’t make my end salad soggy if it sat too long. Duh. This happens a lot with tomatoes and their seeds too. While most of the flavor is with the seeds and the pulp, in this instance the crunchy cucumber sans seeds held up really well and didn’t overpower anything else.
After that, I just took elements I liked and added to this base recipe. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but it’s a fun and refreshing side to help bring a little excitement back to the humble cucumber. Now I just can’t wait till the season is in full swing and we get tastier options to put into the salad.
From my kitchen to yours!
Cucumber and Blueberry Salad
1/4 cup of Sunflower Seeds, unsalted
1/4 cup of White Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil (Basting Oil if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Onion Powder
1/2 cup of Red Onion, minced
1 pint of Blueberries, rinsed
3 tablespoons of Mint, thinly sliced
1 cup of Feta Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Rinse your cucumbers and peel them. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop the center out with a spoon. Slice into bite sized pieces and set aside in a medium sized bowl.
In a skillet over low heat, place the sunflower seeds and lightly brown them. Should take about two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the Vinegar and Sugar, heat for thirty second and stir till Sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the Olive Oil, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, add a little bit of Salt, fresh Ground Pepper and set aside.
In your large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the Cucumbers and Sunflower Seeds. Pour on half of the vinaigrette and season with Salt and Pepper. Add more vinagrette as desired, season accordingly. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Wegmans